Sometimes (often times?) the best thing you can do for yourself as a musician is to take some time off to rest.
How much time? And when?
Here's what I've discovered that works for me. Take 5-10 minute breaks every 45-60 minutes of practice. Take one day off every week. Take 3 or more days off 2 or 3 times per year.
We all have crazy schedules, so some flexibility is required when planning your days off. The important thing is that you make rest a priority.
Here are a few benefits of time away from your guitar.
1. You lower your risk of injury. Overuse of the small muscles in the fingers and hands can do serious damage to your career as a musician. The best way to keep injury at bay is by giving your body plenty of recovery time after intense playing or practicing.
2. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Last week I was in the Smoky Mountains with my family. All my guitars were here in Alabama. When I got home, my motivation to practice was refreshed, and my chops seemed to actually improve after a week off. Strange, but true.
3. You're reminded of what's really important in life. No one on their deathbed wishes for one more practice session with their guitar. Taking scheduled breaks from your guitar will free you up for the more important things in life like faith and family.
4. You'll be a better guitarist because of it. Practicing 10 hours a day, 7 days a week to become a monster guitarist is a myth. Recent studies have shown that for most people, anything beyond 4 hours of daily practice is a waste of time. Why is that? Because the focus necessary for productive practice simply runs out. When you lose focus, technique gets sloppy and bad habits are formed and/or reinforced.
What are some other benefits of taking time off from music that you've discovered? Leave a comment below to join the conversation.
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