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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: Goals

Intentional Practice Sessions

Andrew Hitz

"A schedule defends from chaos and whim."
–Annie Dillard

I have had a great deal of success over the years as the result of scheduling my practice sessions.

To be clear, I don't mean how long they are to be. I find that when my primary goal is to practice for one hour instead of improving specific musical passages, I get bored easily.

By scheduling a practice I mean two things: when the session will start and what will be accomplished.

I encourage all of my students to never end a practice session without going on the record with yourself about exactly when your next practice session will begin.

You can always reschedule. But it is a lot harder to skip a practice session that I've already scheduled (even with just myself!) than one I haven't.

And never begin a practice session without having a very clear idea of what you are planning to accomplish. (Hint: "Make Mozart's Third Horn Concerto better" is not a clear idea!)

I will choose four measures in this piece, three pages in this book, and a page of this solo and will put them in a stack on my music stand. I then don't get up until those goals are accomplished.

If you've never scheduled your practice sessions and planned specifically what you are trying to achieve in each one then I challenge you to try it.

You will be impressed by the results in a short amount of time.


Breaking Down Productivity

Andrew Hitz

"Productivity is never an accident. It's always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort."
-Paul Meyer

I love this quote. It beautifully breaks down productivity into three parts.

Commitment to Excellence

Being truly productive isn't about just getting things done. It's about doing an excellent job at whatever we set out to accomplish.

This means a commitment to excellence, not just to results.

Intelligent Planning

Having a bad plan is a lot better than having no plan. But an intelligent, thoughtful plan is imperative to being productive.

Focused Effort

Productivity has absolutely nothing to do with looking busy. We all know someone (ourselves?) who feels they are being productive as long as they are working hard.

If the effort is not focused, chances are we are not be very productive.