Practise Schedules – February Blog 2016.
I realise that practise is a topic that I write about a lot in my blogs and I don’t in anyway mean to come across like a broken record by constantly repeating myself on the subject, but the bottom line is this: If you want to be great, you have to practise!
Unfortunately there is no quick way to suddenly become an amazing musician (or amazing anything for that matter). It takes years of hard work, time, and of course, good quality practise. The great news however, is that ‘genius like status’ can be achieved. It just takes the right mixture of determination, self-discipline and motivation.
With each year that passes (and as I get older and take on more responsibilities), the more apparent it becomes that I no longer have the luxury or messing about on my instrument for hours on end while my parents take care of all the household and bill duties. (Ah, those were the days, ha ha).
Having a well worked out practise schedule still allows me to get a sufficient amount of time to practise and learn new ideas on my instrument and I firmly believe that putting together a schedule (as disciplined as it may sound) will really help you on your journey to becoming the best musician you can be.
So with that in mind, here’s my recommendation on how you can alter your daily lifestyle to include your ‘creative needs’ and become a better musician at a realistic pace, whether it’s daily/weekly/monthly or yearly, and whether you’re a part or full time musician.
Rather than sharing my personal schedule with you, I’ve worked these out based on stereotypical assumptions, and highlighted potential practise times in red. They can of course be applied however you like in order to suit your own personal needs.
Let’s start with the part time musician. Your day might look something like this:
6am – Potential practise for an hour
7am – Wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast etc.
8am – Leave for work
9am – 5pm – Work
5pm – Leave Work
6pm – Eat dinner, relax with family etc.
10pm – Potential practise for an hour
11pm – Sleep
Now for the full time musician. Your day (provided you’re not touring heavily) might look something like this
9am – Wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast etc.
10am – 2pm – Potential practise for 4 hours
3pm – Eat lunch and load gear for tonight’s gig.
4pm – Potential rest/nap (if required), otherwise plan gig logistics (set lists, merch etc).
5pm – Leave for gig
6pm – Sound-check. Socialise, eat dinner, warm ups
9pm -12am – Actual performance
12am – Load gear and leave gig
1am – Sleep
In each scenario there are good times for potential practise sessions and it varies for everyone. Some people might find practising for 1 hour is too little, whilst others might feel that 4 hours is too much (especially given that the average human can only process new information for short periods of 45minutes at a time before the brain needs a break). Needless to say, the above examples are simply a guideline in case you don’t know where to start.
One of my guitar teachers (a wonderful man named Luke Van Der Merwe), helped me work out my first ever practise schedule and it completely changed how I approached my time at my instrument. So, while I wish I could take credit for the above way of thinking, I have to mention him. If you ever get the chance to watch him play, you totally should.
Anyway, until next time, work hard, play hard and practise – diligently.
P.S – Don’t forget to follow my personal account on Twitter – @TravisMarc