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When we commit our time and energy to the saxophone, we want to have fun, and we want to make sure we get the most out of each practice session. It's true, the faster we progress, the more fun we’ll have.
However, there’s one thing that can erase past practice sessions; it's like the time we spent never occurred. No need to worry though, because there’s always a way to fix any issue.
In this post, I’ll share the 1 thing you can do to get the most out of every session and not lose the benefits of past sessions.
Let’s imagine you're learning to ice skate, and you’re having a difficult time. You're so nervous, you won’t let go of the side rail. When you do, you quickly fall down.
Let’s say this happens for 3 days in a row. However, on the 4th day you don’t fall, but continue your forward movement until you stop. You’ve succeeded more than you ever have before. It’s a success!
The Next Step
What would be the next step? Would you think, “I’ve got it now, so no need to go back tomorrow!” Of course not. You would recognize that you made some progress and that you need to continue on.
What would happen if you didn’t try again for a month? You may go back to square one. When you return, it may take you three days to get where you were before.
The 1 Thing
From this example, can you see how the three first sessions would be lost? If you came back on day 5, you would continue to progress. If you waited a month, you would regress and possibly revert back to day 1.
That’s lost time and energy. The key to progression (and not losing past practice sessions) is consistency. This is the 1 thing you need to know.
A huge part of skating, and the saxophone, is muscle memory. The more consistent you are with practicing, the faster you’ll progress. If you take multiple days off, you’ll regress.
This is how muscles work. They are either getting stronger or weaker; they don’t stay in one place. This is the same with the saxophone. You’re either getting better, or your losing skills. This is why consistency is so important.
Progression & Fun
I want you to understand that if you can’t practice 7 days a week, that’s understandable. Practicing every day will provide the most benefits, but I understand this may not be possible for everyone. Besides, progression is only part of why we play. We also are having fun, just learning to play.
For beginners, I suggest 30 minutes a day for practice sessions. If your schedule is busy you may be tempted to add up 30x7 (3.5 hours) and practice the whole week in one day.
This is not as effective as daily practice for 30 minutes, and it leads to getting burned out. We don’t the saxophone to become a chore.
First of all, do as much as you can each week. If your schedule only allows 2 days to practice, then practice those two days. If you feel you can get 5-6 days, even better.
Be honest with yourself and set goals. Write down your practice sessions at the beginning of the week so you know when you will be practicing. Treat that time like a class.
5 Minute Sessions
If you have committed to six 30 minute practice sessions in a week, and one day you only have 5 minutes to practice, don’t skip that day. You’ll progress faster if you play for 5 minutes rather than skip the day completely.
In fact, you would progress faster if you played 5 minutes a day (35 minutes in the week) then a one 1 hour session, once a week.
From the section above, I hope I am effectively communicating that we are impacted by consistency more than total time spent. When you’re tempted not to practice one day, just spend a few minutes so you’re progressing rather than not.
Be flexible but honest with your practice schedule. As you do this, you'll progress faster and have more fun. Anytime we progress in any part of life, there’s satisfaction associated with it. This is the same with the saxophone.
What helps you stay consistent with your practice sessions? How has consistency affected your playing? We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below. Have fun playing!
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