If you are a student reading this you will probably try to hide this blog from your parents. "Holiday practice? Isn't it meant to be holidays?" you're probably thinking.
What if i were to tell you, school holidays are probably the most productive and even most enjoyable time to practice? You should be feeling fresh and energised, so your practice time will be less stressed as it won't be bookended with homework and school term activities.
Try the following tips and let me know if they work for you!
Tip #1 Schedule It
Schedule your music practice into your daily holiday diary, alongside scheduled playdates, movies, rockclimbing etc. If you write it down it as a commitment, you are more likely to keep it. Make sure you stick to your booked practice time eg 30m, 60m, depending on your level. If you're not sure, discuss with your teacher. NB Ticking off music practice as 'completed' in your diary will give you a great rush of endorphins which will make you feel terrific all day!
Tip #2 Break It Up
Breaking up your practice into 2-3 shorter sessions can be effective too eg 10minutes for beginners or 20-30m for advanced students. Our brain will keep processing what we have been working on in the meantime, until the next practice session.
Tip #3 Mindful Practice
To fully focus and make sure you are doing mindful practice, minimise distractions and excuses when practising:
a. Turn your phone to airplane mode.
b. Go to the bathroom before you practice
c. Have your water bottle with you
Tip #4 Have a Goal in Mind
Set your practice goal for that session. Make a note of what you intend to do eg warm up with 3 scales, 2 arpeggios and work on tricky part of the Mozart that your teacher has asterisked*, and see if you can play a piece by memory that you have been working on.
*When working on your pieces, remember, playing a piece through from start to finish is not the most effective use of time. Read your teacher notes (in your diary or on the music) and see if there are certain sections that you have to work on. Practice those sections first.
Tip #5 Practise Practising
Practise your practice schedule and it will become a habit or routine. Once it's a routine it will seem less of a burden and you will enjoy it more.
Here's a great TED video about effective practicing