I said in my last post I'd be setting myself some new musical goals for the rest of the year, so here's the first one! I did my Grade 1 clarinet exam in July and straight afterwards I had a renewed burst of enthusiasm for playing it more. But I have to admit that initial burst faded a bit over the summer, and when I picked it up again the other week, it felt like really hard work! Like any skill, learning an instrument benefits from being practised little and often, far more than doing a big stint now and then. Last week I realised that the end of the year was twenty weeks away, or 140 days. Now, being realistic, I'm not going to practise the clarinet every single day (I don't expect my students to do that either - as with sports training, the odd 'rest day' is actually really beneficial) - some days I'm out of the house from 8.30am to 8.30pm! But five days out of every seven sounds pretty reasonable, and conveniently that makes a nice round 100 days between now (well, last week) and the end of the year. They might not always be long practices - I've just squeezed in ten minutes before writing this post - but that little and often approach is more likely to build up the right muscles gradually, whereas the occasional 'blow out' is more likely to just damage them - a bit like doing short jogs regularly, rather than just running a marathon once a month. Interestingly, my dissertation research found quite a few comparisons between music practice and sports training - I'll fill you in on them next time. In the meantime, I'm going to have another quick play through my current favourite clarinet study, James Rae's Tumbledown Blues, before heading out to teach...
(practices so far = 2)
Flute player and teacher blogging about playing, learning, teaching and researching music.
The Reliable Musician - a series of blog posts on the skills that make the sort of musician people want to work with!