Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Big Push to the End...

Many of you reading this are in the last few weeks of the university semester, are just coming off March Break, are in the middle of university auditions or are ramping up for the local music festival. It is easy at this time of year, despite the promise of spring, to get bogged down and overwhelmed (even keep up with this blog!). It is when we are hitting the panic button that we are least productive. Here are a few ideas that get me back on track and focused:

1. Stay on Message. Just like the Canadian government right now, we flounder when we lose track of our goals and responsibilities. Take a few minutes to remind yourself what your general technical singing goals are and how you are working on them on a daily basis and applying them to your repertoire.

2. Check in on Repertoire. It is easy to forget the little details of a song you haven't sung through in a few weeks or a month. In preparation for your jury, audition, upcoming festival, etc. make a list of each song and create a practice log (or log into your Music Teachers' Helper website) so that you are reminded each day to do a run-through of all your songs. Then pick one or two songs to spend some detailed work time. Rotate through the songs during your practice week and you will find that by the end of a week (or two depending on how long your list is!) you have will sung everything each day!

3. Review your Notes. I encourage each of my students to keep a log book where they can transcribe the highlights of their lesson recording. I usually encourage them to write the various technical exercises and any notes associated with these exercises in addition to various notes on the particular repertoire they were working on that day. Go back and review this journal/log to make sure you are on track with your goals and you have the little details in the fore-front of your mind. This log is a great resource not just during the year but in the future!

4. Go Take a Hike. When we are the most stressed or tired, getting 8 hours of sleep and a good workout can explode your energy and therefore your productivity!

5. Dump Your Brain. Many business and life coaches use this as a jumping-off point for getting started on planning and goal setting. Sit down with a blank piece of paper and write out a list of all the things you need to do in your life. Go through the list and start to prioritize. Put a to-date on the things that are important and dump the rest. This clears the brain and helps us to see what is important and what is just brain filler or a distraction.

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