From time to time, we all have to jump over, or at least avoid, small and large hurdles in our lives. These Life Hurdles can also effect our musical lives.
Hurdles are those things that we have to jump over, go around, or plow through to maintain our life rhythm. We all have to jump over, or at least try to avoid these hurdles in our lives. These hurdles also affect our musical life. They simply get in the way of our plans.
Here are some big hurdles that are very obvious. Injury to yourself or a family member, sickness, hospitalization, births, deaths, major auto accidents, divorce, marriage, and other big items. Try to add your own big hurdles to this list. These are events that make you stop what you are doing and be in the moment .
Then there are the minor hurdles which are many. Just every day inconveniences that slow us down. They could include: an argument with a spouse or work mate, a flat tire or some other auto related minor incident, slow service in a restaurant or other place of business that makes you late, looking for your keys or glasses, minor depression, laziness, a minor problem with your instrument, terrible traffic and the list goes on and on, every single day.
How do we cope?
The smallest hurdles can be ignored while our practice routines continue, whereas navigating the larger hurdles may take some time, attention and effort before returning to our normal routines.
After a major hurdle, if we are still inclined to play music, we have to build up our “chops” (i.e. embouchure, bowing technique, the ability to see and hear the music, or whatever your particular instrument or voice requires.)
The first thing to do, to get back in performance shape, is to start practicing on a regular basis.
If we are upset or depressed, practicing will make us fell better, since the act of playing music puts our attention outside of ourselves. This helps us take our mind off our dilemma.
It's time to gain our strength back, co-ordinate our fingers with what we see on the page or in our mind, and learn to listen at 100% commitment again.
Start slow, be easy on yourself, take plenty of breaks, start with a few minutes and increase your time on a daily basis.
As your physical and/or mental strength improves, your practicing will tend to improve at the same rate.
Revisit some pieces in your repertoire, look at some new music that you have been thinking about approaching, and just try and settle in to a routine that may or may not have eluded you.
The important thing is that you try to miss as few days as possible in re-establishing the practice habit, to the point where you meet your normal practice commitment or even increase it.
As usual, it is best if we can maintain our normal practice start times, or, if needed to accommodate a life style change, set a time that is repeatable on a daily basis.
I have often contended that it is not how much time we practice, but that we do it on a regular basis with a commitment to concentration.
It is easy to be charmed by music, (or by the puzzle of music), which creates the desire to spend more time rather than less time practicing.
When you encounter a hurdle, make sure you recognize it . Recognizing the big hurdles is easy, while becoming aware of the little hurdles can be more vexing to find and correct.
Pay attention to your hurdles.