Updated: Aug 26, 2019
When I tell people I only practice two hours a day, they stare at me like I am mad.
Because thats not enough, right?
When I tell people I play the cello just because it is fun, they also stare at me like I am mad.
Because if you are not an unhappy artist who works at least 12 hours a day while striving to be the best in world, you will never succeed right?
And if you never succeed, you will never be happy, right?
I believe differently.
Some years ago I was at a summer course and the cello teacher there asked the cello students:
“How do you feel after practicing? Do you feel good?”
We all shook our heads, none of us felt that way.
“When I practice”, he continued, “I always feel better afterwards”.
And in my head I was like: “Yeah right”. Because that was far from the truth. At least for me.
I usually felt exhausted after practicing. My back hurt, my arms were sore, my head was tired and if I was not happy with the way I played, my mood would be very bad.
How come the cello teacher always felt better after practicing and I always felt worse? What did he do that I did not do? What was the difference? And most importantly: How could I learn to do the same?
Fast forward a few years.
Now, I always feel better after practice.
I feel happy, content, my body feels good (might be tired, but in a good way) and my mood is a lot better.
What has changed?
Well, the only thing I did was to change my technique. And by technique I mean the way I play and practice my cello.
I changed the way I use my BODY while playing.
Have you ever heard the phrase: “You just have to practice some more?”
Most of us believe that if we only practice ENOUGH, then we will succeed. If we don't perform as good as we want to, we punish ourselves with more practicing.
We strive to practice as much as humanly possible and then compare ourselves to others.
I used to be proud whenever I was the first to arrive at school to practice. And I was proud when I was the last to leave.
However, after changing my technique I am able to practice as little as two hours each day, and still make a lot of progress every day.
And the bonus?
I get to have a life as well.
The amount of practice you do has nothing to do with the results you get. It has everything to do with HOW you practice and how consciously you use your body when you practice. Most of us dont even realize that it is the body doing all of the work. We believe its all in the head.
So how did I do it?
1. I learned to use my body correctly while playing, using Timani. (Read more here: www.timani.no)
2. When I am tired, I STOP practicing and go and rest or do something else.
3. I don't discipline myself into practicing. I practice only when I want to or choose to.
4. Less is more. I usually never practice more than two hours a day. But I practice very consciously, slowly and efficiently.
5. I give myself permission to play exactly as I play that day. I don't beat myself up if it does not sound as good as I want it to.
6. I make sure I remember that this is something I have chosen to do because I enjoy it, not something that I have to do.
Hope this can be an inspiration for you to find your practice routine that will make you both happy and an amazing musician.