This week, I want to talk about time management and give you some tips about how best to plan your days. For the past month, I have been learning the best ways to adjust your schedule and fit in some practice time even when you think you can’t!
Most music majors average around 10 to 15 hours of required practice a week for their specified instrument. However, if you are a voice major like me, you may also choose to take piano lessons to hone your skills with that instrument. This means that I actually have 20 hours of required practice a week. Now, you’re probably thinking: “20 hours of practice a week? How in the world do you fit that in with homework, class and having a social life?” But over the past month, I have found some awesome ways to fit in all of my work, practice and fun!
The most important thing that I can tell anyone is: WRITE IT OUT. If you sit down and write out your schedule and see where the gaps in your day are, it makes your life a whole lot easier. Then you need to do a little math and see how much time you need to practice daily to fill your requirements. Here’s a little hint: If you have a very busy day on one day of the week and are only able to get in an hour of practice that day, you can make it up during the weekend! The weekend is a beautiful time to make up for lost hours because you have so much more free time.
So, besides writing it out, here are some of my ideas on how to manage your time wisely:
- Get up early! Start your day by warming up for 30 minutes or an hour before you go get breakfast. It’s a great way to get your brain going.
- Bring your practice materials with you everywhere. Then, if your class is cancelled or you get out early, you can run over to the practice room and sneak in some practice time!
- Have a 30 minute break between classes? Go practice then! 30 minutes may not seem like a lot, but it can make a big difference, instead of sitting around and waiting for class to start.
- You only need 30 minutes for lunch. Seriously, that is all you need. That gives you enough time to eat and socialize, and then you may have an extra 30 minutes to an hour to practice.
- If you’re doing your laundry, go to the practice room while you’re waiting for your clothes to be done!
- Practicing does not always have to be done in the practice room! If you have your songs recorded on Audacity or another program like that, and your roommate is gone/does not mind, pull out your computer, warm up and get going! That way, it does not feel like as much effort to haul yourself over to the practice room.
- Take your homework to the practice room! Take an hour to practice, an hour for homework and then another hour to practice. This eliminates the time it takes to walk back and forth to your dorm, and gives you a nice break between practice times.
- Double dip on practice time! This only applies to girls who need practice for both voice and piano, but if I spend an hour singing and playing my accompaniment at the same time, that counts as an hour for both voice and piano!
I hope that these tips can help you feel better and more prepared for your lessons and less swamped when it comes to practice time. Just remember, sometimes you do need a break. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just stop working, give yourself 5 minutes and try again. You can do it!
Much love, Kat!