Day 12, Deadlines

Another home run in terms of meeting my daily goal!  Things were different today.  I did front-load the morning and early afternoon and I think that was a big part of it.  Later in the day a friend was coming by so I had the deadline of finishing my last 90 minutes before then.  It reminded me how well I work under deadlines and also made me think about how I structure my practice on a finer level.  I think one of the things I’ve been struggling with is when to stop practicing an excerpt.  Setting an arbitrary “after 20 minutes” type deadline seems kinda dumb but deciding I’ll stop “when it’s great” could also be a big time sink.  In the past few days I’ve set out to practice without concrete goals other than to “make it better.”  As a result I would feel like every excerpt would be something that I just abandoned rather than finished, even though I had done good work.

I think a combination of stopping “when I’ve accomplished X, Y, and Z” and “after 30 minutes move on” (depending on the length) is a good guideline.  Beating my head against the wall over something short for more than 30 minutes is a waste of time and energy, and more often than not I just need a fresh set of ears.

On a broader scale, deadlines are the best motivation for longer periods of time.  It’s hard to practice in a vacuum but if in six weeks there’s a big audition for something, suddenly making the time to practice in the evening when I could be doing something else is much easier.  And the more going on, the more momentum I have built up, the more I end up doing.  The busier I am, the more I get done.

I’m looking forward to the auditions tomorrow and being able to begin work on the next stuff.  Full orchestral rep, chamber rep, solo rep. …. music that will be played with other people in the very immediate future.  That’s what I’m looking forward to the most.


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