The Importance of Having a Good Routine

The Importance of Having a Good Routine

Our New Family Member

We have a new member of the family. She is 10 weeks old, her name is Mikaela, and she answers to “Kayla.” She is a precious little bundle of joy … well, at times. At other times, she is a frustrating (but still very lovable) bundle of naughtiness.

And isn’t that the way it is with learning to play the dulcimer? At times, it brings us great joy – playing on the porch at sunset, jamming with our friends in the church hall, attending a festival with other dulcimer-playing wannabes. At other times, we get a bit frustrated trying to learn a new technique or a new tune. I was thinking about this and realized there are several other similarities between Kayla and musicians.
    • She will never have enough toys. No matter how many toys we buy for Kayla, she still returns to chewing on my shoes instead of her “legal” toys.

      Have you ever heard a musician say, “Enough! Please! NO more instruments.” Never ever have I heard this.  I have a problem in this area myself, and I don’t just want more dulcimers. I want one of every stringed instrument out there – just to try them on for size.

    • Kayla will try anything once. Musicians are like that … they love to try a new lick, a new technique, a new tune. It may be a bit beyond our playing level, but we’ll still return to it time and again until we get it.

    • Kayla connects with people through touch (and biting). We connect with our instruments through touch.

    • Kayla happily accepts compliments, along with her treat, for doing something right. Now musicians are a little different in this area. A lot of us only hear that one mistake we made, and miss the overall impact of a piece we played.

      Learn to accept compliments and just say, “Thank you.”

    • Dogs adapt and thrive. I saw this in our dulcimer community during 2020. We moved over to Zoom lessons, concerts, and festivals while we were shut down - and continued to connect and learn.

    • Dogs make time for a daily workout. When Kayla wakes up in the morning and we let her out of her crate, it’s like the first time she’s ever been loose in the house. She scampers around, running off pent-up energy – double-checking every toy to make sure all is well.

      Musicians should do likewise, making time for a daily workout on their instrument every day.

  • Kayla becomes totally engrossed in whatever she is doing.. If she is playing with her toys (or toilet paper), she is fully involved in biting on it. If she is in my lap, nothing else matters to her at the moment. If I walk through the house, she is totally absorbed in staying with me every step of the way. (Well, the truth is, she is trying to attack my shoes.). But I love seeing her get fully immersed in whatever project she is working on.

    What about you? Do you get fully engaged in practice?  Or, when trying to master a new technique, are you easily distracted, moving on to something else before seeing success?
The Importance of a Good Routine

We’re really working hard on the potty training with Kayla. A good routine, taking her out regularly, will give her the structure she needs to internalize the lesson. For example, in the morning she goes out first thing. After she eats, she goes out. Every two hours, she goes out.

I think to make progress in your musical journey, there needs to be a good routine in place as well. Whether you choose to practice in the morning, afternoon, or evening, do it regularly every day until it becomes a habit.

Then it will become a rock-solid routine.  You will begin to see yourself checking goals off your list quickly and moving on to new ones.

Happy dulcimering,
Bridging the Gap Between What You Know ... And Where You Want Your Music to Go



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