How important is it to practice every day?
When is it okay to skip?
All serious musicians have to wrestle with these questions, and not just out of laziness. For most of us, life is seriously busy, and there’s often a perfectly defensible reason not to practice today: it’s the busiest week of the year at work, or it’s finals week, or we’re sick, or the kids are sick, or the lawn hasn’t been mowed in two weeks and the neighbors are starting to glare at us, etc. And sometimes these reasons even come in twos or threes. Sneaky!
Here’s what we need to remember:
It’s better to make a one-time decision (I will practice every day, no exceptions) than to make that decision over again each new day. (Do I practice today?)
If we choose the latter, we will eventually decide “No, I have a legitimate reason to skip today.” And that may be true! Maybe we only got 4 hours of sleep the night before and our day was a disaster. We just don’t have it in us to pick up the horn and at least get some practice in. Better to call it a night.
The problem is, there will be a good reason (or two, or three) not to practice tomorrow, too, and if we let ourselves make a new decision every day, we will eventually make the wrong one.