“I need to practise, but I really don’t want to practise!”
During the summer break, practising can be difficult to get back into after an intense period of studying music. If you’re feeling like practising, go for it. If not, but you figure that you should, here is some advice you can take on.
It’s as simple as that - though you might want to be cautious about it. It may be great to do other things that aren't music related, but it's easy to go overboard sometimes. So, I suggest putting a limit on your days off during summer break. If you’re having a day off, try to explore other parts of yourself that you’re interested in other than music, or try something new!
Here are a few non-music related suggestions to stimulate your creativity:
- Redecorating your bedroom
- Read a good, imaginative book
- Go to a museum, or art gallery
- DIY projects
Another non-music related activity you can do is improving your physical health! Doing moderate to vigorous exercise, around 30 to 60 minutes, is great! Plus, there’s a heap of benefits when keeping yourself fit. It’s very important as a musician to keep yourself physically and mentally healthy.
What do I do when I’m not practising, you ask? I swim, work out, explore the wilderness, go do something fun (such as rock climbing, high ropes, going to a trampoline park), something that makes me happy that I’m on a break!
Set a time limit when practising
If you have many things you need to do, it may seem like too much work over the summer. Maybe try and achieve small goals in your practise session. Set a time limit, let’s say five minutes on each task, and work on scales, for instance. Then, set five more minutes, and work on arpeggios, first inversion. There are so many things you can work on with just five minutes.
Practise in small passages
Decided on your pieces but struggling with taking on board the whole picture? Try breaking it down and going slow. Take baby steps. Start focusing on a section, or a phrase each time. A passage might be interesting enough for you to keep repeating it, or you could try another new passage.
Cut your piece into pieces!
This was a super cool idea that my friend thought of for practising new pieces. She cuts out all the phrases in her chosen piece that she is going to practise, puts them in a hat, draws a random passage from the hat, and practises it. When finishing practising the phrases, she sticks all of them back. Pretty cool idea. Although, I think it would be best to make an extra copy of your chosen piece you are planning to practise beforehand. Haha!
Get motivated and inspired to practise!
Go watch some anime that is music-related such as 'Shigatsu wa Kimi so no Uso' (Your Lie in April), and 'Nodame Cantabile'. Go hang some inspirational, motivational quotes on in your bedroom, or your practise space. Do something that makes you think, “Yeah! I’m going to practise now!”
Analysing your pieces
I reckon one of the most important things to do as a music student is analysis. Whenever I analyse my pieces, I look for harmonic structure, the type of structure the piece is in, what are the non-harmonic tones are involved, musical direction, and all sorts of things. I think that is the best way to keep yourself productive during the summer break. Plus, you get a chance to look at your score from a different perspective, and also look at what the composer is intending to evoke.
So, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this post, and I hope you are having a great summer break so far! If you’d love to read more from me, check out ‘Adventure Time with the Muso’!