The ideal time to practice violin. Well, it’s right now. You can practice for a few minutes instead of reading this article. When you get back to this article later, again, read those last two sentences.
Okay, if you broke that loop and landed on this next paragraph, you’re probably looking to create some sort of discipline and commitment for your practice. Good for you. If you create a schedule and stick to it, there’s definitely more chances of succeeding. Especially if you’re a self learner. But you already know what anyone would say to this – “There is no ideal time. It’s specific to you and your lifestyle.”. So let me not say that same thing. If you don’t want to think about anything else and just want someone to tell you an ideal time for practice so that you can begin somewhere, let me tell you. The ideal time for practice is early in the morning. Get up, brush your teeth, drink a big glass of water, clear your bowels, eat a snack (or a quick breakfast) then do your practice. There you go. You have your input – now go create a commitment and stick with it.
You’re still reading? Are you sure you’re not procrastinating by reading internet articles instead of practicing? Okay, if so, then the early morning thing isn’t probably working for you. Or you wonder whether it will. In that case we only come back to the most common answer to this – only you can decide the ideal practice time for you. But what I can do is to give you some pointers to decide on your practice time.
Your Energy Pattern
Some people are full of energy when they wake up, get tired through the day and go to sleep exhausted of that energy. Some people hate to wake up, feel lazy and uncommitted in the morning but they turn productive as the day progresses and get exhausted by the end of the day. Yet others are slow and groggy when the sun is up, but late at night, after everyone else is asleep, their engine starts running at full throttle. So what’s your deal? When do you feel most productive? It’s good to keep your violin practice at this time. At least when you are just beginning and playing the violin itself hasn’t become a rewarding pastime yet.
Do you have a 9 to 5? Going to work or school? Almost everyone has to reserve about 8 hours for their main gig. If you don’t great, your practice time can be anywhere. But if you do, what I find good is keep your practice time a bit far from that 8 hour block. For example if you need to start to work at 8 AM, and you wish to keep your practice in the morning, do it at 6 o clock rather than at 7 o clock. If you get back home at 6 PM in the evening, and wish to practice in the evening, keep your practice at 8 PM rather than 7 PM. If violin playing is your full time pursuit, then you should be looking beyond all this – make violin practice your 8 hour main jig and plan other things around it.
Take a realistic look at how important violin playing is to you. Are you pursuing it as a career? Are you playing to improve your personality? Are you playing to impress someone? Assign the time accordingly. If your office work is your most important thing in your mind, playing violin after you finish work is better. You will feel more relaxed and focus better. If you still want to practice in the morning despite your day job or school being most important to you, device some sort of wrap-up mechanism to free your mind. For example, at the end of the day, make a concrete list of things you have to do at work tomorrow. That way, in the morning when you are about to practice, your mind is not occupied with thoughts about work – you already have those jotted down.
Finally, Make it a Habit
By “making it a habit” what I mean is build it into your routine rather than assigning it a fixed time on the clock. For example “I will practice after I eat my breakfast” or “I will practice before I go to bed”. Rather than “I will practice at 6 PM”. If you do this, it will be easier to build as a habit because that’s how our minds are wired to think of habits. Something that follows (or precedes) some other already established habit. Always chain your habits. That way you don’t have to rely on motivation or will power for your practice. It becomes just another habit in your daily life.