With drastic changes to our everyday routines made just a few short weeks ago - most of us now required to stay at home and ‘self-isolate’ or shelter during the pandemic - it’s only now that we’re starting to find new ways of going about our daily lives; like working from home, socialising with our friends & family via video call or finding a way to join in with band remotely making isolation videos.

Learning new instruments or learning your preferred instrument in different keys is a valuable use of this time during shelter; providing a range of long term benefits. However, within this, simply finding the time to practice your current - or preferred - instrument is also just as valuable and valid.

Although it can often be a struggle to find the motivation to practice your instrument regularly during shelter when you dont know the next time you will get to play out, regular practice is one of the most important activities you could undertake during this time for your moral,to keep up your standard, or even to develop.

But, with so much time spent at home and so many recent changes to get used to, how do you find (and stick to) a practice routine during shelter?

How to find a practice routine during shelter

Have a goal: Giving yourself an end goal right at the very beginning of your practice sessions is a great way to stay motivated and push through the inevitable challenges along the way. Whether it’s mastering that complex piece of new music, work on a technique or breathing new life into an alternative arrangement of a piece you already know very well, goals help you stay focused.

Be realistic: And don’t put too much pressure on yourself! If you know you won’t be able to practice twice a day, don’t tell yourself you will or you’ll end up feeling let down and unmotivated to even look at your instrument, let alone pick it up and practice.

Keep to time: Practicing at the same time every day or every week - blocking out a regular ‘slot’ and dedicating that time to just practicing your instrument - is a great way to stay on track and make sure that you practice regularly. Not only this, but incorporating that practice time into your day (or week!) is a great way to establish and keep to a routine. If you know, for example, that you want to practice every day from 2pm - 4pm, everything else will fit around it.

Don’t push yourself: Now is not the time to really push yourself and take on too much of a challenge (unless you want to!). Gentle practice to maintain your skills and ensure you stay on top is entirely acceptable - enjoy yourself and have fun!

Record Yourself: With no-one else with you to evaluate your playing, record yourself and be critical of any weaknesses or mistakes and try and correct. This is a great way to constructively advance with your playing.

View it as an opportunity: This time during shelter may be difficult and you may be struggling to get motivated to practice, but this time during shelter really is a great opportunity for you to hone your skills, refine your performance and playing style, and dedicate time to something you truly love - playing music. Viewing practice as an opportunity will help you stay motivated and keep going.

Using this time during shelter to practice your instrument is important for so many reasons; your emotional well being, keeping you focussed, and helping you forge a sustainable & realistic routine, as well as providing you with a clear objective for when shelter finally ends.

But practicing is also incredibly valuable for maintaining your existing skills and conserving your confidence; ensuring you emerge from this period of enforced isolation just, if not more, confident with your instrument than ever before.

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