Building practice time into a busy schedule
I have been trying to build practice time into a busy schedule during the last 9 months that I have been working remotely from home. I wanted to ask if anyone had any ideas or suggestions.
While considering work/life balance - and keeping a seperation between the two - I decided to move my desk out of my bedroom and into my living room space. That move paid immediate dividends. But then I stepped back and thought there is another way to look at this: perhaps since work is part of life, I should also be thinking of work/life integration. Hence, I have been scheduling outside work activities on my work calendar as a way of holding myself accountable. Curious what you think and what has worked for you.
My home office is in the basement. It's in a basement bedroom that's very comfortable. My violin and viola are also here so it's also my practice studio. When I renovated it I put a lot of insulation in the walls and ceiling. The only downside is that the ceiling is 7 feet so I have to practice sitting down otherwise I'll break the tip plate on my bow (broke two before switching to seated practice).
If you've got a safe and private workspace, keep the case open and the violin out throughout the day, so you can pick it up when you have a couple minutes here and there. If you've got spots to drill, that works pretty well -- do a couple of bars for two to five minutes, work out a technical problem.
I practice in my dining room. It's a large space with wonderful acoustics. I keep my violin nearby always so if I have a sudden idea or looked up something on violinist.com I can quickly go a practice it. While I don't have a job, I am a student so I have other responsibilities. I normally set goals for that day (like, today I am going to practice E scales, Kreutzer etude, and Bach in the morning and in the afternoon I'm going to work on my concertos.) One things that helps to give more time is knowing beforehand what your goals are for that day and getting right into accomplishing them. Good luck!
Since I'm full time remote and live alone, I try to practice when I have a free 30 minutes from work (like, really free, not just some downtime waiting for some process or another to finish). Mental health is a priority where I work (plus it's in the music industry) so taking 30 minutes to practice when you need a break from work is actively encouraged by management.
It might be worth pre-planning different things you can work on in 5 minute chunks (like "I'm going to do this scale", or "work on this passage at this tempo"), that way you don't have to think about it in the moment
Thanks everyone for those great suggestions. Very helpful.
For a working pro, or a serious student wanting to be a pro, it is more a question of priorities. Practice is the #1 priority. It is hard to say No to everything else, and others may not appreciate why you would rather "play" violin than do xyz. Apocryphal story: A pro-level violinist would get up in the morning, get dressed, get in the car, drive around the block, go in the back door of his separate studio, and practice, without the distraction of a telephone.
I recommend about the same as Lydia:
Lots of good ideas above, including brief practice spurts. Here's an idea for turning that brief spurt into a daily routine.