Tag Archives: #GOMonth

Organise your brain

Our final #WednesdayWisdom #GOMonth piece is about helping your brain to think differently and to get into habits that will help you be more organised on a longer term basis rather than just for January.

Our first recommendation is to get enough sleep. Most experts recommend 7-8 hours as being optimal but, as with all things, there are people for whom more or less is the perfect amount. You’ll know what is ideal for you so try to organise your schedule so you have the opportunity to sleep that amount. Sleep is important for the brain; even small amounts of sleep deprivation can lead to dips in concentration and can affect your performance.

Our next tip is going to sound like heresy to the multi-tasking warriors out there and that is to focus on one task at a time. Flitting between multiple tasks does nothing but slow your brain down and can cloud your judgment; especially on critical issues. Recent studies have shown that trying to do two or more things at once can release the stress hormone cortisol in the brain which, in turn, can impact your ability to concentrate and make decisions.

Our next tip may also sound counter-intuitive if you’re really busy, or have a deadline looming, but taking a break can make you more productive. 5-10 minutes away from your desk every so often will allow you to gather your thoughts, refresh yourself, and return to the task in hand feeling more energised.

We’ve spent January encouraging you to get organised and we know a reminder can be a spur to do something. However, it’s important not to be a one-day warrior when it comes to being organised. Some people leave it to the last moment on a Friday afternoon to tidy up and organise themselves for the weekend’s performances. This creates a ‘black hole’ point which can distract you more and more as the week progresses, Try to get ahead of things; little and often is better than spending ages all at once and, possibly, finishing up panicking on gig day.

Finally, if possible buddy up. You’ll find it more rewarding – not to mention time seeming to pass quicker – if you’re working with someone to sort things out.

Music Organisation

It’s Wednesday and, as with our previous #WednesdayWisdom posts during January, we’re focussing on getting organised. We know from first hand experience that musicians aren’t always the most organised of people 🤔😱so today, we’re taking a look at one of the most important things; your music.

Depending on what you play, and despite the rise in the use of tablets, many people still use sheet music and can accumulate vast quantities of it. Finding one piece amongst many can prove challenging and that’s where today’s tips/#LifeHacks can help.

Firstly, you’ll need to dedicate a space in which to store your music. That could be anything from a cupboard, filing cabinet, to simply a shelf. However, bear in mind that wherever you choose, it needs to be big enough to store all your current music and have room for growth. Next, sort your books, booklets, and loose sheets into separate piles. Books can go directly into your storage area. Order them to suit yourself; by title, by composer, by genre – whatever works for you.

Next get yourself a file box, or several, and organise your booklets in there using the same method as the books. If you have booklets that are smaller or in a fragile state we suggest using clear plastic wallets to protect them and keep them easily accessible amid the larger ones. Removable sticky tabs or coloured file dividers can be a good way of quickly finding specific composers or music genres. If you find you have multiple boxes, be sure to label them.

Finally, invest in lever arch files and plastic punched pockets for your loose sheets. Start with the title page and place them in the pockets so there’s music on both sides. Resist the temptation to save space by starting a new piece of music on the back of another. Again, use coloured file dividers or sticky tabs to subdivide within the file binder. Keep one binder empty so that you can easily transfer files according to your lesson plan, practice schedule, or set list.
Simples, eh?

Making the most of your calendar

Following on from last week’s #WednesdayWisdom, as part of #GOMonth, we’re building on our tips/life hacks for getting organised.

Last week we recommended you stick to one calendar. Today we’re helping you make the most of it.

To prevent things sneaking up on you, especially if using a weekly view, we recommend putting reminders on your calendar ahead of the event. For example, it’s well worth making a note on the calendar on a Friday if you’re playing on a Monday or Tuesday as it gives you the weekend to sort the music into the set list order, check over kit, change strings, etc. And, if you need more time for these things, simply put the reminder further ahead.

Setting reminders ahead of time is especially pertinent if you have to prepare things well in advance such as checking contracts, parking arrangements, booking hotels, or simply getting directions. Put reminders in sufficiently well ahead so you’ll have time to complete the tasks without the last minute stress. What’s more, if you’re feeling super organised, you can always colour co-ordinate the tasks you have to do regularly so you can see at a glance what needs doing when.

Finally, if you struggle to find the time to practice regularly, schedule some time in your calendar and set an alarm (or highlight it if you’re still using paper) to remind yourself.