Today, we’re going to talk about our series on practice habits.
We all have our own specific habits that we go into as musicians: what we do and what we don’t do when we sit down to practice.
I want you to start thinking, what are your practice habits? Is there a certain routine that you do?
I want you to, If you’re comfortable, drop them down below in the comments section, so that we can dig into these.
Some people may have some really good practice habits, some people may need some tweaking of their practice habits. Our practice habits actually shape our tissues.
So for doing certain things that are not in the best possible or ergonomic way, then we can actually be causing structural changes within our tissues. That is really important.
Our mindset when we sit down to play is also really important. There are lots of different habits. Sitting here playing for hours on end, what is your environment? What is your mindset like?
All these different things. What do you do for warm-up? Are you taking breaks? Are you drinking lots of caffeine? I’m going to go over each and every one of these throughout this series.
But I really want you to start bringing awareness to your practice habits, start thinking about it, and think about your body positioning when you’re playing.
That’s one thing I want you to think about. I want you to think about how long you’re playing before you take a break.
I want you to think about how stressed you are when you sit down to play. These are all things I just want you to start bringing awareness to because awareness is the first step.
Once we have the awareness, then we can start to shift things and start to realize things. That’s, I think, one of the most important things.
So either make a list on your own, or if you don’t mind dropping what your practice habits are below in the comments section of this video, that would be great as well.
Today, I’m going to start with one of my biggest tips for healthy habits for musicians. Many musicians are doing this more now. At least, a lot of my patients are.
I think it’s really important that you have to take breaks as a musician. You can’t just sit down and practice for hours on end in a contorted position because every instrument that we have puts us into a contorted position in some way, shape or form.
If you sit down and you’re playing for two hours and under really stressful circumstances – it is stressful. It’s a lot of fine motor control that you’re asking your body to do.
It’s important to take those breaks. Don’t sit down and play for two hours at a time. I was guilty of that. I would go to my practice room and I would sit for hours on end and I would play.
Actually, I stood most of the time, I very rarely sat. I would practice two hours, sometimes longer, and not even take a break. Nothing.
The goal I really want you to be able to do is set a timer. Put a sticky note on the wall where you’re practicing, “Break every 30 minutes.” Set your timer for every 30 minutes, and take a break.
It doesn’t have to be a long break. It can be two to five minutes. Get up, get a drink of water.
Open up your body out of the posture that you’ve been sitting or standing in while you’re playing your instrument. Walk around.
Get the blood flowing so the blood goes to all of the other muscles in your body. Move around. Take a walk down the hall. Come back.
Sit back down, or stand, and get back to practicing. It doesn’t have to be a long break.
It just needs to be long enough to get you out of that stagnant posture, clear your head, get the blood flow into your body, move your muscles in a different way in a different position.
Do that every half an hour, set your timer to do it and make it a point to do that. Because sitting for hours on end playing your instrument is not good.
You get stuck and you get sucked into your pieces when you’re practicing. But if you set that timer, it will remind you to get up and move. Take a quick break.
Again, it doesn’t have to be really long. It can be two to five minutes. Just get out of those stagnant postures, clear head, get your blood flowing to all the other muscles and then move.
That’s the tip of the day. Take breaks. I’m going to drive that home, because you’re asking a lot for your muscles. You need to give them a break and need to be nice to them.
I was not nice to my muscles; they did not like me for it. Don’t have your muscles yell at you, so take breaks.
Write down your list of habits – the good, the bad, the ugly – on here. Maybe other people can comment on them and have other tips. We can get ideas from other people that may be doing something slightly different.
Let me know if you have any questions. I’m going to spread out the tips as we go..
Any questions, comment below and I’ll talk to you guys soon.