My friend Andrea from Cleveland asked me my opinion of balancing daily life with practicing and I thought it would be good to post my thoughts here. It's often assumed that the amount of practicing we have to do is impossible to accomplish with our busy schedules. Personally, I've had the luxury of having a ton of "free time" to dispose of, but even when things got busy, especially in college, I still made it work. I think it's mainly changing our perception that makes finding practice time less stressful. As percussionists especially, all we do is more our bodies. So, even when we walk, we can practice. Just focusing our thoughts to our arms, hands, legs and feet we can take a 3 minute walk and turn it into a 3 minute practice session.
"Away from the instrument, there are tons of things to learn" - Jojo Mayer, and I completely agree. If you can't get to a rehearsal space there's always a drum pad. If you can't play at home, there's always YouTube, Pandora or Spotify, and when you know you can get to a rehearsal space, you can plan what things are most important. I know timpani time is extremely limited, but I own a timpani practice pad, so I can work on the technique at home so when I get to the rehearsal room I don't have to focus on it as much. I found these ways of thinking really opened up the possibilities of practicing for me and I find that I can practice anywhere, doing almost anything. It's not so much finding a balance between things in your life, but finding ways of incorporating multiple things in your life. When I spend time with my future fiance, I try not to physically practice because I want to dedicate that time to her, but being with her creates new emotional events that I can access in my performances. So in a way, it is practicing, without practicing. I don't have to choose between music and life, life is music. This is the way I think of it now, and perhaps this can help you create more opportunities to practice as well.
Josh Jones 10/16/2015