First of all, I am a 23 year old who graduated college two years ago so in no way am I an expert. But I did major in classical guitar, lead music for a student group, a church, run track and I had a long distance relationship, almost all of which at the same time one semester. I am here to tell you some tips I’ve learned and how to hone in on some creative juices. I’ll be posting this as different tips and there will be several of them. Hope you enjoy 🙂

Tip 1: The Place You Practice Matters

Here is the scene: it is my freshman year of college and I am sharing a room with not only a messy roommate but a suite full of athletes…old socks on the floor, pizza boxes (with a few leftovers) on couches or behind trash cans, staying for days (if not weeks). Not only was the space smelly and messy, but I just didn’t have much space. My guitar was under my bed in its case and I had a box with some music supplies (picks, music books etc). I was taking private lessons, but I practiced for around an hour A WEEK as a classical guitar major. The practice rooms were a 10 minute walk away or so and I would go occasionally but 10 minutes became dreadfully long (especially in the winter). Needless to say, I didn’t advance very far that semester.

It is no wonder that there are entire careers for interior decorating and space creation. Those two things can really make or break practice time and space. Luckily I had a roommate the next year as a Sophomore who wanted to be an interior decorator (now he builds and sells amps) and helped me pay more attention to my music/practice space.

There isn’t a perfect fit for everyone but here is what I learned about the space I practice in:

  1. Making instruments organized and accessible helps. You’d be surprised how just having my guitar in its case can prevent me from grabbing it and practicing. Put instruments on their stands and have them near where you sit/work a lot.  If you have a small apartment or house try wall hangers (that’s what I have).
  2. Make time to organize music/practice material and define where things go. One thing I’ve learned in order to clean up or start a practice session efficiently is to have and know where everything goes. For example; I have a small milk crate for capos and tuners, an Altoids can with picks, nail files etc. But I always keep those things in it. That way I’m not rummaging around a drawer or behind a shelf thinking “where did I put my sheet music.”
  3. Have a designated music space that has things that inspire you or that help you get in the practice zone. I love certain lighting and color, so in my music corner (in my living room) I have a cool tree light and some art work on the wall. I’m in search for a good rug to further help my mind say “this is a creative zone.”
  4. Don’t be afraid to go somewhere else that inspires you. I love big church sanctuaries or stair wells. Also going outside is nice. I recommend having at least one practice session a week in a different space than normal. And treat it like a performance (unless you perform on a regular basis).

The point of this is to find something that works for you, make note of it and make the rest of your space like it. I often rearrange my music space if something isn’t working. Sometimes that’s all it takes. But don’t get to caught up in the process….because you still need to practice 😉