Yes, it’s true, in everything new that we approach as a student, we are encouraged to “practice, practice, practice.” At iSchool of Music + Art, we believe the phrase “practice makes progress.” Sometimes, however, a students progress can be stunted for so many reasons. Be it a busy time in the school year, outside distractions or just lack of motivation, students can find themselves in a practice “funk,” where they lose the drive to keep on doing what they love!
It is important for students to take an occasional “break” from their instruments. With NYSSMA wrapping up and school activities gaining momentum, it is a busy time of school year for so many of iSchool’s students. Recitals and end-of-the-term shows are coming, so is it wise to take a break? We say, sure. Within reason, of course! Here’s how and why:
1) Taking a break from “practice” doesn’t mean it’s necessary to take a break from MUSIC. Students can listen to music of their own choice and enjoy! Take time to search up their favorite composer by reading a book about them or researching online.
2) Normally, breaks from an instrument aren’t encouraged for musicians as it could result in some loss of fine motor-control and stamina. That being said, short breaks can be beneficial for the long run for students. It can allow time for a student to reset their mind and eliminate poor-playing or bad habits. It can also encourage students to re-approach their instrument with more motivation than before.
3) Mentally practicing your music instead of picking up the instrument can also be hugely beneficial. This could mean a voice student reading through their lyrics in tempo with the music or an instrumentalist tapping out their music in tempo in lieu of singing or playing. This can aid the overall practice experience all the while “taking a break” from playing.
In sum, “break” time can be greatly productive and hugely beneficial to a musician and their growth. With sporadic and short “breaks” in the school calendar, we want to be clear. Long breaks of 1 week or more aren’t encouraged, but good news! Breaks could mean a variety of lengths. This could mean a student taking a few hours between their twice-a-day practice, or a student taking 1-2 days off in a given week. We hope that a light breather from constant practice or learning practice in different ways can help to replenish students minds and improve the long term practice experience. As stated, taking a break from practice shouldn’t mean a break from music. Music is LIFE! Does anyone take a break from life?
Written By: Allana Cobham, Manager of iSchool of Music + Art Syosset