Today we start our pledge to play 10 minutes a day, for 30 days. Even if you can’t commit to playing every day, I hope you won’t mind receiving my emails for the next month, filled with practice tips and musical and motivational information. I love this pledge because it helps us to get focused and to develop good practice habits. We are often so busy that we don’t even have 10 minutes to sit down and do something for ourselves. However for the next 30 days, I hope you’ll make the time. Maybe you can play for 10 minutes before you go to bed, or first thing in the morning. (Research shows that we’re the most creative, receptive and open-minded at these times, when we’re a little sleepy! I believe it’s because we’re less self-critical and we just PLAY.)
So… if you intend on keeping this pledge, what will you do with that time? Ten minutes a day will add up to 70 minutes per week, and 280 minutes for the month, or 4 hours and 40 minutes! That’s a good chunk of practice time. And chances are, once you sit down at the piano, you’ll play for more than 10 minutes on most days, anyway. (But don’t feel that you have to; even 10 minutes will be great!)
Get out a piece of paper or open up your journal and think about what your goals might be. Be specific! Just writing, “I’d like to become a better piano player” isn’t going to help you to focus on clearly defined goals that can elevate your playing to the next level. Here are some suggestions:
1- Identify difficult passages in your music where you make mistakes, or you hesitate. Practice those few measures every day for 10 minutes until you can play the whole line of music without hesitating. Then do the same with other difficult passages.
2- Decide which one of your songs or pieces you love the best, and practice it every day for 10 minutes. Make this your go-to song when someone says, “play me something!”
3- If you’re a more advanced player, open any music book and sight read for your 10 minutes.
4- Work on an exercise or review your chords in all 12 keys.
5- Formulate other specific goals such as,
I will learn one page of my current piece by the end of the 30 days
I will learn a new (short) song
I will learn an exercise in all 12 keys without looking
I will improvise every day
I will write a song about ___________
Write down a couple of goals for your pledge now; you can add new goals as you accomplish these. Remember, practicing more than 10 minutes is wonderful. But this pledge is about playing every day. Dedicate the first 10 minutes of your daily practice session to your goal. After your dedicated 10 minutes you can either stop playing, or go on to playing other things.
If you feel like it, share your goal(s) with us (in the comment section below) so that we can support you and you can deepen your commitment to your goal.
Thanks for taking this pledge with me! We can do it together!
With love and music, Gaili