In this monthly series, I detail my methods and philosophies for effective and enjoyable practice – both in and outside of music. If I went back and told 21-year-old me that in 10 years she’d self-identify as a “Practice Coach,” it’d probably end with us trying to kill each other, Looper-style.
For a long time, I absolutely hated practicing and considered myself to be pretty bad at it. The idea of building a career around would have seemed completely preposterous.
Now, I realize that the problem wasn’t practice itself – it was that I didn’t have the first clue how to practice, in addition to having some deeply flawed assumptions about its purpose and function.
While I hope to eventually develop a one-on-one consulting service that is distinct from my bass lessons, my being a practice coach takes different forms – bassist, bandleader, instructor, instructional designer, etc. To guide my current and future professional projects, here is a brief statement of my philosophies, what a term a “Practice Coach Manifesto.”
- Practice makes better, not perfect
- Practicing for perfection usually leads to frustration and discouragement
- Getting better at something does not obligate you to become the very best at it
- Not everyone has the time or inclination to devote 10,000 hours to something – and that’s ok
- You can still make progress by practicing something for 5 minutes a day
- Practice requires action to avoid passivity, move toward a goal, and have something to correct or adjust
- Practice requires learning to build understanding, establish connections, and solve problems
- Practice requires focus to sift through information overload, be aware of your own actions, and collaborate with others
- Developing a regular musical practice makes it easier to form other good habits – such as getting more sleep, improving your diet, or exercising regularly
- Forming good habits – such as getting more sleep, improving your diet, or exercising regularly – makes it easier to maintain a regular music practice