Routine is something that human beings rely on, daily. In current times, I can only imagine that the need for a routine is more important than ever before for most people. However, I know that I have struggled to fall into a regular pattern in these conditions and reckon that others may be in the same boat. Being in a routine doesn’t mean doing the same every day; it’s more about structuring your day to fit your needs.
Find a sleeping pattern that works for you
The first suggestion I would make is to find a sleeping pattern that works for you and to try and stick to it. In these uncertain times, it may feel like normality is out of the window, but now is the time to create our version of normality and to focus on our basic needs. Going to sleep and waking up at roughly the same time each day will give you some stability in your routine. It will also mean that you can tailor the amount of sleep you get based on your body’s needs.
For current students, there has been a lot of change to their final term of the year. Although the change may be daunting to many of you, this is the perfect time to work on your craft. As we all know, assessments are swiftly approaching and having a practice plan is extremely valuable to your progression as an artist and student. I am going to give my tips and tricks about routines and effective practice.
Establish a practice routine
When I was studying at BIMM Institute, I set up my practice diary alongside my practice routine. It was a great way of mapping out my progress and reflecting on my progress. On average, it takes 21 days to build a new habit and this is what I built my routine around. If I could spend three weeks being super disciplined, then my new routine would become second nature before I knew it.
I have attached the template for my practice diary, which consists of warmups, exercises, reflection and research. These are all activities that will strengthen your practice and give you a better understanding of why and what you are practising.
Practising any instrument isn’t about working yourself into the ground. Self-awareness and compassion are key to an effective habit. If you are feeling tired or are in a negative mental state, then you won’t be as productive and may feedback into your mental state.
Remember to have rest days
Rest days are super important. This is your time to recharge and rest your instrument and body. When practising, I take time on difficult days to do some mindfulness or meditation to check in with how I’m feeling. If I’m not feeling up to it then I will take a rest day. It is completely your choice how many rest days you take. but I normally take between one and three depending on my mentality and vocal ability.
I also work to the three strikes and you’re out rule. I will try a technique or exercise three times and if I still can’t get it, I will leave it for the following practice. Exhausting yourself will do more damage and set you back for longer physically and mentally.
A practice routine template
The practice routine template that I have posted below was created for my practical exams at BIMM Institute Brighton, I found it extremely beneficial and you are more than welcome to utilise it as you wish. Remember that these are all suggestions if you don’t feel like you can stick to a routine or are struggling with today’s times. That is okay too! Lecturers, Student Support and mentors are all available to help and offer support during this time.
It’s important to remember that you’re never alone in these times. If you need support or advice during this lockdown – or you just want someone to talk to – our friendly and experienced Student Support Team is here to help. You can reach out via your college’s dedicated Student Support email or send us a DM across our social channels.