Summer … thoughts on practicing

August 9, 2016

Hope everyone has been enjoying their summer– it’s has been a great summer but busy so not as much time to focus on blog writing but I wanted to finish...


Hope everyone has been enjoying their summer– it’s has been a great summer but busy so not as much time to focus on blog writing but I wanted to finish up my summer practicing struggle series so here’s the blog — podcast will be up by Friday

Soo you’ve decided — i’m not working or going to school as much so I’m going to practice like crazy and get ahead in my music.

I’d like to share a story that Jon Kimura Parker shared in a workshop I attend some years ago. So the summer before he started his music adventures at UBC, he decided to get ahead and get a head start on piano material that he would working on with his teacher. So he got to work, practicing like crazy ….. and suddenly nothing went right – he couldn’t get anything and he started to doubt if he should even continue with music. Luckily, he knew who his teacher was going to be at UBC so he called him telling him his experience and fears. The wise professor said, “take the rest of the summer off and come in September and we’ll figure it out from there – don’t worry” So September rolls around, Jon goes to his lesson and suddenly everything he was struggling with — he could do it!

So what can we learn?

  1. doing extra practice isn’t always productive — instead time yourself regular practice sessions and focused while practicing. I often hear people who say they practice for hours and hours and don’t know why they don’t have progress — they probably were letting their mind wander and not zoning it. If you want more info on this – drop me a line and we can talk 🙂
  2. sometimes your brain needs to rest and absorb what you’ve been learning and so if you’re not seeing results, you will later. Ever notice, if you’ve been practicing a lot – suddenly you’ll have practice dreams and you’ll be able to do so much after them? This is your subconscious working on what you’ve been learning. There are also tricks on how to get this working more — again message me if you wonder how! I do my best practicing in my sleep.
  3. Rest is need! Practice is important but make sure you have time to rest and recover. Probably in Jon’s case – he was so focused on his audition to get into UBC and practicing for that he didn’t have a chance to rest after so his brain and fingers were in overload mode and he didn’t have a chance to recover.
  4. He was becoming frustrated so becoming too hard on himself  (maybe even angry) – he couldn’t see the journey only the music in front of him. I don’t know how many times, I’ve studied a difficult piece and seen no results — gone back to easier stuff (which is suddenly even easier) then went back to the difficult music and it all made sense. Frustration is our enemy in music. Even worse, Anger will kill your music. Think back when you were a kid and when you had that teacher who yelled at you — did you see any progress or did you want to quit and never do music again?

So moral of this story!

1. practice but don’t over practice

2. Enjoy the summer — take a break

3. Don’t allow yourself to become frustrated – as you probably won’t see success

What a wonderful world!



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