1. Tuning in
Warming up: deciding in your mind, plan it out, stay silent, be present
Practice itself is not enough, it is important to practice well, one of the essential conditions for this is our physical and mental attunement. This means that we have to get both our bodies and minds ready for it. Let’s move our whole body if we can (if there is time for it), or only our fingers if time is short (the body parts with which we are about to play music).
We could also do some neck circles to improve the brain’s blood flow.
After this we do breathing exercises - let’s not think of anything big, it is enough if we slow down our breathing a bit and start to pay attention inward and calm our minds.
Like this we can achieve a state, which does not allow any stray thoughts to divert us - we can stay focused all the way.
Even before starting, let’s think through what we are about to do. For example, as a pianist, today I will practice the major and minor scales up to two flats and two sharps with alternating hands, and then together up and down through two octaves, etc.
If we do this, then the practice will become smoother - we know what we are supposed to do, we won’t need to solve it while in the middle of it, instead we can keep an eye on ourselves, on the way of how we play.
We should breathe naturally during practice. Pay attention to the correct posture, stay firm, know what we are doing and for what reason - if we see that something is not working, then we should recognize that and shape the practice in a way so that the part we struggled with gets its own chapter, when we focus only on that.
If something really does not want to work out, then it might indicate that we were trying to take a way too big of a step. In such cases we have to move backwards a bit (as much as needed) and like this we’ll manage to find out what might have hindered our progress.
It might be worth viewing our progress from the point of view of an outsider. Getting stuck should not become a personal grievance. We should not stress about our own shortcomings, but rather find their reasons, so we can work on them.
We should always take small steps, should not want to play Für Elise right after two weeks. Small and traceable milestones are more visible and achievable, they provide us with a sense of success, give us strength and motivate us when it comes to regular practice. After finishing we should not jump up straightaway from our instrument, instead let’s smile since we have worked on ourselves today, and that is commendable.