There is so much pressure to be brilliant at everything, whilst looking amazing and being surrounded by all that is wonderful. But, if you spread yourself too thin you won’t be able to do anything well - and exhausting yourself in the process. This first came home to me when walking around a National Trust property, when I realised how each member of the household had their particular sphere of influence and field of expertise. The old saying “Jack of All Trades” encapsulates the moral of the story… Jack of all trades, master of none!
We don’t all have a designated music room, or home office study space. However, it’s so very important to be organised so that we don’t waste valuable study or practice time. Just a few simple tips can make all the difference to maximise your time and create a positive approach of readiness to play or study. From organising your music to having a bag ready to go, as soon as you get the opportunity, you can save yourself valuable time and stress in a few simple steps.
Diagram your music, draw a picture, ‘read’ your score or just listen: You can be ‘practicing’ while you’re doing the dishes or sitting relaxing with a brew. Of course you need to spend time at your instrument in regular practice. However, there are other approaches, apart from sitting at your instrument, that can really help your performance. Sometimes it’s good to get away from ‘note bashing’ and take a different view point. There are many ways of getting ‘inside’ the music so that, when you come to play again, you’re already ahead of the game.
Scales, arpeggios and Broken Chords are often seen as a necessary evil to get out of the way before you start the main event of practicing your pieces. However, this is an imbalanced approach. Scales and arpeggios are a valid practice routine in their own right, bringing many physical, technical, analytical and even psychological benefits to your playing. They can even be enjoyable! Approach scales and other technical exercises as a positive use of your practice time and your performance technique will thank you!
I love music theory! Studying music theory gives you the tools to understand the music you love listening to and playing, and it gives you the tools to articulate what you like or don’t like about a piece of music.Also, as you start to analyse a musical work, it’s like peeling back the layers of the music and peeping inside the composer’s life and mind. Unfortunately, studying music theory is often viewed as a necessary evil. But if you can step outside of that negative mindset you can begin a journey, like an archeological excavation and there’s no knowing what hidden gems you might find.