If you’ve ever built and decorated a gingerbread house, you know that there’s a process to achieving a festive, Instagram-worthy result.
When you’re building a gingerbread house, you can’t expect all the pieces to come together at once – you have to start with a solid foundation, measure and create patterns for the walls, make sure the icing is the right consistency to hold all the pieces together, collect an assortment of candy decorations, and a plethora of other methodical steps to ensure a beautiful (and delicious) final result.
When you’re building a gingerbread house, you might encounter bumps and bruises along the way – that’s just how the cookie crumbles (I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist!).
Although the final results of your work are nice, half the fun of gingerbread houses is the process of creating them and watching your ideas take form.
If you think about it, building a gingerbread house is a lot like an effective practice routine.
You should start with a plan, gather all your pieces, and develop a solid foundation. When you encounter problems along the way, you should take the time to troubleshoot and experiment to discover various solutions. You shouldn’t bite off more than you can chew. You should work on one section at a time, making sure that each section is reinforced well enough that it doesn’t cause the collapse of other sections.
Most importantly, you should appreciate the process.
In a society which often expects instant gratification, many musicians forget to enjoy the process of music making. Even though practice can feel monotonous, it is an important exercise in creativity, from experimenting with new techniques to trying out new interpretations.
So, the next time you get stuck in the practice room, imagine you’re building a gingerbread house. What would your next step be? Try to translate the gingerbread house building process to the practice room, and chances are you’ll create a more efficient and fun way to approach music.