Close your eyes for just a minute or two. Think about the one thing that immediately makes you feel "mmm or ahhh."
Stay with that vision and thought for a few minutes so you can really soak in that specific feeling of being safe, feeling inspired, and very relaxed.
For me - it's the ocean, a soak in that first hot sun of the summer, bright colors in a room, candles, minimal noise, and time.
Now let's take a look at where you have your piano set up and how your practice space is arranged.
I want you to notice how you feel when you walk into your practice room (or designated practice space wherever you live) and observe what you feel when you enter that space. Is it similar to what you felt earlier when you were relaxed, inspired and there was no pressure?
If not...then we have a little work to do that will amazingly help your piano playing...and it doesn't involve practicing! :) (just this once!)
First of all, make sure you have a designated practice space. Either a room, or a part in a room that you can separate from the rest of the usage and space of the room. It doesn't have to take up the whole room either. Depending on the size of your keyboard, you can section off a corner of the room even if that would work.
Next, remove anything that isn't connected to your keyboard from that space. (You can put some things back later, but for now, make it just a clean space with only your piano and piano music and any tools that you need.
OK, now look and see what you need to keep all of your music, metronome, pencils, and anything else that you use when practicing and playing. Can you put all in one cabinet or desk? Organize everything so that you can access what you use the most, the easiest; and put those things that you don't use all the time on the bottom or farther away from the most used items.
Set up this cabinet or whatever container you're using close enough to the piano so you can easily reach it, but not so that it interferes with your piano playing.
Next, look at your lighting. Can you see well? Would it help to have a floor lamp next to your piano or even a clip on light that you can put on your music? Is the practice space that you've selected able to get the best light in the room or do you need to pick a better spot so you can see your music without struggling? Make sure that vision isn't a struggle...remember that relaxation is one of the goals here.
OK...so you have your practice space selected and set up. You have all of your music and practice tools organized according to how often you use them and everything is easily accessible from your piano. You've gotten your lighting set up so that you can easily see your music without having to strain or squint.
Next, you're going to check in again with those first feelings we talked about that you want to feel in your piano practice space. Are you feeling any of those at this point?
Organizing and cleaning any space has been scientifically shown to bring about an immediate sense of calm, peacefulness and relaxation; this is why it helps so much to keep our practice space in that zen-mode!
This is where you can start adding back in some of the items you may have removed when we first started this exercise. Do you have a picture of a favorite person that inspires you? What about a bright colored throw rug? A candle on top of your music cabinet would add lots of warmth. Anything that makes you feel warm inside, happy and excited can be very beneficial to have in your practice space. These items are meant to inspire us and make us want to come into that space. Add in a few of these things and then step back to make sure nothing looks or feels cluttered.
Also think about what you like to have with you while you practice. (One suggestion...turn your phone volume down when you practice. The less distractions you have, the more peaceful your practice time will be, meaning a more successful practice time. Do you like to have water nearby, or a cup of coffee? Make sure to include somewhere in your peaceful space a designated area where you keep these things too.
The key here is to create the best possible space for you to grow in your piano playing! We sometimes forget how much our immediate surroundings can influence our mood and feelings about doing something. The more you nurture this special space and commit to giving it a bit of a "sacred" place in your home, you will find that you enjoy going "there" more, your playing is more relaxed and you are able to get more accomplished in practicing!
We tend to think that the only way we can nurture ourselves is through our food and we forget that what we surround ourselves with in our homes on a daily basis plays just as important of a role as our nutrition does. Think of this as our emotional nutrition, while our food is our physical nutrition.
Enjoy creating your zen practice space and remember to stay Tuned to PianoLessonsOnTheWeb.com to learn much more and achieve your dream of playing the piano!
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