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To do lists - Friday Practice Tip

I feel like I need to footnote all of my thoughts about practicing. Why? Because I have been shaped by amazing teachers who poured their expertise, wisdom, love and insight into my life and music. This idea of having to do lists when you practice is no exception. My teacher at Maryland (, Bradford Gowen, gave me this idea and it has served me and my students so well.

And so, yes - make to do lists for your practice sessions. And then, check off the things that you have worked on. It will give you a real sense of accomplishment. You can look back and see all of the areas that were improved upon. You need positive re-inforcement in your practicing. By the way, this isn't faux-psycho jargon. I'll talk about why you need positive outcomes in your practicing in each session in another post and why these outcomes are essential to developing a healthy pyschological approach to music making.

Have your lists short, precise and focused. The list needs to be JTRA (Just The Right Amount). My lists, at max, include 3 things for each practice session. Here's an example:

1. Master and polish articulation on page one

2. Transition material between A and B theme

3. Energetic coda

When we work on the little things in a piece, the entire piece gets better! Over time, momentum gathers and the piece comes together.

I hope this helps encourage you. Happy practicing!

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