I used to think that making New Years Resolutions was a silly thing to do.
SPOILER: I still do.
Why don't we just make goals and stick with them? I truly believe that there's too much pressure related to a resolution because you have to complete that activity or eat the same way all day every day. Shouldn't a change in your lifestyle be gradual - one good choice here, one healthy meal here, one cheat meal there? Why not?! That is SO. easy.
I feel the same way about practicing. I have a hard time making myself do things but that doesn't mean I'm going to force myself to practice 5 hours every single day - I know I should practice as much as possible, but a girl's gotta work to make money for food, rent, etc. I noticed during the previous semester that I would make excuses about all of these things and would avoid practicing. Somehow I still improved my playing, but not as much as I wanted. Reflecting on the semester made me realize that I've done this for literally as long as I can remember... and that was not a good feeling.
I sat down on my couch and felt sorry for myself. My conscience, having great timing as usual, kicked into high gear and told me "Stop feeling sorry for yourself. You're literally the only thing preventing your progress. Stop blaming other people for this because it's YOUR FAULT. DO BETTER."
The #100daysofpractice challenge immediately popped into my head. I knew I needed to do it, but how could I ever accomplish something like that? 100 days?! A Strings Magazine interview with Hilary Hahn convinced me otherwise. Ms. Hahn is one of the best violinists of our time, maybe one of the best ever. She created the 100 Days of Practice challenge even though it wasn't really a challenge for her. She wanted to share her creative process!
Obviously I watched the videos she posted on her Instagram (@violincase). I was awestruck by her attention to detail and musicianship, my hair was basically blown straight back. I even cried a little.
One of her quotes from this article reads:
"It didn’t occur to me that [the project] would help people feel empowered about their own practice situations.”
To see a professional musician practice is humanizing - you realize that they practice, just like you. just like your friends. just like your teacher. They're not so different from us! These professionals that we idolize every day were once at our level. Read it again: they. were. once. at. our. level.
I felt hungry (read: inspired, empowered, starving) for improvement, a routine, more musicality, to be better. The list goes on an on. Trust me. While I won't be practicing for a monumental Bach tour and recording a CD, I am practicing for my degree recital.
Most importantly, I'm practicing for me.
In the days preceding 2019, I've already started practicing more consistently - at least two sessions per day, every day. Yesterday (January 1) was the first official day of my #100daysofpractice. You can keep up with my progress by following my Instagram account, @morganfrederickflute. Really original handle, huh?
Scales, long tones, exercises, etudes, audition repertoire, recital repertoire, orchestral excerpts.
YOU NAME IT, IT'S HAPPENING.
I've even created my own tracking chart, which you can download for free from the home page of my website!
If you've stuck with me this far, thanks for reading. I would love to hear any questions, comments, thoughts, or common experiences. Be sure to keep up with me throughout this journey!
Hey there! I'm Morgan, a flutist and educator, who is ready to help beginning and intermediate flute students of all ages CRUSH their performance anxiety and reach their musical goals!