Sixty seconds per minute. Sixty minutes per hour. Twenty four in a day.
That’s it. That’s all the time you get from one sunrise to the next. And, regardless of all the technological innovations available today, until somebody invents a time machine, that’s all you’ll ever get. Ticktock waits for no person.
You can’t stop time. But you can stop wasting it.
That says easy and sometimes does hard. Particularly for those of us who picked up a serious Netflix Syndrome while waiting out the pandemic. And for those of who have a social media jones, how much time do we burn scrolling through apps and platforms to see what the rest of the world is doing?
Be honest with yourself, “Will I get more from watching the second season of Tiger King, leveling up on Candy Crush, or should I use the time to work on a challenging instrumental piece?” The easy choice may not be the most rewarding in the long run.
Prioritize what’s really important to you and drop what isn’t, but you don’t have to kick cold turkey. Start by charting the time spent on superfluous activities and commit to using a third of it to hone your craft.
There’s nothing routine about making practice a routine.
Plan your day and carve out time to practice. A set schedule has an accountability element to it, and there’s a sense of accomplishment to checking off the boxes as you pass each milestone.
And … mirabile dictu! … you’re improving your musical abilities and mining new sources of creativity.
You set your alarm clock to wake up at a given time, show up for work by a certain time, catch a flight at a scheduled time—repeat this mantra, “structure is good.” In general, the best musicians in the world schedule hours of practice time.
What exactly do you want to accomplish?
“Honing your craft” is a worthy overall goal but that’s like saying I want to be a better tennis player. Break it down: what makes a tennis player better? Ground strokes, backhands, foot speed, serves … these are all part of the mix, and each has to be practiced, sometimes separate from the others, sometimes all put together.
The same idea applies to improving your musical skills. You know what all the different things are that roll up into accomplished artistry. So set smaller goals that lead to the greater goal. By doing so, you’ll also be able to better see your progress and enjoy the rewards of your efforts.
Use the Tools
Social media is a two-edge sword.
We all know that social media can be a major distraction. But used with purpose, it also can be an invaluable tool. Practicing is good but it’s also important to stay current with industry trends, online workshops, videos, and other information that could help you improve your methods, routines, and implementation. This education will help keep you interested and motivated in your craft!
To paraphrase Norman Meade’s song (made famous by Urna Thomas and The Rolling Stones), time is on your side, yes it is! By not wasting it, planning it, and using it to your advantage, you’ll “find” the time you need to hone your craft and accomplish your musical goals.