Practising for Grown Ups
Dinner’s on. The kids are entertained. Laundry’s done (as if!) and you have a few free moments for you. So what do you do – do you embrace the few minutes to go and practice… or do you make a brew and loose that free time scrolling through social media posts you’ve probably seen before…. Or do you get settled and get ready to play that first note when someone shouts that they need you….
Even without children added into the mix – practice when you’re a grown up can be difficult. There’s just so much that you need to do as a grown up. Children do generally progress faster than adult learners, but part of this is because they do have a lot less to think, and worry, about.
So how do you manage to practice as a grown up.
Well – sometimes you need to approach it as you would trying to get your son / daughter to practice.
1. Routine: I know as a grown up this can be tricky at times buttrying to have a designated day and time that you can ring fence as your time can be so beneficial. It’s far too easy to get distracted by phones, odd jobs around the house, work, emails… blah blah blah.
2. Prioritise: You wouldn’t be learning an instrument if music wasn’t important to you. So make it important. Put it in the diary. Try not to let other things sneak into your music time. Make music not just a thing. Make it a Thing.
3. Have fun: You’ll always find more time to practice if it’s enjoyable. So play around with the music, look at other pieces, have a jam, try something by ear…
4. Little and Often: Time can be one of the biggest bug bears for practising as a grown up. So don’t worry about trying to find a good chunk of time. If you can’t – you can’t. Try 10 minute sessions. Before work, while tea’s cooking, a quick 3 minutes every time the adverts come on…. Small sessions can really add up. And if you just spend 10 minutes on two or three bars a couple of times a day… see for yourself what happens.
4. Be prepared: When time’s of the essence and prioritising can be difficult you need to make sure that when you go to practice then you can just go for it. So perhaps try and find a way of keeping the instrument set up and ready if you’re a woodwind player. Have your music on the stand. Know what bars you’re going to concentrate on.
Practice is one of the most rewarding things but you never want it to feel like a chore. Keep it fun, keep it serious and keep it accessible!