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Riley Music Academy Music Cast: Suggestions for musical motivation

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Well, I’m back from my summer holiday, the boys are back at school and I am trying to return my brain to work mode.

Over the summer I tried as hard as I could to disconnect from social media, emails, admin and even practice. I thought it would leave me refreshed and eager to start up again but instead I find myself lethargic and demotivated.

At the start of August I was interviewed by Garry Corbett for thejazzbreakfast.com (find the whole interview here). Garry asked for my 5-a-day choices for a healthy musical lifestyle. What a great idea! For this week’s blog I thought I would ‘borrow’ it and offer you a few more suggestions to help ease into September’s workload.

Here are the tricks I’m using to return to work:

  • Daily Exercise: I’ve been doing lots of cardio recently to get a bit fitter. It works for me to do it daily and I also use a DVD so the presenter can shout at me! I follow along like a mindless sheep. Left to my own devices, I fail to push myself and therefore waste time and effort.
  • Headspace: I dabble with meditation and mindfulness and I often go through phases of good practice then I forget or get distracted. I’m using this app which combines the allure of technology, guided meditation by a professional, ticking off achievements (levelling up like a sad gamer!) and a tradition used by a huge amount of success individuals.
  • Tapping: I discovered this practice through a friend and then read a book called the Tapping Solution by Nick Ortner. It sounds totally bonkers but it’s given me some great results and I recently discovered some creditability for it by watching this video:

  • Green Tea: I usually avoid caffeine but if I want a boost then I usually drink green tea. There are tons of “so called” benefits but I use it to raise my metabolism and for the antioxidants. I’ve recently been drinking this one. I would suggest brewing it for a minute and a half maximum, otherwise it gets very bitter. It doesn’t quite replace my usual builders tea first thing in the morning but it’s good to have later in the morning.
  • Booking Meetings: I often need deadlines to force myself to start work. One of the first actions I took on the way home from holiday was to book in some work related meetings.
  • Selecting New Targets: I’ve been lucky recently (or made my own luck) by completing some big goals (like performing at Stratford Jazz – watch some clips on my youtube channel). This gave me a smug euphoria but unfortunately it hasn’t lasted! Now I need to set my sights on something else. For me, this is recording an album.
  • Tidying my Home: Not my favourite pastime by any stretch but it often helps with motivation to get your working space clear and organised. This is my goal for the next two days!
  • Transcribing List: I’m compiling a list of tunes or extracts to transcribe as I know that this will pay dividends but its tricky to motivate yourself to do it! I’m aiming for a least one a month.
  • Talking to Others: If you start down a path of lethargy then it’s easy to become isolated and detached. I have noticed that this can lead to problems so I catch myself as soon as possible. Similar to booking meetings or sending work emails, I make sure I book in with friends and musical colleagues to bounce ideas and get the creative juices flowing again.
  • Routine: If you’d have asked me 15 years ago if I would ever be any advocate of routine then I would have laughed in your face, but routine has actually helped me not only become more productive but happier too. I’m not a dot the i’s and cross the t’s sort of a guy, but I like to know when things are happening and to have a bit of structure in place. Once the framework is there, then I work with more intent and efficiency. This is the reason I write this blog and release it every Thursday. I’ve missed writing it over August.

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