Day 58, Not Practicing

Practice: 0, Rehearsal: 6 hours.  I think I started to figure out at least one reason why my concentration has been flagging (aside from having been at a music retreat for seven weeks with only a handful of legit days off).  During my non-practice, non-rehearsal time I’ll often have the same music on repeat in my head.  Walking, driving, eating lunch, in the shower, before I go to bed, when I wake up, I’ve had a lot of the ensemble music I’m doing just playing playing playing in my mind.  Usually it’s the sections that I want to work on, motivated by a guilty conscious that’s assuaged by thinking about it as if I were practicing it.  Mental practice can be great, but only when it’s voluntary.  All of this low-level practice has made me feel like my “breaks” are compromised, because I’m not completely taking a break.  It makes returning to work feel like more of a chore.  And from there it snowballs to fatigue.  It took conscious effort this morning to stop thinking about the music and just let my mind be quiet.  Reading is a good replacement (there’s no room to mentally rehearse and read fiction), but so is conscious effort to pay attention to the sounds of here and now.  For this, meditation is a handy tool- the ability to focus on only one thing is a skill that needs to be practiced, but once learned can be extremely useful for anything where concentration is key.  Going to try meditating again (it’s been years) and try letting my mind be clear of music more often when I’m not engaged in practice or rehearsal.

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