Productivity for Musicians (Planning)
What is exactly is being productive? Does it mean staying focus for a period of time? Is it what I need to do in order to play at my best level?
Those were some of the questions I asked myself when I first approached the term productivity. I wanted a straight to the point guide. How can I prepare the Tchaikovsky concerto the fastest, easiest and most effective way?
Fear no more! I will explain productivity with stuff I’ve tried and what others have taught me.
Here we go!
If you subscribe to my colleague Dr. Noa Kageyama at his Bulletproofmusician blog, you will get a Practice Hacking Guide. This guide will get you on the right track.
It is evident that you need to be willing to work hard in order to change bad habits for good ones, but keep in mind that as a musician you’ve already build strong elements to do it. By spending many hours in the practice room you already considered a disciplined individual.
Now, the question is—how long should I practice?
Here are some good answers to that question! (You can come back after reading the whole post) J
How Many Hours I day Should I Practice (Must read)
Today I want to provide you with an effective productivity plan. Not just my opinion on how long you should practice but more like how to take 100% of your efforts home.
In order to take advantage of every second you destined to practice, you must have a plan.
- What do you want to accomplish?
- How are you going to do that?
- What strategies are you going to use?
- How long will it take?
Planning a practice session is like planning out your life. You give direction and try to reach those goals while preparing other tasks. You can’t waste time—it’s limited.
Let’s say that you have 30 minutes to practice.
How would you get the most out of it?
How do you take 100% of your efforts home?
With 30 minutes you can easily take a big excerpt of music and work many things. Hopefully you picked a hard passage. Pick some technical as well as some musical problems.
5 minutes| tuning each note. Slowly watching your fingers from note to note
5 minutes| figuring how you would phrase that passage
5 minutes| actually playing the phrase with dynamics, etc.
5 minutes| repeating hard fingerings, bowings,etc. Cleaning everything up.
10 minutes| using the metronome and trying to get it up to tempo.
30 minutes will change the life of those measures forever. You were completely focus on those measures and actually worked things separately. You can even combine tasks by working on technical and musical problems at the same time.
I can personally focus for only 40-50 minutes at a time. After that, I am not really100% concentrated. I get distracted and start playing things without thinking much.
Many experts on the subject talk about 50 minutes practice and 10 resting (1 hour of work).
40 minutes – Warming up, technique, etudes, scales
10 minutes- Break
50 minutes- Concerto
30 minutes- Break
40 minutes- Mozart concerto
10 minutes- Break
50 minutes- Orchestral music
Total = 3hour practice with 50 minutes resting.
If I do it twice a day I will have practiced 6 hours and rested 1 hour and 40 minutes.
To practice 6 hours (the healthy way) I will need at least 8 hours available.
By doing the above, I give my body and muscles the essential time to rest. My mind will also pay me later by retaining more information.
Productivity = wanting to reach a certain level under a certain amount of time. (Read Increase Your Productivity by Shortening Your Day )
It’s been proven that when you work with a deadline, you do so more efficiently. You accomplish more in less time.
Finally, I would like you to read how this guy is productive.