Journal

Practice more efficiently and avoid pain


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Pomodoro TechniqueAs a musician, you always try to improve your practice routines and become more efficient. In fact, we are actually lazy to a point that we constantly try to find ways to practice less and do more. When I was teaching I used to say to my students they have to picture pianists as the laziest people in the world: we try to spend as less time as possible practicing and one of our basic goal is to reduce our energy consumption while playing and do as less gestures as possible. I have to say that I’ve been very creative in this laziness for many years!

A couple of weeks back, someone (I’m so confused I forgot who!) spoke to me about the pomodoro technique. Not that this was something new and revolutionary to my ears but I remembered I used this technique for a while back in 2009 to increase my productivity when it comes to administrative tasks. It worked very well, and I don’t really know why I stopped using it.

When I heard again about the pomodoro the other day, it hit me: why didn’t I ever use this technique to improve my piano practice before? 25 minutes sessions with a 5 minutes break looks perfect to me. It could force me to break the very bad habit of practicing several hours in a row without standing up and stretching a little. It could keep me from unfocused practice. I could keep track of how many hours I spend at the piano daily and help me better assess how much time I need to practice a work.

I thus fetched my timer and started to apply the technique to my daily practice a couple of weeks ago. The results are stunning. I use the break to move around and stretch: no more pain due to long sittings. I am a lot more efficient when it comes to practicing and lose a lot less time (well, you’ve got to have a practicing tasks list as well). So it basically works and I recommend it to everyone who wants to have more efficient piano (or whatever instrument you are playing!) practice sessions and avoid pain.

If you have similar tricks and tips to help musicians be more efficient in their daily practice, I’d love to hear them in the comment box below!

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