You have dreams of creating and performing music, whether you sing, play an instrument, or both. But maybe you’re not as confident or proficient as you want and know you can be.
I’ll let you in on a secret…the biggest threat to accomplishing your dream is your lack of consistent practice.
Trust me, I understand entirely. We are all very busy people, especially if you’re a working parent like me. You already have a lot on your plate and the idea of adding something else…(cue eye roll).
However, like me, you can’t seem to knock the feeling that you’ve got music and a message to share with the world. And I believe you really do!
As a full-time working mom of 2 boys, I’ve learned how to set aside time to consistently practice. I’m seeing results, and I want to share what I’m learning in hopes that it can help you, too!
1. Start with the Basics
This mostly applies to beginners or folks wiping off the cobwebs (like me). I played saxophone from 4th grade all the way to my junior year of college. Not to give my age away, but it’s been over ten years since I’ve played. I researched where to start, and one tip that stood out was to get familiar with scales. This principle can be applied to any instrument or skill. Getting the basics down will help as you begin to take on more advanced pieces. It will also help you format your practice time.
2. Set a Goal for Your Practice Session
This goes along with setting a timer and starting with the basics. Selecting a specific amount of time will allow you to be more focused. Practically this looks like focusing your practice session on master 3-4 chords, scales, or memorizing 1 verse.
3. Set a timer
Recently I’ve been using the Pomodoro Technique for my job. I also found that setting a short-timer for 15-20 minutes helps me to stay consistent with my daily practice. As a busy full-time working single, the idea of adding more responsibility to my plate was overwhelming. So I break my practice sessions into bite-size pieces I can manage better. Setting the timer helps me focus because I know I’ll only have a certain amount of time, and then I can go on to my next activity.
4. Create your practice space
I learned this when I started teleworking. The easier it is for me to get started, the easier it is for me to get in the right mindset sooner and complete assignments. The same applies to my practice…my piano is already set up and in a convenient location. Everything is set up, so all I have to do is sit down and start practicing. The same thing is true for my signing practice. I have my favorite vocal warm-up saved on my phone and my mirror by my piano. Both the mirror and piano are set up by my window because I love natural light. Do you have a favorite place you set up for practice?
5. Get Hyped for Practice
After a long day of work, sometimes I’m just plain tired. But I know that I want/need to practice. Listening to some hype music, going for a quick walk, or doing something to get my blood flowing helps to bring back the motivation I need. It may seem silly, but sometimes listening to my favorite songs reminds me why I’m practicing and gets me back in the mindset required to practice.
6. Keep an Inspirational Journal or Board
So this is similar to a vision board, but it’s more specific to practicing. I also like to do some scripting either in the morning or right before I start practicing. I take a couple of minutes to write and dream about accomplishing my music goals. This helps me tap into the motivating and creative energy I need to get in a good practice. I also use a journal to keep a record of what I’ve accomplished during my practice sessions. For example, I’ll write down which scales I perfected or what part of a song I finally got. Taking some time to look at your inspiration board can also help you tap into that energy.
7. Set a BIG Goal
This ties into scripting and have a vision board. For example, I have the goal of recording and sharing a song by the end of the month. This is a BIG goal for me because it’s taking me out of my comfort zone. Setting an extrinsic, big goal can also help you structure your practice
time. Again it comes down to focusing on what specific part of your skill you want to develop. If you give yourself an end goal, a timeframe, and something to strive for, it helps you practice with a purpose. Not every session has to be about a specific outcome, but at least you can attach a “why” to what you’re doing.
8. Set A Daily time to practice
Consistency is key! That’s why I recommend starting with 15-20 mins. It’s easier to schedule a condensed practice time than trying to carve out a whole hour, especially in the beginning. Making practicing non-negotiable by scheduling it at the same time every day. It will get you in the habit of practicing and trains your brain and body on what to expect, making it easier to get started.
9. 5 Sec-Rule
No, I’m not talking about the rule for eating food off the floor, lol. I’m talking about the time it takes for you to make a decision and act on it. If you’re feeling the urge to skip your daily practice, stop what you’re doing, countdown from 5, and just go for it!! No excuses.
10. Reward System
This is my favorite tip because sometimes we just need to make a sweet deal with ourselves. Stepping out of our comfort zone doesn’t feel good, but treating yourself to Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream makes it all worthwhile. I like to set a weekly goal, so I’m motivated to practice every day. What’s one way you could reward yourself for practicing daily?
I’m using every single one of these tips. Did any of them resonate with you?
I hope you find this helpful! Did you have any tips to share? Please do!!
I also made a video where I go little more in-depth about how I’m using these tips in my everyday practice:
If you feel like you want to drive deeper into your creative process, set some incredible goals, and need that accountability piece, then schedule a Confidence and Clarity call with me. Let’s get you going on the right path towards accomplishing your musical dreams!