• Christy | the Practice Pro

Never Miss Practicing Daily with “Habit Bundling”

Updated: Jul 4



By Christy | The Practicing Pro

www.ScotiaSuzuki.org


I have a teenage student, Amy, who never misses her daily practice. She used to really struggle! What is her secret? She bundled her practicing with something she finds easy and never misses!


How did she do that?


Amy discovered that She didn’t feel motivated enough to do her practicing until the day or two before her next lesson. She wanted to be prepared for her lesson and knew that if she didn’t learn the main things from the previous lesson that her teacher would be disappointed and she wouldn’t learn anything new or progress. BUT she's also had learned that she could accomplish this in one or two practices that were under stress the day or two before her next lesson. A few times before big events she would even have to have two lessons spread out in the week before because of this habit she had to make sure she would practice more times in the week. She always felt bad about this as she knew she would perform better and progress so much faster if she could just have the discipline to practice every day and not just at the last minute.


Amy gets high marks in school and never misses doing an assignment her very best. She has homework EVERY night from school and always feels motivated to do it since it's usually due in the next day or two. This is a daily habit that she has never struggled with.


She and her practicing parent discovered by making it a rule that she does her homework “as soon as” her practicing is done has now made her successful at her practice. Now, no matter what, she never misses her daily practice even the day right after she just had her lesson!!!


She finds with the rule that she “does her homework AS SOON AS she finishes practicing” then she never misses practicing. She is motivated to “get started” with her practicing before it gets too late because she knows her homework needs to get done that's due tomorrow.


Here is another student Sam:

He has a great bedtime routine that starts at 8 pm and goes to 8:30 pm, he never misses getting ready for bed and loves this part of his day. It’s a smooth sailing time in his day. His parent decided to ADD or BUNDLE to his established routine his practicing when they started music lessons.


Since they were already successful at their going to bed routine, it would be easy to add one thing to it. Now instead of starting the bedtime routine at 7:30 PM, now they start at 7:15 pm and add in practicing their cello before starting their regular bedtime routine. They start out with a 15-minute practice then a 20 minute one and then a 30-minute one! Eventually starting their bedtime routine at 7 PM, which includes now a full 30-minute cello practice. It’s easy and they never miss!


Habit Bundling? What’s That?


BUNDLING is when you take something you already do and never forget or never miss (a habit or routine) with something that you wish to do new or to be more consistent with. For Amy, in the first example, it was her homework that she bundled with practicing. In the second example, for Sam, bundling practice with his bedtime routine.


(You can also think of bundling your daily listening with something else!)





What can you bundle your practice with?

Let’s identify the things that already do daily and never miss? There are probably more than you think! Go ahead and say YES or NO in your head or even better print the included free PDF checklist and fill it out. Here are a few but print the checklist for a more complete list.

  1. Make your bed

  2. Take off your PJs and get clothes on

  3. Brush teeth, wash face, brush hair

  4. Walk your dog

  5. Make breakfast

  6. Set the table

  7. Walk the dog

  8. Water the plants

  9. Prepare supper

  10. Set the table

  11. Eat super

  12. Pray/ Meditate

  13. Write in journal

  14. Watch Television etc...


Wow, this is such a long list! I bet you found quite a few things here that you do every day and never miss. Are there a few you do in a row that are connected to each other? If so, make a note of this! These are your BEST times of the day for successfully adding something new into an already established routine.


If you have certain times of the day that you are already good at “following a routine” I suggest considering doing your daily practicing at these times. Remember, you will have the most success building a new habit by batching it into a routine that already exists.


Here is what it could look like:


Your present EVENING routine that you are successful with:

8:00 PM Bath with John

8:10 PM Pjs on

8:15 PM play a game until

8:20 (this motivates John to stay focused and not get distracted)

read a book until 8:30 pm lights out.


Make this change to your routine:

7:40 pm bath with John

7:50 PJs on

7:55 time for a 15 minute “PJ Practice”

8:10 pm play a game until 8:20 (this motivates John to stay focused and not get distracted)

read a book until 8:30 pm lights out.


Then change it to this:

7:30 pm bath with John

7:40 PJs on

7:45 time for a 25 minute “PJ Practice”

8:10 pm play a game until 8:20 (this motivates John to stay focused and not get distracted)

read a book until 8:30 pm lights out.


See how it goes?? You CAN DO THIS!!! You do it by batching what you are ALREADY successful at with a new habit that you are finding hard!





Here is another example:

Your current MORNING routine that you ROCK at:


7 am alarms go off!, Make beds, say prayers, brush teeth, wash face/or fast shower, get dressed

Get breakfast ready - depending on time eggs/ toast, cut up fresh fruit/yogurt, or cold cereal if less time

7:40 eat breakfast - each person washes their own dishes after eating

8:00 Time to get coats/shoes on and get bags for work/school

8:10 Jump in the car to get to school for 8:30 bell


Make this change to your routine:

6:30 am alarms go off!, Make beds, say prayers, brush teeth, wash face/or fast shower, get dressed

6:50 Practice for 30 minutes

7:20 Get breakfast ready - depending on time eggs/ toast, cut up fresh fruit/yogurt, or cold cereal if less time

7:40 eat breakfast - each person washes their own dishes after eating

8:00 Time to get coats/shoes on and get bags for work/school

8:10 Jump in the car to get to school for 8:30 bell


You get up 30 minutes earlier and sandwich the practicing INSIDE of your already successful routine!


PRESTO!

This seems so simple, but it really IS simple when you put the practice as a NEW PART of your already rocking routine.




CHECK IT OUT:

Looking for more schedule suggestions. After School and supper are similar: see Blog - “How to practice with multiple children” HERE for a detailed example of after-school practice and super time practice with single or two parents and with multiple children!


Want a detailed example of a successful morning practice for a young player and a teen? Check out the Blog - “Morning or Evening Practice? Which is better?” HERE


Good luck! You’ve got this!


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Checklist for an Amazing Music Practice

Your easy checklist to have successful home music practices from Christy, the practicing pro. Whether you are a new or seasoned practice parent this checklist will help you organize before, during, and after practices for effective and fun practices.

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