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Christmas is a wonderful time of festive get-togethers and relaxing with family and friends. For young musicians who are students, it’s even better because you have an extended break from school and likely no job to worry about. It doesn’t take much, though, for this good opportunity to turn into something bad for your productivity. During these weeks away from school, there are eight traps for young musicians to fall into and we want to help you avoid them. While you’re unlikely to mess up on more than a few of these points, it only takes one for your Christmas break to prove detrimental to your work as a musician and a student.
Resting Too Much
Who doesn’t love rest? If you had to pick between work and sleep, you’d probably pick sleep more often than not. The good news about Christmas break is most students have the opportunity to get all of the rest they require and then a little bit more. The temptation for young people who are given this option is that they will abuse the privilege and become overly lethargic. After getting nine hours of sleep and spending all day watching Netflix on the couch, what have you accomplished? The first, and likely most obvious, trap for young musicians to avoid on Christmas break is entertaining laziness.
Not Resting Enough
It may seem like we’re splitting hairs here, but we do want to emphasize the importance of rest. Not only is it good for young musicians to eat right, get enough sleep, and exercise routinely, it’s good for everyone. Having several weeks away from school is a wonderful opportunity to try out new hobbies or hang out with friends until the wee hours of the morning, but rest is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. You can choose to focus on fun experiences or even continue to put your nose to the grindstone, though both can lead to bad consequences if you neglect proper rest. However you choose to spend your time during the Christmas break, make sure you get the rest you need.
Not Planning Ahead for the New Year
Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” What better time is there to plan ahead than during your Christmas break? No matter what stage of schooling you are in, it’s a good idea to map out the next semester or year. What do you want to accomplish as a musician? What books would you like to read? Is there a new hobby you want to pick up? Is it time to start thinking about college? These are just some of the questions you could consider during this planning process. The point of looking ahead is not to get you stressed out or to entrap yourself in a career path you’ll hate 10 years from now. Instead, we want you to have an idea of where you are headed.
Getting Too Comfortable with Where You’re at as Young Musicians
Some of us have more ambition than others. While we all want to be the best, the most successful, or the most popular, most of us will fall somewhere in the middle of society. The common folks. There is plenty to be said for natural talent or the privileges afforded us, but one aspect which propels many people beyond ordinary or average is the driving ambition that prevents them from feeling too comfortable with their present circumstances. Young musicians need to understand that the pursuit of excellence never really ends. If you’re just looking at music to be a side hobby, maybe you’ll be more complacent than someone who sees music as his calling in life. During your break, take stock of where you are and see if you need to be changing things up in your routine.
Not Keeping a Schedule
Speaking of a routine, it’s good to keep something of a schedule during your Christmas break. Repetition is your friend when trying to build healthy habits, whether you’re a musician looking to improve or a runner preparing for a marathon. Not keeping a schedule is an easy trap for young musicians to fall into during their time off, but we encourage you to fight that temptation. Fortunately, the person setting your routine is you. This means you can go as easy on yourself as you like. Since you don’t have classes and you probably don’t have a job, you can use whatever hours in the day you wish to complete the tasks you deem necessary. Commit to a few short practice sessions throughout the day or just assign one hour as the time when you’ll work on your music. You’re in charge.
Living Like a Hermit
Along the same lines as resting too much, having a few weeks away from school can encourage the bad habit of never going outside to see the light of day. This doesn’t have to mean you’re sitting in your room playing video games and watching YouTube. You could be doing very productive things like reading the complete works of Shakespeare or learning a new language. The danger we wish to keep you from is that of sealing yourself off from the rest of the world. Even if you’re doing “good” things, it’s not healthy to keep yourself shut in all week. While respecting the schedule you’ve set for yourself and prioritizing rest, make plans with friends and family. Go out and do something in the real world. You won’t regret it.
Not Taking Advantage of the Time Off To Try New Things
Finally, we recommend you take advantage of your newfound free time and try new things. This could be something in your wheelhouse as a musician like learning how to play a few of your favorite songs. It could just as easily, though, be something you’ve never done before. For starters, you could learn how to make a few basic meals in the kitchen. Maybe you could go to the gym and see if you can master those complicated workout machines. Going back to music, you might want to spend this time learning a new instrument. Whatever you want to do, this is the time to do it. (Just make sure you get the okay from your parents if you’re young enough to need supervision.)
We hope all you young musicians out there take these words of advice and run with them. Take back your Christmas break by avoiding the traps we’ve listed here. In the long run, you’ll be better off.
We know it’s only Christmas break, but it’s never too early to start thinking about your summer plans. At Camp Electric, we let young musicians like yourself learn from some of the best instructors around. Coming from today’s hottest Christian bands, these musicians want to pass off the tricks of the trade to the next generation. From engaging classroom sessions to workshops that cover all kinds of exciting material, you won’t want to miss Camp Electric this summer. Find out how you can become our next student by clicking on the link below.