It’s Monday, the weekend is over, and last week has been a crazy and hectic week at the conservatory. I guess every student experiences forms of stress now and then, what makes it difficult to stay focused at times. Some days are full of rehearsals and lessons and you find yourself flying around everywhere. When Saturday arrived I couldn’t wait to have a day just for myself! There are some things that help me with a study day and I wanted to share these things with you because it might help you as well. Also if you have tips for me, I would very much appreciate hearing them in the comment box below!
1. Don’t set an alarm clock
– Just wake up when your body tells you to wake up. For someone who loves to sleep (like me), this feels fantastic. Some days I feel tired and I need to sleep a bit more, some days I wake up early. The funny thing is that when I don’t have to get up I wake up early and on days I have to get up early I can’t seem to get out of my bed..
2. Take a shower
– For me, there is nothing more refreshing that having a shower in the morning. It helps you wake up and get started for the day. Using a nice shower gel makes me even more relaxed (hello Bodyshop!)
3. Clean up the room where you want to practice
– This can be different for each person, but I can’t stand having stuff lying around in my room when I want to practice. I want everything to be tidied up and clean so my focus is up!
4. Have a decent breakfast
– Lately, I’ve been eating muesli with almond milk. A friend inspired me to do this, and I like it very much! Of course, there are a lot of other options, but make sure you eat well before you start playing. If you have problems eating in the morning -like I used to have- drink some fresh fruit juice (vitamins yes!).
5. Warm up!
– This is something I should do every time before I start playing. Unfortunately, I don’t always do it (looking guilty). Anyway, on my free day, I started with 10 minutes of yoga exercises. I used to go to yoga lessons, but now I just do it by myself at home. If you’re looking for a good yoga tutor on Youtube, you might want to check out Yoga with Adriene, she is really great! I recommend doing a physical warming-up to everyone, it’s great to loosen up your muscles and it helps you starting with a clean mind.
6. Have a bottle of water ready when you start practising
– I always drink and eat in between my practice time. It’s important to keep hydrated and to eat a little snack in between. Well… I’m not entirely sure about the last one, but I never say no to a piece of fruit or some chocolate ;)
7. Have small breaks in between your practice
– At the end, I played three hours before I decided to lunch, but of course, I didn’t practice three hours in a row. In the past, I used to do it sometimes, but I noticed it’s not efficient to keep practising for so long, and it can be painful for the body as well. Some say you can keep your focus for 20 minutes and you need to have a lot of breaks in between. I personally don’t like having breaks that fast so I usually continue for 45 minutes before I have a small break.
8. Have a decent lunch if you have the time to make it
– This is probably my favourite part of having a day off. I was already thinking about having lunch in the morning (yes I am that bad). I bought lentils, falafel, tomato, cucumber, lettuce and halloumi and ate it with oven baked bread. I like eating healthy food, so it’s always something I look forward to. This recipe is super easy! You just mix these ingredients and add olive oil, salt and pepper.
After lunch, it was time to study a little bit more. In the evening I decided to stop playing the violin and enjoy the rest of my day. But! On this very evening, I tried out the baroque viola at one of my friend’s house. And wow! I think it instantly caught my attention, so who knows.. I might start practising baroque viola too!
Author: Nino Natroshvili
Violinist and student at the Utrecht Conservatory, the Netherlands.