we all know that making music is a lot of fun but sometimes even the most motivated of us struggle to find enough energy for practicing. Whether you've had a crazy day at work or school, or just feel too stressed out about other things to even think of adding some music practice to your overflowing schedule, here are some tricks that are worth trying out.
1. Lie down on a mat or a folded blanket, on your back, with your knees bent, in order to relax your muscles and get back to an optimal posture. You can set an alarm in case you're afraid you'd end up napping for quite a while. 10 minutes should make your spine happier and fill you with fresh energy.
2. To slow down your mind and so focus for a while just on music, turn your attention to your breathing. You can try out some yoga breathing techniques, e.g. alternate nostril breathing. Or, like in basic meditation, you can just concentrate on on your in- and out-breaths and count them (from 1 to 10, and then start with 1 again - you don't want it to be too demanding for your tired brain ;-) )
Here's a little bit more information on alternate nostril breathing - check out the link if you haven't heard of it yet:
3. Do some stretching and other basic exercises to improve your blood circulation and flexibility, relax your tense muscles and prepare your brain for a very special workout :-)
4. Go for a short walk to feed your brain with oxygen and feel more awake.
5. Have a nutritious snack or drink - a little bowl of fruit salad can boost not only your energy levels, but also your mood! What about something juicy, colorful, and full of antioxidants that would help you to fight stress and fatigue? Add oranges or mandarins as well as some ground cinnamon - they are good mood makers! And throw in a handful of nuts or seeds to ensure you're not going to get hungry too soon (fruit gets digested really fast - about half an hour and that's it!).
6. Make yourself comfortable. Light a scented candle, put on your most comfy hoodie or make a cup of your favorite tea - you know best what makes you feel good without a lot of effort, so use this knowledge.
7. Listen to a recording of the piece you are going to practice. This will inspire you, give you some ideas for interpretation, buy you a few more minutes of relaxation, and put you into the 'music mode'. Just get rid of your everyday worries for a moment and dive into music!
8. Start off with something easy to follow. It can be an improvisation based on a scale, a technical exercise in a slow tempo, or just a piece you love and can play well without even looking into the score - pretty much anything that will keep you going for some 5 minutes. It's very unlikely that you'll feel like finishing after that. And if you do, then...
9. Take a day off from practicing - sometimes a break can do wonders for you! Never let your practice become a boring chore, and if you really can't be bothered with it sometimes, relax, enjoy your other activities, and get back to music with a fresh mind in a day or two, or... - well, everybody needs holidays from time to time ;-)
Enjoy your practice :-)