THE 8 STAGES OF PRACTICING YOUR INSTRUMENT

  1. The pre-practice struggle to actually go practice
    It would be misleading if not irresponsible to just assume the musician's day starts off in the practice room. Usually, the day begins sadly coping with how much you didn't practice yesterday paired with the undying temptation to sate this sadness with a few hours of self-loathing and Netflix. This daily indecision usually gives us enough time to make a decent breakfast before leaving to be responsible though so you could say it's pretty healthy.
  2. Hope-filled ignorance about how much you'll accomplish today
    Assuming you've made it past stage one and haven't conceded the day to actually being happy, you've made it to your practice room. Congratulations! Now that you're here, you're ready for stage 2: succumbing to the misguided notion that you'll do everything you hope to do today. Maybe today's the day you finish off that Mendelssohn trio, or the day you get that Chopin etude to sparkle with clarity. It's all a lie! The important thing is to keep believing while you can, it's better this way :)
  3. Things start to get real
    Okay so maybe these melodic phrases aren't as nuanced or sophisticated as you'd want them to be, and just maybe all this goddamn technical passagework is just a fucking mess, and who even knows about those godforsaken hidden contrary melodies I mean come ON. It's ok! It's not like you weren't expecting this, it's why you're here- to practice. Deep breaths, it'll be okay...right?
  4. Everything is not okay
    So you've been here like 3 hours and what have you accomplished so far? - not enough. By now, your well-meaning innocence has matured into frustrated cynicism and, in an attempt to quell your mounting hopelessness, have resorted to social media for comfort. You've probably even developed a lasting resentment for the composers too, and hey that is okay. But now is the time to push forward, don't lose hope! Remember to think positively, your suffering will pay off
  5. You've fallen asleep on the practice room floor in dismay
    Knowing that sleep is the closest to death you'll get today, you've taken the time for some "well-deserved" rest. The practice room floor isn't exactly pleasant but this is kinda good for you back maybe? Idk you've worked hard and suffered these first few hours and we both know your anxiety about the following hours of practice will render your nap an uncomfortable 20 minutes on the floor anyways. But it's fine, keep telling yourself you deserve this. Practicing angry won't get you anywhere
  6. Practice 2: the sequel
    I guess the sleep kind of worked because things DO seem like they're coming together and your newfound patience is something to be proud of. Sure, Mendelssohn is still a dick and these runs are essentially inhumane but there are glimmers of hope to be had.
  7. The 6 hour mark
    Good work! You've made it this far without falling asleep again so give yourself a pat on the back for that. Generally, practice round 2 has been less aggravating than the first and 6 hours is pretty alright. At the same time, you've spent 6+ hours in the same room and who even knows if the sun is still up. Not to mention this has basically amounted to a self-inflicted solitary confinement, try not to go crazy
  8. It's over: Hours 8-10
    you're either extremely dedicated or your sanity is gone. Nonetheless, you've spent anywhere from 8-10 hours in a single room alone with yourself. The keys of your piano are a blur of black and white and you're unsure as to whether it's been hours or days since you've had any real contact with society. In your crazed practicing frenzy, you've accomplished not enough, but enough to let you sleep at night. Don't worry! in a few hours you'll wake up and get to do this all over again.
  9. In the end, you become so intimate with the music you've suffered through and labored over, and after that much time you really do appreciate it for all its intricacies and its expressive qualities. However, whether or not this is true appreciation or just an example of musical Stockholm syndrome is another question.
  10. http://youtu.be/W8WZblCHHEA if anyone's curious about my beef with Mendelssohn