Tell me if this sounds familiar. You suddenly realize that everything is quiet and you have 20 minutes all to yourself. Sure, you could sit down with a book and a cup of tea. Or you could spend that 20 minutes practicing. You decide your harp is calling you, so you sit on the bench and look at the music on your stand. But where do you start?
You may have had days like that. I know I have. Those 20 minute segments are valuable little chunks of practice time, but obviously that’s not enough time to get everything done. If you’re used to having an hour or more to practice, that 20 minutes is frustratingly short. Of course, I’m just using these time frames as an illustration. Your regular practice time and your available time might be different, but the idea is the same. When you don’t have as much practice time as you are used to, you have to find a way to make do with what you’ve got.
When we start to prioritize what needs to get done, the first thing we often jettison from our practice is our technique work. We eliminate a warm-up and use parts of the pieces we need to learn as a warm-up. That’s a smart idea. But dedicated technique work, the kind that covers all the basics and keeps our fingers nimble and strong, is usually put aside. When you have a lot of music to learn and very little time to learn it, who has time for drills and exercises?
With the holiday season beginning in earnest later this week, practice time will be “catch as catch can” for most of us. But even with this time crunch, I want to urge you not to abandon your technique work. At this time, your technique work is more critical than ever. Why? Because it will help your fingers - and you - relax and re-center. Our technique is our greatest tool. All our playing depends on it, and when our technique is in shape, we can play more confidently, knowing we can trust our fingers.
But wait, I hear you saying. How am I supposed to fit in my technique practice when I have no time? That’s exactly what I will share with you on this episode, 5 of my favorite super-speedy ways to keep my fingers in shape when I’m in the middle of a time crunch. Plus, I’ll help you understand the particular benefits of each routine so you can choose what feels right for you.
Links to things I think you might be interested in that were mentioned in the podcast episode:
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