For many of us, September means new beginnings and new schedules. This is a great time to set goals and a practice schedule to keep motivated throughout the year.
Here are some steps to get you started:
Write out your existing schedule, pick out the best times to practice each day, and write them in. Your practice can be split up throughout the day or done in one session, depending on what your schedule will allow and how much you will be practicing (next month, we will discuss the best times of day to practice). Once it is in the schedule, treat this time like you would an appointment, and only cancel when absolutely necessary. As we all know, regular practice is needed to make progress. This is also a good time to write down any upcoming events or projects that are either going to change your schedule or demand more of your time.
Make goals for the year, month, and week. Your weekly goals will mostly depend on what your teacher gives you for homework and should be set soon after your lesson. Monthly goals will include things like pieces or scales you would like to learn, and yearly goals can include things like festivals, exams, or techniques you would like to master. Writing and posting these goals near your practice space is great motivation for those days that are busy or days you may not feel like practicing.
Set the timer. Depending on your level, you can use the timer in different ways. For beginners, it may be more useful to set the timer for the amount of time you will be practicing for. For those with more experience, decide what you want to practice and how much time you will spend on each section (more on this next month); set the timer for each section, do your best while the timer is on, and then move on to the next section when time is up. This will allow you to work on everything you planned.
Next month, I will be talking about how to design the perfect practice session. If you have any questions or want to add your own tips or tricks, let me know in the comments.