Note to adult self: don't forget to practice!

Almost 3 years to the day and I'm back! I hadn't forgotten about my favorite little violin website. It has been on the back of my mind for years, but life happens. In my case one baby was born, 1 move, 2 of my kids had serious hospital visits and ambulance rides followed by many doctor appointments and time consuming treatments (not to mention PTSD for their mother), a busy husband in training, and of course every day life of dirty dishes and dealing with meltdowns...oh and I almost forgot, another baby is on the way. Yep, I am a lover of classical music, a darn good violinist, a creative music teacher with an elementary ed degree, but above all I am a wife and a mother! So, priorities had to be set and time carefully counted out each day, but I truly did miss working on this website and writing about something I love so much, the violin. It is very self fulfilling to express myself and create something that I hope will help others. And in the very least it helps me to continue my own musical knowledge as I research ideas and topics. So, here I am! I make no promises to myself or to you my readers about how often it will be updated (fingers crossed that it's more often than not), but today I am here! Ha ha victory. Take that dirty laundry and long to-do lists, I'm carving out time for myself! 

Speaking of carving out time. How does a busy adult set aside enough time to keep up on their musical talents? Let's face it, it gets harder and harder to pull out the ol' violin, cello, trumpet or whatever your instrument is to practice. Anyone else feel that way? And yet as the days, weeks, months, or perhaps even years (aghhh) go by and your abilities become stiff and rusty you feel added guilt, remorse, and heartbreak about what once was. Well, I am here to tell you that it is not too late. Begin this week and pick up your instrument. Here's how I have kept up on my violin playing over the years even though my life has been crazy. 

1. Determine an amount of time each week (not each day) that you feel is doable. Right now, I have set a goal of 2 hours a week. Sigh, it used to be 2 hours a day. But I feel like 2 hours a week is a good goal for me because it is atleast enough to keep up on my skills and still lends enough time to learning a new song or preparing a piece for performance. But it doesn't overwhelm me. I say plan for the week not day because you will have days when you simply have no time for practicing. It is a fact of life that we are busy; a romantic day trip with your husband (that does still happen to people sometimes right?), a business trip, piles of laundry, chaperoning a field trip with your kid's school, dentist appointments, tax season, a sick baby, you get the idea. So planning for the week takes the pressure of those hard busy days. Some weeks I"ll practice twice for an hour each. Other weeks, it's twenty minutes a day for 6 days, other weeks it's 45 minutes one day 30 minutes two days later and 45 minutes again on Saturday. You get the idea. I love it because I am not so hard and down on myself when I miss a day. It works. You can do it! 

2. Buy a practice mute. I talk about this on my website, but it is worth saying again. My practice mute has helped me to still be able to practice even when we have lived in little apartments, my husband is studying, it is early morning or late at night, or I have napping kids. Say hello to a practice mute and goodbye to excuses! 

3. Get a teacher. About 2 years ago I was feeling depressed that my violin skills weren't improving anymore. I found an awesome online teacher that I could skype lessons with twice a month from my very own home. She is fantastic. In fact here is her website, my gift to all of you . She has a sidebar box that talks about her skyping option. She is a teacher to all levels beginner through advanced even professional. I can't say enough about this wonderful lady. Or if it works out for you, find a teacher near you. Don't be afraid to be honest and upfront about how many times you can have a lesson and what your busy schedule is like and how much you will be able to practice. But don't forget to also express your passion and desire to learn the violin, most teachers will be understanding and want to help you continue your violin progress no matter your time commitment. 

4. Find a new piece to learn. This has been one thing that keeps me going. When I feel like my practicing is going downhill, I order a new piece. Learning a new piece pumps life back into my practicing routine and makes me excited to get my violin out. 

5. Find somewhere and sometime to perform your violin. Recently I called up the assisted senior living center near me and begged for them to let me come play for an hour during their lunch time. I sat in the corner while they ate and I played and played and played. It felt so good to play for such an appreciative, darling, non-intimidating audience. Plus it gave me incentive beforehand to brush up on some old pieces and dig out some new ones. 

Sorry, this post exploded to be longer than planned, but man is it good to be back! Happy practicing, I'm off to do the same before it's time to taxi the little darlings home from school.