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Vampires Killed My Jazz Practice Session

dracula 150x150 Vampires Killed My Jazz Practice SessionAnd Vampires may be killing your jazz practice, too! The result? You not making the progress with your playing that you want to.

I’m talking about ‘Time Vampires’ of course. All of those annoying and pesky little interruptions and time-suckers that happened to all of us each and every day.

If you don’t mind, I’d like to ask you question.

Do you have ‘enough’ time to practice?

Do you accomplish everything you want in the practice room each day?

If you answered ‘NO’, you’re just like the rest of us. In fact, one of the most common questions I get is about balancing practice with ‘life’. Like, “How the hell will I ever become a good player when there’s just so much to do and so little time?”

So, I figured I’d send you a little handy-dandy checklist to help you deal with this universal challenge.

Basically, it comes down to time management and prioritizing. Check it out:

1. Make practicing a priority. I like to use 3 X 5 cards to plan my day. I’ll write 5 high value things that absolutely ‘must’ happen. Nothing that isn’t high value makes it on to this list. Practicing goes on this list. Finishing a new course I’m teaching goes on this list. Watching my favorite TV show does NOT go on this list. Taking out the trash does NOT go on this list. I get the most important stuff done first and THEN do the less important.

2. Beware of Time Vampires. Time vampires could be any or all of the following: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Watching TV, Surfing the Web, Reading the Newspaper, Phone Calls, Texting, Unwanted Interruptions, etc. I’m not saying to give up this stuff completely. Just beware that hours and hours get sucked up out of the average person’s day doing these secondary (at best) tasks. Put your practice first then log into facebook later.

3. Be realistic and Consistent. Be realistic about how much time you really have to practice. If it’s only 30 minutes, it’s only 30 minutes. It’s better to put in 30 minutes of focused, mindful practice each day then 3 and a half hours on Sunday. It’s also better to actually stick to your plan everyday and hit your practice goals as opposed to biting off more than you can chew and coming up short. So carve out that 30 minutes and don’t miss it for anything. Have a conversation with your family, friends, roommates, etc and come to a peaceful understanding of how you missing this 30 minutes is not an option.

4. Maximize the time you do have. Have clear objectives for your daily practice. Use the Power Practice Paradigm: Define your desired result (for today’s practice). Simplify down to the next step. Practice it until you own it. Take it up a notch.

5. Set goals. Weekly, Monthly, etc. Connect those daily results to these bigger goals. Move ever patiently and diligently towards those goals each day in the practice room.

6. Always remember to incorporate mindful listening (to recordings) and playing for the spirit of the music into your daily musical adventures.

7. Work on music that is important to YOU. Balance your activities so you are not only working on exercises. Learn tunes. Listen. Improvise. Practice with other players.

8. Remember the Law of Accumulation. All great musical achievement comes 1 baby step at a time. With a little focus, even 30 minutes a day can bring serious skills over time.

There it is.

Get clear about what you want in the practice room. And get busy going for it.

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