What’s the number 1 issue that keeps students from progressing on the saxophone? The answer may surprise you, but after a moment of contemplation I’m sure you’ll understand.
Finding time to practice. This is what many students struggle with the most, and believe it or not it’s a juggling act for many professionals too.
You’re Not Alone
One reason for this post is to help you understand that if you face this problem you’re not alone. Many people have faced this issue before and gained control over the situation. Here’s how you can fix this problem too.
Look to The Past
I’ve already written a couple posts on how to be consistent with your practice sessions, so if you haven’t read them (or need a review) just click on the following links. They’ll help you get on the right track.
There are 2 additional keys I would like to discuss to get you on the track to success.
The 1st Key
The 1st key is to set a realistic goal for how often and how long you want to practice. Sometimes a student can be so excited to succeed that they set an unrealistic goal. Then, they feel bad when they don’t reach that goal. You shouldn’t feel bad when playing saxophone, and if you set an unrealistic goal at the beginning, you may be setting yourself up for failure before you even play a note.
Here’s what I suggest- set a goal that you feel confident you can reach the very first time in regards to the following:
- How many days in the week do you want to practice?
- How long each session should be?
Remember, you can make adjustments at the end of the week. You’re not locked in forever.
Key #2- A Unique Suggestion That Might Just Work
This idea may not work for some of you but for others it may be exactly the suggestion you need. Here it goes. Playing the saxophone is something you really want to do, but it’s not the most important thing in your life. It may not even be at the top of your list of “things to do”. That’s OK. My suggestion is to move it to the top of your list even though other items are more important. Let me explain.
Here are a list of things that might be on your “things to do” list when you come home from work or school:
- Grocery shopping
- Cooking dinner
- Cleaning house
- Drive the kids around to different activities
- Participate in additional activities
For those of you who have plenty of time and can easily fit in a practice session, then go for it. If you look at the list above, see your life, and think, “How in the world can I find time to practice?”, then I have this suggestion.
Do your practicing first. Why? Because you have control over how long a practice session will be (all the other items on the list usually don’t have an exact ending time). If you do all the other activities first, will you get to the saxophone? Probably not. If you practice first (for 10-15 minutes) you’ll not only get your practice time in everyday (by the way, a huge key for success) but you’ll probably finish your list about the same time anyway.
Does It Make Sense?
To restate what I mean:
- Set an amount of time you know you can accomplish for each practice session
- Practice first. It won’t make your day any longer if you practice first, but you will succeed.
Whatever your schedule looks like there is a way to make it work. Take baby steps that are consistent and you’ll be on your way to playing the saxophone the way you want to play.
Give it a Try
Even if key #2 sounds crazy, give it a try for a week. If it works, awesome! If it doesn’t, you can always change your approach at the end of the week. I would love to hear how it works out for you. Please share in the comment section. In addition if you think this post can help others please share it with your friends.
What practicing approach works for you? I’m sure other saxophonists would love to hear what works for you. I would too!