Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Jerry Seinfeld Practice Method

Visiting my parents in Pittsburgh means - besides quality time with family and friends - TV.  I don't have a TV in London.  Not because I'm too cool for TV.  Quite the opposite.  I don't have a TV, because if I did I would watch it….instead of practicing.  So while I'm here in Pittsburgh I'm indulging a little, especially in Seinfeld re-runs.  I've seen them all before, and I don't care.  I love it.  The other night I was reminded of a simple little tool that Jerry Seinfeld uses to keep his writing on track, which we musicians could apply to our practice routine.

"Don't Break the Chain"

The idea has become really popular, as if it's some miraculous breakthrough.  There are whole websites dedicated to it, with merchandise and even an app you can buy, all of which seems a bit silly to me.  You just need a calendar and a marker.

Throw that calendar up on your wall and each day that you practice put a big ol' X on it.  If you're anything like me, as soon as you have even just a few of those Xs in row you're not  going to want a big ugly hole in the chain taunting you as a reminder that you didn't do anything towards your goal that day.  It doesn't have to be a 10 hour marathon of a practice session.  The idea is just do something, anything, towards whatever you are trying to achieve EVERY DAY, even if it's something small.

Some people have taken it to the next level with multiple calendars, accounting for sick days, etc.  How far you want to take it is up to you.  Personally I don't use the Xs.  But I do keep a practice log that serves the same purpose.  Every day I write a detailed description of what I worked on and date it.  I HATE seeing July 6, July 7, July 8, July 10.  Either way, find a way to hold yourself accountable to your work.

If this post wasn't helpful to you, maybe you can at least put this trick to use.

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