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19 December 2017

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Is it OK to take a break from practicing?

It's nearly Christmas, many people are having time off work or school and generally getting into a more relaxed mode. However, as a musician, should you take time off practice?

Is it OK for Musicians to take a break from practice?

From my teaching experience, many beginner students over the school holidays take a few steps backwards and take a week or two to get back to where they were at the beginning of the new term. On the other hand, you may remember in a previous post "The obsessive nature of a musician."  it was noted that we musicians can be a little OCD. So what is the balance?

Practicing incorrectly can be ineffectual, indeed doing your 3 hours a day whatever may have negative effects. The best practice comes when you have goals and goals in turn come from motivation. Sometimes excessive repetition can turn to drudgery and this will have a negative impact on your motivation. A small break on the other hand can give you a psychological boost, where you are mentally and physically fresh. If we compare this to professional sportsmen, they will often have a rest day once a week for both mental and physical recovery.

Let me give you some personal experience. When I was a student at the Royal Academy of Music, I would probably say that my practice schedule was rather OCD. Now, I am a little more laid back. I still try to practice most days, but probably not as many hours as I did then. Surprisingly, I would rate my playing as better than it was then. It is definitely more musical without the pressure of having to compete with the high standard of those around me. I now play for the sheer love of music. If I take a week's holiday, it would take no longer than a day to get back to where I was before.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe you could do something like one day you practice and one day you do not so it is a AB-AB pattern.


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