While the start of this school year is undoubtedly unlike any other, there are still elements of our back-to-school routines that we find familiar: classes, homework, extra-curriculars, and - you
guessed it - PRACTICING!
Just as with any other routine or habit you are trying to build, devising and maintaining a practice routine requires conscious thought, carving out time, and executing your plan with intention. If you fall off the track, don't give up! It doesn't mean your plan was a bad one - it just might need some tweaking.
So, how can you start to build a school-year practice routine in the midst of an abnormal back-to-school season?
Set some goals. You'll likely be much more consistent with your practicing if you set some short- and/or long-term goals for yourself. Be ambitious, but realistic. Is there a piece you've been dying to work on? An aspect of your technique you've been wanting to improve? Do you have auditions or performances coming up? It doesn't matter what it is - what matters is if you have something to work toward.
Start practicing right away. Don't wait until tomorrow, until the weekend, until after your chemistry test, until... you get the idea. No excuses. Just start. Even if you can only swing 15 minutes a day the first week, that's far better than nothing.
Keep consistent with your lessons. Hopefully you've been doing this all summer long, but if you haven't, get back into the studio as soon as you can. Having the accountability of weekly lessons, and the guidance of your teacher, will help you stick to your routine.
Once You've Gotten Started:
Set a specific schedule, and stick to it as best you can. Decide how many practice days you will commit to each week, and how long each session will take. I'd suggest at least 4-5
days per week, for at least 30 minutes, but set something that will be attainable for you. If you fall off track, it doesn't mean your plan was a bad one - it might just mean you need to tweak it a bit.
Plan ahead. I'm talking weeks, if not months, in advance. If you know, for example, that your school's drama production will be eating up most of your time two months from now, keep that in mind as you implement your routine and work toward your goals, knowing that you will have to make adjustments to your schedule when that time comes. If you don't plan ahead, stuff creeps up on you, and all of sudden you're like OH NO I DON'T HAVE TIME. Correction: you have time - you just haven't thought ahead about the best way to manage it. #realtalk #sorrynotsorry
Stay healthy! Your practice routine is important, but your wellness routine even more so. In addition to all the recommended illness-avoidance protocols, keep up with the basics: get the sleep you need. Eat foods that nourish you. Practice self-care. Exercise. (If you're feeling stuck, this is where a wellness coach comes in!)