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Getting focus.


You get ready for a 4 hour practice this afternoon. Your instrument is standing graciously in the practice room waiting for you; your reeds are neatly arranged on the table next to a bottle of 2 liters of fresh water.
You’re ready for the ride when the email notification rings on your mobile to inform you that the item you were purchasing 2h hours ago on Amazon is no longer in stock. No big deal, you decide to buy another model (the one a little bit more expensive but with far better quality). Just a few clicks, it will only take one minute.
When you look at the clock, 1 hour has gone by and you find yourself watching a review of another article you’ve seen on Price minister.
You blame yourself, decide to »squeeze » the boring 2 hrs of long tones, scales and 11-V-l, and jump straight into the part of the tune you’re struggling with.
While staying way too much time on these four bars, you ear again that little twinkling with the Eb1 palm, bothering you for quite some times. You decide to get rid of the disturbing noise with a brief turn of screwdriver. You go to the garage, fetch the toolbox just to remember that you lend it to your neighbor, the one who’s always inviting you to have a little coffee, sparkle with some chit chat. Of course you won’t get trapped this time. At least that’s what you told yourself…
Rings a bell?

I’m not an expert in time managing, but I have four pillars I trust to be the foundation of a good practice day and I also have some tricks that help me to get focus while I’m working and I would like to share it with you folks

The four pillars:

1) Meditation:
I’m not talking about trying some lotus position under cold waterfalls at dawn. What I do is I sit ON A CHAIR, I count ten breathings and I push away any thought coming into mind. I do it over again for ten minutes focusing only on my breathing (no floating in the air required). The aim is to train my mind to get focus on only one thing: the task I’m doing at the moment. I Know we live in an era where multitasking is emphasized, but the concept seems to be overrated and misunderstood. I’m ok with doing a lot of things in life but each of them should be cared about. If not, multitasking may be the fastest way to do a lot of things, badly.

2) Take a nap!
I will not elaborate on the benefits of sleep, I will go further though and advise to exchange your 15 minutes coffee break against a 20-30 nap before starting a session if you feel tired. I am freshly converted to this practice and I’ve added it to my arsenal as musician.
I call it my secret weapon :bluewink2:

3) Don’t let your stomach screw up your brain!
Won’t elaborate either but what you eat has huge effect on your energy, your emotions and your ability to think fast.
So, no tajin before practice.

4) Exercise.
At first I just wanted to lose that damn belly:bluewink2: but since I can constat real effect: I can play longer, have less back problems and again I'more focus.


Ok that’s for what I trust to be the pillars of a good practice session (and a balanced life as a musician). Here after, some tricks and nuggets to stay focus.

-First, hum…
NO MOBILE. When you’re in the practice room nothing else count but you and your instrument. SO, NO PHONE CALLS (NO RECEIVED CALLS), NO MESSAGE AND NO 3G.

The problem is that I use some pretty good apps on my phone, a good qui pro quo is to switch into PLANE MODE.

- NO WIFI! I’m a specialist of always having something "very important" to do on the internet (hey ! I’ve seen this item on Amazon but I didn’t think about checking it on Craigslist...)
Before every practice session I switch off the wifi router.
Yep, no retreat…


-Lastly, I use a very efficient app to manage my time while practicing called: CAYNAX HIIT PRO. It’s a timer designed for runners that enables to set several timers to alternate long session and short session (what we call interval training).
You can program several trainings for instance:
Improvisation=
30 mn of long session (practice).
5 mn of short session (rest).
8laps.

Scale=
20 mn of long session
3mn of short session
1 laps

Arpeggios=
20 mn long
3 mn short
1 laps.

Ect…


Of course the ways getting focus depend of the person, these are my habits and tricks, and I’m impatient to know what are your tricks and tips folks!
 
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