Here’s where this blog ends. A couple days ago I put in three hours and yesterday I took a much needed compete day off. I feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle this coming week, the end of which will have two relatively important auditions for which I’ve been preparing several weeks.
I’m pleased with myself that with only one or two exceptions I was able to update this blog every single day for the whole summer. I also stuck pretty close to my goal of four hours per day, though it seems the majority of days had an average of three honest hours. I spent the last couple days reviewing this blog, remembering it all, and seeing themes come up again and again. Here’s what I think some of the biggest topics were:
-Planning out my day ahead of time in order to get all my practicing in.
-Including realistic estimates of the time and energy it takes to accomplish all of my daily goals.
-Accepting that rehearsal is not a replacement for practice, at all.
-The importance of setting daily and weekly goals for myself, in terms of tasks, not minutes.
-Knowing exactly what kind of sound I want, before I even pick up the clarinet.
-Working hard six days a week and taking one day completely off.
-Recording, listening as objectively as possible, and writing down my thoughts.
-Taking baby steps to dismantle long-standing bad habits, particularly irrelevant physical tension.
And practicing four hours! It continued to be a stretch for me almost the whole summer but the sheer amount of time really elevated my playing and musicianship. I’m going to continue to try to practice for four hours every day throughout this last year of my master’s degree.
If there’s any one bottom line that I got from doing this it’s that pushing myself beyond my comfort zone has always had positive results. “It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not”.