Daily journaling is one of the biggest factors in keeping practice fun and purposeful. But sometimes I catch myself improvising something to write down, making something up just for the sake of journaling. Yes, I may be too lazy to think of something, but the previous 7 days have been quite spot on…maybe today can call for an alternative method to how I journal? So, I decided to change things up: I’ll practice silencing the critiques in my mind and let myself just play the music.
Sometimes we need a deloading phase in life – we have exams, concerts and recordings coming up. If you’re like me, I’m always anxious to keep on improving. And that’s not a bad thing, but it’s also not a bad thing to stop and take some time off the strict routine and express gratitude for how far you have come.
Taking the pressure off critiquing myself deloads at least 50% of my anxiety and actually allows me to become more creative with my playing, and thus have a clearer vision of what I want to achieve. It’s almost like when I record a piece that I have been tirelessly working on over the last few months. The first few takes are generally okay, but if you’re like me, I keep insisting on re-recording it because something just doesn’t satisfy me, whether it be tone, intonation, rhythm, a musical phrase or, heck, my nasty sniff picked up by the microphone –then to quickly find out that the best recording is the first or second take!
The deloading phase can still be intense as there might be an urge to critique your own playing, but not to worry, we were wired that way since the day we had our first lesson!
So try what works for you, maybe your deloading phase is only 24 hours? Or is it a week or even a month? And then the question would be how often? Once every month, 3 months or 6 months? Who knows!
The deloading phase should be of the same importance as your practice commitments. The deloading phase can strengthen and inspire your practice but not vice versa.
Practicing should be a series of experiments and I encourage you to spend time finding out what works for you. But if you know you have been lazy, then do not use this blog post as an excuse not to think critically!
Sending practice vibes,
Get your journal: The Practice Journal