Finding Time to Practice

I recently spoke at a music careers class at Azusa Pacific University, my alma mater, and met Brianna. She reached out to me on Facebook with a question about making time for practicing within a busy college schedule.

I’m so glad she did because this is something I struggled with as an busy undergrad music major. In hopes this might be helpful to others, Brianna gave me permission to share our our short conversation. Happy practicing!

Brianna:

Hey Gary, do you have any practice resources, in regards to scheduling? I’m finding that I’m having trouble scheduling practice time when I have so many classes, so I’m wondering if you, when you were at APU, had a way to balance the classes, personal projects (i’m a comp major) and improving your skills on your instrument. Thank you!

Gary:

Hey Brianna! Thx for reaching out. Just to start off… it definitely is tough trying to fit it all in. Just want to say that right off the bat.
My biggest piece of advice would be to practice on a regular schedule even if it’s a very short time. What most people do is stress about the need to practice 4 hours a day… and end up doing nothing for months… big mistake. When they could have realistically done 1 hr a day… or even 20 min a day. Does that make sense? 20 min every day adds up quickly.
Another thing I did was try to find 3 or 4 20 min blocks of time… maybe morning/mid-day/night… don’t feel like you need 1 single block of time.
And also audit how you’re using your time. Everything in life is about sacrifices: friends, tv, youtube, hanging out, road trips, netflix. Decide what you’re willing to give up in order to get the time in. Another great “hack” is to post your practicing online… putting your work out there publicly forces you to put in the time. And it’s fun getting the feedback from friends, likes, shares, etc… That’s what I’ve found from the videos I’ve been posting lately.
And lastly, just do your best. It’s really tough. Try to find a way to truly enjoy the process of learning and growing. I always try to remember how amazingly blessed, lucky I am to be in a position to be working on music (as opposed to digging a ditch somewhere). I don’t want to squander that opportunity, you know?
Those are my “off the cuff” thoughts… I hope there’s something of value in there that’s helpful!

Brianna:

Thank you! That was really helpful, I always feel like practicing for 15 minutes in my 20 minute break wouldn’t be worth it, but that makes total sense. I’m going to try that online thing. I used to post my transcriptions I should do that again, but also my arrangements which I have never posted lol. I definitely just hate the feeling of not progressing because I didn’t put enough time in, ya know? I’m an “all in” sort of person who wants to be a great pianist composer and vocalist so this is a big help!

Gary:

I’m so glad it was helpful!

You can learn more about Brianna at her FB music page — https://www.facebook.com/briannaibarramusic

Hey! Thanks for reading. If you’re not familiar with me, here’s my quick intro: My name is Gary Lee and I’m a professional guitarist in Los Angeles. I specialize in acoustic guitar styles, studio work, and music production.

If you’re interested in working together or would like to learn more about my work at: www.garyleemusic.com or email me at gary@garyleemusic.com