Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Help Available for Plate-Spinners!

It has been my experience in working with students of all ages, that we have become a culture of plate-spinners.  Whether it is participating in several after-school activities or getting members of one’s family from said place-to-place, there seems to be too many activities and not enough time.  Students get overwhelmed, skim over their assignments (without looking at the assignment sheet), and come with very little accomplished from the previous lesson.  Never fear – help is here for the “music plate!” Once you have the music plate spinning smoothly and efficiently, you may find that you can apply the same principle to the other plates in your life.
  • Look at your assignment sheet.  Make sure the goals for the week are prioritized.  If you and your teacher did not do this at lesson, do it now.  What is item one   that one thing you want to make sure you accomplish this week?

  • Go the item one. Take the tool from your practice tool box that will help you most. Maybe it is focused hands-alone playing of a small section 7-10 times accurately. Perhaps it is time to put the section hands-together, which requires super-slow practice in tiny tidbits. Look at previous blog posts for more ideas if the practice strategy isn’t listed on your assignment sheet. 

  • With focused attention, work on item one for a large chunk of your practice time on Days 1-3. If you are honest with yourself, you will know when you are devoting the appropriate amount of time!

  • By Day 4, item one should be more readily under control, taking up less of your focus and requiring much less of your practice time.

  • Take the extra time now available from having accomplished item one, and apply it to the next item on your assignment sheet (priority list).

See?  It is really that systematically simple:  Do one thing, do it well, and move on to the next thing.  The research is in…multi-tasking is not a thing; it doesn’t work.  It simply fragments the mind, sends anxiety through the roof, and results in ever-diminishing mastery of whatever tasks are at hand.

With diligent application of these steps, your plate spinning will become smooth and efficient.  You will find yourself enjoying the array of creative orbs filling your life in a harmonious flow.