Please consider the following as way that may improve your practice habits, your shedding, your time when you work on the musical things.
Practice yourself … in little things; and thence proceed to greater.
30 to 100 days
Consider the 30-100 days needed to solidify a new habit. Different sources site different numbers. For example, 100 days is a gong. Tai Lopez’s 67 Days quotes the 66 day “rule” (check out the study). Steve Pavlina talks about 30 day trials. In Kundalini yoga, there are 40 day sadhanas, (and 90, 120, and sadhanas).
(Sure there are more complicated “life hacks” you can learn new multiple habits at the same time, but start with just 1 or 2 a month until you have master the concept.)
And finally, remember habit stacking for when you already have some habits. If you brush your teeth every day, then adding the habit of flossing right after you brush would be habit stacking. If you practice soloing in 4/4 time every day, you could habit stack by adding another couple minutes of soloing in another time signature.
25 Musical Practice Habits
I just brainstormed 25 practice ideas in about 7 minutes. Please check these out but consider brainstorming your own.
- Stretch before playing
- Pray before playing
- Meditate before playing
- Visualize before playing
- Sing while you play
- Play along with music
- Write a simple song, maybe just 4 bars long
- Practice 5 important grooves daily
- Pick your top 7 songs and play one each day of the week
- Play your favorite song every day
- Transcribe every day for 10 minutes
- Try to play at least one really, really great note a day!
- Practice a 2nd (or 3rd, 4th) instrument every day for 5 minutes
- Pick a new style of music and practice it every day for a month
- Pick a favorite musician and learn about their music every day for a month/year/decade
- Pick 7 musicians and learn about each one for every day of the week for the year
- Learn to sing by practicing 10 minutes a day
- Learn to play piano by practicing 10 minutes a day
- Learn to play drums by practicing 10 minutes a day
- Learn to play bass by practicing 10 minutes a day
- Practice playing with good vibes 5 minutes a day
- Practice grooving for 5 minutes a day
- Record yourself playing 5 minutes every day
- Make your own daily jam track and jam along (5+5 minutes a day)
- If you usually practice about 30 minutes a day, maybe consider adding 5 more minutes
- Check out these seven 5 minute practice ideas, and do one of them every day
Pick only 1-2 new habits per month
I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.
Once you’ve brainstormed a bunch of daily practice ideas, just pick 1 or 2 to add to what you normally do. This might not seem like a lot. But in one year that’s 12-24 new practice habits. Imagine – one year from now you could have developed 12-24 new practice habits.
A lot of the power of practicing comes from the cumulative effect of doing it every day over a period of time. Doing a specific habit for 30-100 days will most likely help it to become part of your daily routine.
Choose wisely. But remember if you don’t like the habit, you can choose to later let it go.