“You have been assigned this mountain to prove it can be moved!” -Mel Robins
Practicing is something that some people have no difficulty with while others do. I was one of those people who had major difficulty practicing because it was not something that I did on a regular basis as a child. I was not a disciplined young person. I read a lot in my room and yes, I would practice the piano (I was too afraid to sing as a child) but this was something that I found difficult to do regularly.
Once I became an adult I paid dearly for not having a regular practice time. Even though I was able to pass my classes and did relatively well, I never really knew what I could have done if I had really applied myself.
Now that I teach as well as perform, a regular practice time is something that I NEED to do every day because I see how my life benefits from the routine of giving my brain regular intervals of time to repeat an action.
I tell my students to practice every day for a certain amount of time. The key is not the time you practice (although that will determine how fast you develop) but rather the actual act of practicing.
I use to dread practice time but that is actually what makes the performance amazing. If you are reading this and thinking, I know this, but you still have difficulty practicing, then ‘you don’t know this’.
I went to university when I was in my late 20’s the first time, and then went back again and finally finished in my mid 40’s. I really was NOT a disciplined person. But I had the willingness to accept that I did not want to continue the way I was going, disorganized, uncertain and doubting myself all the time; so, I changed.
I do with my students who tell me they have difficulty establishing a regular practice time, the same thing I did; start small.
I prepare 12-minute exercises for my students and remind them that they can use those 12-minutes at any time of the day to work their instrument. Once they have done the exercises and they have sung their song a few times (an additional 10 minutes), they can then choose to go on or not; and we build from there. I have heard people say that practicing is like walking through a blizzard or trying to swim against the current. But no matter what analogy they come up with, they still have to do it.
If you are a disciplined person and this blog makes absolutely no sense to you, feel free to stop reading, but if this resonates with you and you are frustrated with your behaviour, there is more than hope for you. You have everything that you need to succeed and make your practice time enjoyable as well as productive. The practicing is not the problem, it is the feelings that overtake you and turns into “I’ll never sound good” or “I’m tired” or “I think I’ll wash the dishes now” to name a few excuses. The feelings are what you are working through and no one can work through those feelings but YOU. You can do it! Yes, it is uncomfortable but you can do it! You have the talent inside of you waiting to develop. Practicing will make practicing become easier and easier as you move forward and after a while, you will want to practice because you will see how much better you sound.
Your brain is amazing! Approximately every 90 days your brain does an update and new neuropathways that have been developing will be used more often, and the old neuropathways that are not being used as frequently will have less influence on you. YOU can do this.
Until we have the technology like the Matrix where Neo inserts a device directly into his brain and then in less than 30 seconds, is programed to perfectly and flawlessly execute King Fu, we are ALL going to have to continue to practice our instruments. And know that if you choose to go past yourself and work through the overwhelming feelings, YOU will be allowing yourself to see what you are truly made of and the audiences listening and experiencing your performances, will LOVE you for it! Go ahead and move that mountain, you can do it!
Keep on Singing,
The Confidence Booster