Distractions can be a battle when learning an instrument. Whether you are a music instructor or practicing at home, you need to find methods to beat distractions in order to improve your playing skills.
So how should you beat those distractions?
Try following these steps:
- Limit clutter in the practice area
- Remove potentially attention-grabbing toys or objects
- Have a policy that phones must be set on vibrate
- Limit the seating to discourage too many siblings in the space
- Don’t allow eating in the studio
- Limit or remove pets
- Use music notation that is visually clear and clutter-free
Many of those steps involve limiting visual distraction. This is because much of our learning depends on reading music. Reading music can be like learning a foreign language. It is important to be able to focus on every symbol on the page to succeed.
Music teachers often use Focus Windows to prevent visual distractions.
A Focus Window is a way of directing a student’s attention to a specific portion of the page. You can use Focus Windows to not only learn to read music but place attention only on a portion of a large picture, graph, map or chart.
There are a few ways to construct the Focus Window. My favorite is to block out certain areas of the page using Post-It notes. This way, students can practice small pieces of the song at a time. As the student improves playing the song, you can expand the Focus Window to a larger section.
A Focus Window also promotes curiosity. Students can be more motivated to learn sections of the song so they are able to discover more of the piece.
Samuel Johnson says “Curiosity is, in great and generous minds, the first passion and the last.” Our natural tendency to be persuaded due to curiosity can improve practice sessions if used correctly.
If you are a music instructor or learning an instrument, try incorporating a Focus Window into your practice routine. You could uncover the tricky problems that have been preventing you from improving your playing skills.