Tuesday, June 30, 2009

End of June

My, that month went by quickly. It's already time to look back and see how I did with my practice goals this month. Drumroll, please...

And the answer is, very well, and very badly. I practiced 18 hours and 5 minutes over 19 days, which means I reached my total time and frequency goals handily. But I had a deuced time with the sit down behind the cello for 5 minutes before noon goal. I did OK for the first 6 days, missed a couple, tried again, and just gave up.

Turns out I am completely unable to sit down behind the cello without a goal. What I found myself doing was getting to the cello at 11:55 to start an hour's practice, not my intent at all. The biggest question I am left with is why I thought I wanted to do this in the morning.

Good reasons to practice in the morning.
1. If I practice in the morning, well, then it's done. Works for exercise, so I thought it would be a good idea with practice.

2. Morning is both an introspective and a focused time for me (but do NOT talk to me before 9am OR before coffee, whichever comes later). Seems like the energy requirements should coincide.

3. I used to practice for 30 minutes before work, with the benefit of starting the workday feeling relaxed and virtuous.

Possible reasons it didn't work.
1. I also got back on the morning exercise bandwagon this month. Ran every day (but 3) for 10 minutes with 10 more minutes of walking, PT, and stretching. Doesn't seem like much, but a huge breakthrough as I am still trying to recover from knee surgery.

2. I like to sleep late, now that I can. Thirty years of being up and at 'em before 6am was plenty long enough, and since retirement I have resumed my more natural night owl rhythms.

3. I love to spend my first barely-conscious hour drinking my coffee and catching up on the overnight blogging and Twitter activity. After feeding the cats, of course.

4. I don't have to, and no one can make me.

Sleep late + coffee/blog time + work out + breakfast and the morning's over.

I guess that's the bottom line. There are other ways I would rather spend the morning, and much as I like practicing, it just gets squeezed out. And you know what? It's not really important. I reached my time and frequency goals with no problem, and the practices I had were of good quality. So I guess I learned an important lesson this month. Just because a goal seems like a good idea doesn't mean it's right for me.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

June practice goals

That last post has been up on top 'way too long. To move it down a notch, I thought I'd post my practice goals for this month, as per my CelloBloggers Practice Club commitment:

Lots of things changing in my cello life right now - new teacher, new piece, fewer things in active progress, (which simplifies my practices and therefore seems to make me less resistant), integration of physical focus and learning music (which makes practice more pleasurable). But, though I have some intermediate performance goals, my primary practice goal for June is practice consistency.

My resolution: at least 15 practice days AND 15 hours of practice in June, PLUS at least 5 minutes of sitting behind my cello in playing position and doing *something* every day before noon.

There is method to my madness. I know I will face incredible resistance if I try to "practice every day." This allows me to take off on lesson and performance days without guilt. Plus I can plan practice lengths day to day, with a shorter practice on one day compensated for by either a longer practice later or an extra day of practice during the month. And I'm sneaking up on the goal of more frequent practice days by that very innocuous sitting behing the cello every day thing. Tee hee. I'll let you know how it goes.

[My first 5-minute deadline was very successful. Today I sat down at 11:53am, with time running out, and proceded to practice for 80 minutes.]