We have nearly reached the end of summer break! The kids uniforms are washed and the fear of getting back to your normal routine is REAL. Even when you are like me and actually enjoy routine, it can still make me feel like I'm getting ready to do a bungie jump. 😅
When you play an instrument, taking regular classes with a teacher, learning from YouTube or following a course, it can be nice just to stop and take a breath in the summer from learning new material. Learning and progressing can become tiresome if you don't take a well earned break.
So, in contrast to my last post which was all about how to beat the summer practice slump, I will now give you a few tips to help ease you back into the idea of a practice routine and get back to the playing the instrument that you love (if you did actually take a break). Leave the fear behind. Oh and don't worry, I won't tell your teacher! 😆
1. Let It Go
If you had grand plans of practicing everyday with your new found freedom or learning that beautiful new piece you heard on your favourite tv show. LET. IT. GO! Do not stress about yesterday and what you didn't do. It's gone. I'm sure you enjoyed yourself or even happily did nothing. Maybe you did a few practice sessions but fell off the horse. Do not let the break you took, put you off from starting again today. The hardest part is deciding to get back to it and committing to it mentally. Do not beat yourself up for taking a break.
2. Make a Plan
If you already play an instrument, a foggy idea of when you will play those first few notes again or open up that dreaded exam book will not work. You need a clear plan of when and how you will get back to it. If you are only starting and have been putting off taking the leap, you have a decision to make. Do you need to text a teacher and book in a term of classes? Do you need to join that course you have seen advertised? Do you need to open your book and just PLAY? Whatever method you use to learn and play music, make a plan. Pick a date in your calendar and stick to it. Put a reminder in your phone. Tell someone else your plans so they can help keep you accountable. Envisage yourself in the future playing beautiful rockin' pieces and songs you love. If you need a new book or want to upgrade that old piano, take a look on google now and order what you need. Go do it!
3. Buddy Up!
Why not link in with a practice buddy and learn together! People thrive when they learn in pairs or groups as it helps keep them accountable. The community you build around your music learning really helps to keep you on track and keep motivation high. Also, music is pure magic when you play together with other musicians. Why not organise a jam or visit a friend who plays music for s session. I get such a buzz playing with others. I love it so much I joined a band LIERS! (Cheeky plug 😜)
4. Breaks Are Good For You
If we kept working at our goals 24/7, 365 days a year we would burn out. If we didn't have weekends, holidays or mid terms we would be exhausted. Taking breaks is a necessary part of life and also self care. We all know someone or have experienced what it's like to have burn out. To be overwhelmed and exhausted on a hamster wheel will make you sick and it also is not productive. Coming back to a hobby, your job or schooling after a break you are more likely to feel motivated and energised to start fresh. So, if you are disappointed in yourself about anything you didn't do or anything you haven't achieved yet, be kind to yourself. Know that taking a break is ok. Wipe the slate clean and begin again with a clear conscience.
5. Make Your Practice Area Inviting
If you are anything like me, your practice area can become a bit chaotic and messy at times. Rogue sheets, last terms used notebooks, baskets of washed clothes, boxes of old toys and a lonely yoga mat fill my music room at this moment. It is time to tidy up, refresh and create an inviting practice nest. I am calling it a nest, as it makes me think of somewhere cosy and warm. Some people say nook. Whatever you want to call it, make sure it is tidy, inviting and conducive of happy productive practicing. Do this in preparation before you start back.
I would love to see your own special practice area in your home. Feel free to send me a photo or description of your homely music nest. I'm always looking for new ideas and inspiration for my own. I even have a Pinterest board for this! Why not check it out for more inspiration.
The Moral Of The Story Is. . .
. . . don't be hard on yourself if you took a well deserved break. Take a breath, make the decision and start again. If you have been wanting to learn an instrument, make a plan and stick to it. Your future self with thank you!
Best of luck!