You wake up and intend to get started on that next piece of music. Instead you take a shower, hop on the internet and start to surf like you live in Hawaii (that’s really cool if you do!). Then a friend comes over and you start playing a video game or you realize you have to go to Home Depot to pickup something. By the end of the day you don’t know where the time has gone and you haven’t even touched the piece you wanted to play.
Maybe, just maybe you should have started your day off with a different mindset. Could there be a routine that you need to get into in order to fulfill your passion in life? To borrow from Hal Leonard a “Miracle Morning” for a classical guitarist might be just the thing you need.
In thinking about this post I came up with a few habits that might help in the morning to get you started.
Drink a glass of water and eat something small
You’re going to be dehydrated because you haven’t consumed water for at least six hours.
Eating something small will allow you to feel comfortable and avoid the post-prandial sugar spike and subsequent drop leading to food coma. This is a habit I have developed for all my meals. Not just in the morning.
Stretch or do yoga
Get those fingers limbered up. You could even do some finger exercises by getting on your knees and placing your palms on the floor and bending at the wrist. Then you could turn your hands over onto their backside and do the same thing. Stand up straight and do a forward bend to stretch out those lower back muscles. Grab behind your knees and slowly pull yourself forward. Now stand straight up and bend over to the left for a few breaths then to the right. Count your breaths to track the time for each pose. Now I’m betting you feel a lot better. For more and really awesome routines checkout www.doyouyoga.com. Also using a simple yoga mat and block can help you to reduce strain on your wrists and knees.
Visualize playing the piece
This may sound a little weird but sit there and close your eyes and actually see yourself reading and playing the piece. Fingers moving in the correct rhythm, jumping quickly to a position, and stressing and lightening up just in the right places. Then finally ending with a charming harmonic or loud rasgado. Engage all your senses to get your mind rolling.
Declutter your playing space
Pickup last nights plates and glasses. Clear the area of all other objects besides your guitar, sheet music and stand. That piece of mail sitting on the counter will draw your attention away. Focus on your dream. Also having a piece of inspiration like a picture or a window to the outside world helps as well.
Remember why you are wanting to play professionally
The smell of roasted beans are in the air. There is a hum of chatter in the background and their ears are glad to hear the movement of fingers across strings. You talked to Jack about playing at his coffee shop to help him get customers. The customers talked to eachother about coming back, and you sighed a relief as your plan came to life. These are the moments in life you live for so think about them when you practice.
Keeping our minds focused requires practice. There are so many distractions in todays digital world that often times we fail to finish what we started. Just like running up and down your scales to increase dexterity. Meditation helps to hone the skill of focusing on one thing and it helps to decrease anxiety as well. Using headspace I can now meditate for 20 minutes a day. I would go so far as to say this should be your New Years Resolution.
Now that you’re all warmed up you can go play somewhere outside your home! Be sure to check out my previous article “Playing it Safe as a Classical Guitarist” for some tips on where to go.
Well, thanks so much for reading. I hope it was enjoyable and if anyone has any other ideas on preparing to play then let me know on twitter @Miguitara. Looking forward to hearing from you!
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