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Building a Solid Practice Routine

Happy New Year!

We hope you had a wonderful new year celebration! We’re wishing you a year of health, prosperity, and joy. 2020 was not a kind year to musicians, and many of us struggled to maintain a solid practice routine amidst all of the frustration, cancelled seasons and virtual burnout. However, the new year brings new opportunities, and we are so excited about the upcoming return to live performances! So if you’re like me, hungry to get back to performing but vocally out of shape due to lack of practice, then we have exciting news for you!

I’m so excited to introduce you to our newest partner, The Practizma Journal! Developed by violinist, educator, and researcher Susanna Klein, The Practizma Journal is a 16-week workbook designed to help musicians optimize their practice. There is really nothing else out there like this, it’s truly unique!

Here’s an overview of the reasons Jessie and I are loving this journal:

  • Covers 16 weeks, allowing you to solidify your routine into good habits that stick

  • Collection of action prompts that change each week

  • Packed with motivational advice that will help you find joy in practicing

  • Designed with injury-prevention in mind

  • For musicians, by musicians

  • Physical + Digital versions available

When developing the journal, Susanna Klein drew on her years of researching practice and was inspired by sports, which is far ahead of music in terms of intentional practice and performance psychology. From her own work as an educator, she realized that efficient practice is not the only ingredient necessary for a healthy, life-long relationship with practice and progress. Optimism needs to be developed as well. She coined a new term (and a philosophy, really) for the optimal attitude to have towards practicing: Practizma.

The funny thing about practicing is that it is a learned skill. Discipline, perseverance, and self-regulation are all learned skills that can be improved upon. I vividly remember how grueling it was to learn how to practice in undergrad. I remember that even when I found a solid practice routine and was making great progress how much I dreaded the idea of practicing. I wondered if that meant I was unmotivated or unfit to do music, but looking back, I just needed to discover the joy in exploring my skills!


Let’s dive into the anatomy of the journal:

Each week you use the journal, you’re presented with four sections:

  1. A goal page

  2. A reflection prompt - to make you think about your artistic process and journey

  3. An action challenge - to develop a new approach in your practice

  4. Blank practice journal pages for notes

Bring purpose to your practice sessions and track your progress by identifying what worked and what you can improve on. The weekly goals and assignments page repeats each week, which allows you to look back on the past weeks and check which goals you were able to accomplish! A major part of building a new routine is being accountable and keeping tabs on your progress. Are you regularly accomplishing the goals you set for yourself? Do you notice a pattern in the goals you set?

My favorite feature of the Practizma Journal and why I believe it works so well for me is the new reflection and action prompts each week. These change each week, add new elements to your practice, and are based on research in deliberate practice and performance psychology. How cool is that? Whether you’re reflecting on what gets you “in the zone,” or are challenged to record your practice sessions, I find that having a new focus each week helps me stay excited about practicing!

When I sat down to write up my resolutions for 2021, I knew that no matter the goal, I wouldn’t be able to accomplish it if I didn’t find a way to work on it a little at least a couple days a week. One of the most important parts of sticking to a routine and

tracking your progress is by finding a way to integrate your goals into your daily life. I’ve discovered from years past that keeping my goals visible, whether on my work desk, in my planner, or on the notes in my phone helps me stay motivated and on track. The Practizma journal is available in both physical and digital versions, so whether you’re a pen and paper person or prefer the flexibility of a tablet, there’s an option for you! So far I’ve found great success using the physical journal (I’m a sucker for an aesthetic journal layout, you know?) and Jessie, our resident “techie” at Opera Offstage loves the digital version!


Want To Crush Your 2021 Goals?

In the interest of keeping ourselves accountable and starting off the new year strong, Opera Offstage will be hosting a 30 day practice challenge starting on Monday, January 25th!

If you’re looking for accountability buddies, or a safe and welcoming space of young artists to cheer you on and hype you up, we strongly suggest you join in on the challenge! We’ll have a dedicated group chat to check in, share our progress, and keep everyone motivated.

To join in on the fun, send us a DM on Instagram or email us through our contact form on our website. While you don’t need to own a Practizma Journal to join the challenge, we highly suggest you invest in one! You can download the intro to the journal from Susanna’s website. Jessie and I will be sharing our experience using the Journal as our guide. To grab your own Practizma Practice Journal, click here.

Make sure to use the hashtag #OperaOffstage30Days and tag us in your posts so we can reshare it on our platform! Check out our Instagram for more details.

We can’t wait to start this 30 day practice challenge using the Practizma Journal!

Let’s get to work!

- Michelle

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