Taking Breaks

Over the holidays I’ve been thinking about the importance of having breaks. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still playing every day however taking breaks can mean more than one thing.

Having a holiday where you basically close the lid on the piano and not playing at all is one kind of break. Sure, when you go back to the piano you’ll probably notice a little but of dust beginning to settle and depending on how long you might start to get rusty.

This isn’t one that I do often. If I do, it can be only 3 or 4 days. Unless of course I am away from home and there isn’t any access to a keyboard of piano.

This is a pretty standard idea of what taking a break is all about. There is another type of break we can take. This is from a particular piece in your repertoire. Sometimes you may find yourself focussing on one piece too much. This can often lead to a mini burnout.

If you find yourself in this situation I’d suggest taking a week or two off. Put that book or piece away and play some other repertoire instead. Don’t forget to come back to it though!

It’s very important to take breaks for a number of reasons. If it’s not too long then it’s good for memory. It gives the brain a chance to digest all the new information you’ve been cramming into it. You also get the chance to reflect on how you’re getting along with your piano. Are you where you want to be? Is there something you should change or are there any gaps you’d like to focus on?

After a break you will often feel revitalised and full of energy. Ready to take your repertoire head on with new vigour.

Stress can also start to creep in. As musicians we often find that there is a lot of pressure to get things right. More often than not this is something that we do to ourselves. I know I do. Taking a break allows to me destress which means I can view my repertoire in a new light.

My holiday has been good for me. I’ve had a chance to think about the months ahead. Think about what I am working on. I am looking forward to getting back to business!

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