No Time to Practice? 15 Things You Can Do in 15 Minutes

Even in these days of social distancing, people seem to be busy. It’s proof positive of Parkinson’s law: work expands to fill the time allotted. Although your schedule appears empty, somehow you still can’t find the time to get everything done. 

This may be why I still hear from harpists who are frustrated that they can’t find time to practice. Yes, working from home and trying to manage online school schedules have strained our good practice habits. At the same time, we all know daily practice is the most important factor in creating progress and harp happiness.

So when your day seems to leave no time for a practice session, what do you do? 

If you can find just 15 minutes to practice, you can stay on track and save yourself from frustration or guilt. In fact, you may be amazed how productive just 15 minutes of practice can be. It won’t work as a steady practice diet, but it will keep your fingers and your music from backsliding. I’ll share my list of 15 quick practice ideas; all you have to do is find the time!


For Your Technique

  1. Play exercises 1-6 in Salzedo’s Conditioning Exercises, both hands.
  2. Practice a scale at 5 different speeds.
  3. Play one of the warm-ups at the back of “On PLaying the Harp” by Yolanda Kondonassis.
  4. Review one etude slowly.
  5. Do focused work on one skill you want to strengthen.

For Musicianship 

  1. SIghtread a short piece or two.
  2. Play or create a chord progression and then improvise on it. 
  3. Stretch your memory muscle by trying to memorize two measures.
  4. Play your scales and arpeggios in 3 different keys.
  5. Practice transposition by playing your usual warm-up in a different key.

For Your Repertoire 

  1. Choose any trouble spot from a piece you are learning and play it slowly 10 times.
  2. Review 3 short pieces from your repertoire.
  3. Play straight through any piece you are currently learning focusing on continuity and expression.
  4. Play through whatever you practiced hard yesterday to keep it on track.
  5. Learn one new page of music.

Practice doesn’t have to be complicated - just do it!


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