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.


Guanaco said...

LOL, #4 is the only reason you need!

I, on the other hand, can only practice in the mornings. I'm still a (very) early riser and after an hour of coffee, news, and perusing my feedreader, I am usually ready to devote the next two hours to cello. If I don't get to it before 9 or so, it's usually too late.

Anonymous said...

I've always looked to you as a paragon of discipline when it comes to practice. In a strange sort of way this has been reassuring, to realize that all of us struggle with our regimen at times.

"Just because a goal seems like a good idea doesn't mean it's right" -- My New Year's goal this year was to practice a minimum of one hour per day unless out of town. Bad idea! At first it was great. I was making tangible progress faster than before. And I discovered a "second wind" about 45 minutes into the hour where things seemed to get easier. I began to stretch to 1.5, even 2 hours.

But I couldn't tell the difference between natural muscle "burn" and serious tendon strain. Often I didn't really feel serious pain until a couple of hours after practice. In the end I had to stop playing completely for a couple of months. Right motives, wrong goal.

BTW, I've been meaning to ask you: What do you mean when you say, "Looking for the up bow 'pop'", and "my goal is to get the 'pop' both up and down bow, and eventually the bow circles?"

Anonymous said...

Im still a kid (14), and i've been playing cello for a mere 5 years now. I'm not too good though, but I enjoy the sound. I'n playing my exam in September, so I was pulled back to the basics - majors and minors. I think this blog kinda got me inspired to go pick up my beautiful overweight violin and practice D-major, wich I have come to hate. Thankyou. :3