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Harrisonburg, Virginia, United States
Professor of Saxophone, James Madison University

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Stretch out with the Time Vulture

Many of my students complain that they don't have enough time to accomplish their daily practice goals.  My approach to this involves something called The Time Vulture.  Make a detailed schedule of your entire day, and look for potential dead time.  Then, descend and scavenge!

I recently had a student that was struggling to get through his assignments.  I challenged him to add 15 minutes to his usual 2 hour routine.  He was able to find that 15 minutes pretty easily, and used it to for additional scale practice.  In a single week, we both saw obvious results.

This only works if you are honest about what you do with your time, and make a real commitment to use that time every day.  How much open-ended time do we spend at the computer, texting, and watching television every day?  Even if a young student can stretch a 30 minute routine to 35 minutes, there will be measurable long-term benefits.

For perspective, a college student that increases their routine by 15 minutes, for just five days per week, will add over 17 hours of practice to a single semester . . .  Practice Monster SMASH!!!!

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