The need to be ordered at the time of study or practice has become vital (if not an obsession) in my development as a music student. Over the years I have gained certain behaviors and attitudes that have transformed my time to study into a ritual where everything has to fit perfectly. Of course the reality sometimes is not as perfect as one often imagines and idealizes, however in my practice routine I try to prioritize the following situations, which is what makes it all work in my daily musical development.
Time of the day: it is vital to understand at a physical and mental level (our body is much wiser than we sometimes think) what time of day is the right for our study routine.
I like it and I feels good morning. For over 10 years I have had the perseverance to get up at 6 am to study until after noon. That allowed me to have the afternoon off for rehearsals or whatever is necessary.
Over time, gigs, tours and of course, familiar everyday situations, my madness to get up at 6am has been pushed aside but nevertheless I still prefer the mornings to study.
Distractions: in the technological era in which we live is very, very easy to get distracted and lose our focus. So I always try to turn off or put aside any technological device like cell phones, computers, etc … and thereby not be connected to internet, or any social network (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc …).
When I started studying music was still living in Villa María, Córdoba and at that time strangely enough, using the Internet was a luxury that not everyone could have. However there were other types of distraction like dogs, cats, parents, brothers, etc … (LOL).
Before playing: warm our body prior to playing our instrument is something that makes the difference in performance in the study session. Stretching exercises for legs, back, arms, neck, waist and others, help oxygenate each body part and combined with good breathing also help to get in tune, as a Ritual.
The post of next week will cover several of the stretching and relaxation I usually do before (and after) my daily study session.
What to play: it is important (at least for me) not to play and always study the same material. Generate new content and musical challenges is what makes me keep the incentive and creativity in my practice time.
Below are some topics that I think were, are and will be in my practice.
- Warm up: different exercises.
- Instrument Language (Scales, Arpeggios, etc.)
- Technique: Right Hand, Left Hand, Alternative Techniques (Slap, Tapping, etc.)
- Sight Reading.
- Groove: different types of accompaniments.
- Styles: Rythms.
- Studes (Clasics, Contemporary, etc.)
- Repertory: Standards, Song, Original, etc.
Study time: it is important to be realistic and create a study routine that suits the needs of each and above all, to the times of each. It’s always good to play certain amount of hours every day of the week, than playing for 10 hours one day. It is also important to understand that you can not cover all topics in the same routine and study, besides being accumulative, it is progressive. Once resolved the difficulties for the development of a topic, it is important to move forward. Patience plays a very important place in the study and is necessary put possible goals to avoid frustration. It helps me think there’s a whole lifetime to study and learn.