Let’s face it. Technology is part of our daily lives – from smartphones, laptops, voice recognition systems, streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime), and the list just keeps growing with more innovative ideas from tech-savvy geniuses.
There is no question that society is more distracted than the past decade. I suffer from this problem. I constantly check my phone for any messages, notifications, and to be informed of current events or watching too many puppies videoes.
With these distractions, it cuts my practice time in half. This can cause an issue with my profession.
How do I practice with all of these distractions??
This is where organization and creativity come in.
- Set a time table – Try to write out a schedule of how much practice time you need to get in.An example:
15 mins -long tones/harmonics
15-20 mins -T&G/Trevor Wye Articulation/Moyse Long tone book
20-30mins – Anderson Etude/Berbiger Etue
30-40 mins – Concert/Gig rep
- Turn off your notifications on your smart devices – Unless you are waiting for someone who may be in a dying crisis, there is no need for you to receive notifications. You can check after your practice time.
- Record yourself on your smart device – One of the great features of today’s technology is recording anything at any time with a push of your finger. I record myself to see how my posture is and analyze my performance. Sometimes the sound on some smart devices is shot. Nevertheless, looking at yourself can help you assess what needs to change in your stage presence.
- Play along with recordings – I might be scolded for this tip, but I always like to play along with recordings to train my ear. It’s hard to be away from ensembles in a long period of time, but I find it helpful to play along with ensemble recordings and adjust my tuning with certain passages. Just make sure you know your part inside and out before playing along with a recording.
5.Take some lessons, via Skype – More and more professional musicians are investing their services to live video chat. Artists, such as Nina Perlove, Joanna Tse, and the faculty from Flutistry, use Skype or other video calling services to teach anyone around the globe! If you can’t travel to a major city to get lessons, online lessons may be your best bet.
6. Shut off your devices/find a space – This tip contradicts the tips above, but if you still struggle being around technology, shut them off. If you need to track time, buy a watch and track your minutes with a notebook. It is also important to find a space where you won’t be distracted not only by technology but also by people. If you are serious about becoming a performer, you must commit yourself to time and focus.
Today’s social media has connected musicians from all over the globe. I find flutists from different countries perform with each other by creating videos and meshing them together. Back in 2011, YouTube created the “YouTube Symphony” – gathering musicians from all over the globe and creating a new innovative idea of networking with other artists.
Who knows what other ideas have in store for artist collaboration in the new age of media, but always remember that you must focus your time and energy to your art form. Take breaks from practicing to prevent injuries and socialize with others to keep your mental health in check.