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  • Stuart Barr

5 ways to make time for practice in-between teaching

As a music teacher, it’s highly likely that you spend a lot of time explaining the importance of practicing to your students and their parents...but perhaps you find it difficult to fit your own practice into your busy schedule? With the following tips, we reckon you’ll be able to make some time in no time!

1. Schedule Your Week

By using a planner to organise your week, you’ll be able to easily see where you have free time that could be used for practicing. Even if you find a few 20 minute slots, these could be ideal for focusing on your own playing.

You can do this by using a physical planner, or an online scheduling system - whichever you prefer!

2. Don't Run Before you Can Walk

Having a spare 30 minutes every day of the week doesn’t mean you have to use them all to practice. Why not start slowly by using these slots for practice 3 days of the week, and increase this over time if you wish?

It’s important to set realistic expectations for yourself, and suddenly practicing every day is unlikely to last long-term, as it’ll only create additional stress and pressure for you.

3. Don't Replace your Time to Relax

Just like anybody else, it’s important that you reserve time every day to relax and unwind...which doesn’t usually mean getting your instrument out! This could be reading a book, watching TV, or having a nice long bubble bath - anything that helps you chill out!

4. Cut out Wasting Time

Of course there any additional tasks throughout the day, separate from your teaching and individual practicing, that shouldn’t be ignored...but what about the constantly refreshing your emails, scrolling through Facebook, and the other distractions you encounter?

Recognising things that waste your valuable time, and making a conscious effort to stop doing these things, often frees up a surprisingly large amount of time for personal practice!

5. Practice Productively

Once you’ve found some time in your schedule, it’s important to acknowledge that it won’t be unlimited, so it’s important to use wisely.

These are tips you probably already share with your pupils, but remember to apply them to your own practice too!

  • Choose somewhere quiet without distractions (like your phone!)

  • Have everything you need to hand (sheet music, pencil, metronome)

  • Set goals before each session

  • Write a schedule for your practice session - just like your weekly schedule, this will help you prioritise tasks, cut the irrelevant bits, and be more productive!

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