These days, “busy” seems like the norm. Kids’ schedules are packed with extracurriculars, and some families are barely making time for dinner. College students are running from classes to internships, and most adults are just trying to find that elusive work-life balance.
What ever happened to taking a break, grabbing your guitar, and noodling away for an afternoon?
While you can’t shirk your responsibilities, there are ways to manage your schedule and, consequently, end up with more time to spend on your music. Here are a few time-saving hacks for aspiring musicians:
(1) Schedule in your practice time, in a dedicated space.
If you’re using “I’m too busy!” as an excuse not to practice, consider the power of scheduling in your practice sessions. For the super-organized, this might mean literally writing it on your calendar, or even setting a reminder on your phone. A huge part of time management is also recognizing when you’re most productive. Select a time of day when you’re able to focus on your music, without distractions. And don’t stress about the duration: even if it’s just 15 minutes, that time is well-spent.
Another tip is to create a dedicated practice space. Leaving your instrument out may not be an option if you have pets or kids running around, but consider organizing all of your music and accessories (music stand, metronome, etc.) in one spot. That way, you’re not sifting through piles of sheet music to find what you need, or rushing to pack up your bag before heading to a lesson.
(2) Focus on the right things.
So we’ve established so far: if you have 10 or 15 minutes, you have time to practice! But how do you make sure that time is effective? To start, think about the three most important things you’re trying to improve. Is it a specific passage in a song? Are you struggling with a certain technique? Dive in and focus on those things to make the best use of your time. For more specific strategies, check out these tips for drum practice and tips for guitar practice.
(3) Consider online music lessons.
The data doesn’t lie: more and more students are getting comfortable with learning online. We’ve seen a huge increase in online students, as teachers and students alike get comfortable with this new technology. And why wouldn’t they? The days of scouring through racks of records, tapes, and CDs are long-gone; now, you can download entire albums with one click. If you want to pull up the guitar chords for a certain song, you’re likely Googling it on your iPhone instead of thumbing through books or sheet music.
With video chat programs such as Skype, students can connect with music teachers anywhere. And since you’re taking these lessons at home, you’re cutting out the hassles of commuting. Instead, use those precious minutes to warm up or practice a few songs. Immediately after your lesson, run through what you learned before you forget!
The bottom line? Being busy shouldn’t stop you from pursuing your passion or hobby. If music is important to you, make the time for it; you’ll notice it really does make a difference in your progress!
Interested in online music lessons? Browse teacher profiles and learn about our lesson programs here!
– Suzy S., TakeLessons staff member and blogger
Photo by AKZOphoto