How to keep practicing over the holidays

With Christmas parties, special gatherings, and traveling competing for time and energy in December, it can be a challenge to keep up regular practicing. Here are some ideas on how to keep your chops honed during the holiday season.

Think Small

You don’t have to practice for a half an hour in order to see results. Try putting an egg timer on your piano, and practicing very intensely for 10 minutes. Put a check on your lesson practicing sheet for each 10 minute segment. If you focus hard, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting your practicing in using this “short burst” technique. Honestly, I’d much rather my students did 10 minutes of intense practicing a day, than a half hour of sloppy practicing. They’ll definitely see better results. 

Family Gatherings

One of the best ways to practice music is to perform it for family members in a low-stress environment. I used to sneak away to the piano as everyone was finishing up their after-dinner desserts to play piano. They got to hear some relaxing background music, and I got to polish my chops. 

Paper Practice

If you’re planning on taking a road trip to see friends or family, print out a keyboard on a piece of paper and practice in the car. By playing the notes on the paper, you’ll see an improvement in your finger dexterity. It’ll also allow you to get in a ton of practice time while you’d otherwise be bored or arguing over who gets to ride shotgun.

Relax

As much of a stickler as I am about practicing, everyone needs a break at the end of the semester. Take some time off during the Christmas break, and let what you’ve learned set in. I find that if I take a day off (usually a Saturday or Sunday) from practicing, I digest what I’ve been studying during the week much more effectively. Don’t be afraid to relax after getting your work done. 

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