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Tips for Nourishing Practice

• First, find a quiet, uncluttered space, with minimal distractions.

• Unpack slowly and with care. Prepare both your instrument and yourself for a good practice session.

• Take a couple of deep breaths, and relax any areas of obvious tension in your body. Notice the sounds and sights in the space you’re in, and the sound of your own breath. Quieting your body and mind doesn’t mean you can’t feel energized. In fact, this process allows for quicker and more direct access to the physical and mental energy you’ll need for practicing.

• Reflect on the music you’re preparing, where you are with it, and how you’d like to focus your practice session.

• When you begin to play, start with your observations. How does your body feel? What is the sound like? What is it like when you try something different? If what you notice frustrates you, that’s ok. Take it as a sign that you are invested in what you’re doing, and be gentle with yourself.

• Especially during longer practice sessions, or if you’re new to playing, it’s very important to take frequent breaks. When your body or mind needs a rest, take a brief stretch, or a quick stroll around the room. Make a cup of tea, look out the window. When you return to practicing, ask yourself what you’d like to do next.

• When questions arise that you can’t resolve on your own, bring them up with your teacher. The more curious, engaged, and communicative you are as a student, the more your teacher can help you become the musician you want to be.