31. January 2016 · Comments Off · Categories: Uncategorized

Time bandits was an awesome movie.  Sadly, the real time bandits just suck big time!  I’m talking about the little things in the day that eat away at your available time.  They seem unavoidable and they always crop up.  Laundry is a bad, never ending time thief.  I don’t mind the quick break every 40 minutes to switch a load from the washer to the dryer.  Folding laundry isn’t so convenient though.  Usually that’s when I like to take in a bit of a TV break.  I don’t feel half as bad watching some silly program when I’m folding laundry, because I’m folding laundry.  Email, Facebook, eating, making food to eat all adds up in the day and takes away from practice time.


Early on in my guitar studies, it was emphasised to have a schedule and a practice plan.  It’s all fine to say that you will practice 1 hour, or 3 hours every day.  It’s quite another if you don’t actually have that time to practice.  You don’t want to feel guilty that you aren’t focused on your practice when it actually impossible for you.  This just leads to a vicious cycle where you beat yourself up.  My first attempt at my recent schedule looked great, I blocked out my work and sleep for my work days, kids activities.  Then I looked at all the wonderful white space and was excited about how much practice I could get.  Then I realised, I didn’t block out sleeping time on my days off.  Sleep is so important!!  My schedule was far less open.

This morning, I normally would have been dead to the world after finishing my night shift.  This week though, I’m off due to medical issues.  I woke up at 8 am and spent 2 and a half hours getting ready.  This included a half hour for stretching.  Focused mainly on legs, neck and arms.  Neck and arms are critical to be loose and limber for guitar, and legs, because of all the sitting I do.  My legs complain a lot!  I had to be careful not to put any torsion on my midsection.  Luckily, my back has been doing well.  I had a good half hour warm up session.  A little break now and back to more practice.  My goal today is sight reading and review of some basic pieces. Then I will pick up Julia Florida again, review what I have down, and add to it.

31. January 2016 · Comments Off · Categories: Uncategorized

It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted and life has been full, but not so much with guitar.  Renovations, restructuring and a new business have filled the day to day agenda.  There is also uncertainty in the future with layoffs in my work.  Not so much as IF I will be laid off, but rather WHEN.  So we put that all in perspective and the last thing you would expect is a road trip for a week of guitar study.  It sounds crazy, but that is exactly what it will be, and I think it couldn’t happen at a better time!

There have always been obstacles for me in the pursuit of guitar study. Not just for me though, but I believe for everyone who has ever picked up an instrument.  Bills to pay, obligations, finances, jobs everything seems to push music to the back.  So many people I’ve talked to say they used to play guitar but…. I wanted to play piano but….  there are always issues.  So now I’m going to challenge every one of those issues and over come them to make this happen!Calgary

So my health has impacted my productivity.  Prior to issues, I easily practiced 3 hours a day, 3 to 4 days a week.  This would include 1 hour at about 4 or 5 am, another hour at 10 am, then another hour around 5 pm.  There was room for extra practice sessions there depending on errands and need for sleep.  Since my last bout of health issues, my sleep has returned more to normal.  Sleep in if I could, up in the a.m. and to bed in the evening with little energy.  Trying to squeeze that 3 hours of practice in a day seemed impossible.

We have recently undergone some intense renovations which decimated my rough but practical and ergonomically laid out music studio, and in it’s place grew a wonderful hair salon.  Ok, it’s not a guitar studio, but the hair salon makes a heck of a lot more money than guitar!  One of the worst things for practicing an instrument is having it packed away somewhere out of sight and out of reach.  Same with all the support materials.  This for me was a problem.  With limited energy, taking time to dig out materials, set up a work space, practice, then pack it all in was killer.  Add to it the competition for space with all the family activities going on makes it even more difficult. To resolve this, I’ve started converting my girls room into my makeshift music study.   I will steal some dresser space for my immediately necessary books and music.  A folding chair behind the door, and my guitars in her closet.  When I want t practice, I just throw open the chair, pop open a guitar on the bed, pull out a foot rest and grab the books near me and get to it!

There is still some cleaning up and de-cluttering to be done.  It’s difficult to practice when there is chaos and clutter strewn around.  A practice area has to be conducive to productive focus.  This also means that clutters elsewhere have to be taken care of too.  Clutter seems to have a way of being strewn from one area to another by shear proximity. It has to be nipped in the bud before it grows.  One further complication, my office was also part of my studio.  So my workspace has now retreated to the kitchen table.  Here, it competes with daily meals.  Not so convenient to have my organisational stacks of to do papers strategically on my desk anymore.  So I now have to be more coordinated at my paperwork.

Current obstacles I’m facing are my health, recovering from a recent visit to emergency, growing a new business with the salon, and a career change due to layoffs.  With all this, I have to re-apply myself to build up to 3 hours a day at least of practice.  Likewise, I also have to get my main piece ready for the master classes.  I’m as eager as you to see how this will turn out, the ending of which, will surely prove to be another beginning!