Well today I finally handed every known document about myself as a musician to my lawyer in order to apply for a visa to keep me here in the good ole USA. For over three months I have sweated over this process and now my job is done and I leave everything up to my lawyer and the U.S. immigration office (when I think about it I just feel like crying).
Anyways, I’m excited about tomorrow and the days that lie ahead of me. Tomorrow will be my second marathon practice day. From 10:00am – 6:00pm I will be practicing voice and piano to my heart’s content. I haven’t practiced like this since undergrad because of all the things I need to do in order not to go homeless and hungry. When I wake up this Wednesday morning I will turn off my phones and computer and start the day with some yoga and meditation to put me in a focused place. I have done a shorter practice marathon last week of four hours last Monday and it was really productive and a reminders that things that used to be easy for me are not so much now. I was inspired to do this little practice marathon by my friend and fantastic musician Dan Weiss. To give some back ground here, Dan is not only an unbelieveable drum set player but is an outstanding North Indian tabla player. About a month ago Dan did a chilla(?) It is an intense disciplined practice when you completely disconnect from the rest of the world and just practice your craft. Dan practiced for four days without interruption except for eating, bathroom breaks and sleeping. I don’t know all the formal details when it comes to a chilla but I was in awe and deeply inspired by Dan’s dedication and discipline.
I knew I couldn’t do four days and I knew that eight hours was going to be a challenge. I have been slowly working up to it. Normally when I practice I’m lucky if I can do about an hour a day (I don’t know if I should be confessing such things). Lately I have been doing about two hours or more a day. Sometimes it is just impossible to get any practice in at all especially when you are trying to apply for a visa! I have been preparing what I want to practice and methodically working out how I will go about it. I have tendonitis in both my arms so I am carefully scheduling when to take breaks to rest my arms. In between practising the piano I will be practising voice so that I can keep my tendonitis in check.
I’ve spoken to a lot of my classical musician friends and they tell me that they practice a minimum of two to three hours a day. I always ask them where they find the time! Maybe to most of my friends and colleagues the whole practising thing is a breeze and that eight hours is the norm. I’m just thrilled about having the free time to do this kind of practising. I miss that intensity.
Wish me luck and maybe later I will feel inspired to write about it.
I feel the same way about practice. An hour a day, consistently is a lucky thing, but I think a “chilla” is a great way to psychologically frame it. I might try it. Thanks for blogging about this!!
No wonder Weiss is so sharp (not a pitch reference).