Don’t Break The Chain

Jerry Seinfeld is credited with a great productivity tip (though he claims to not remember talking about it). He felt that to be a great comedian, you had to write every day. His technique will be useful for you as you learn:

  1. Buy a wall calendar and hang it on the wall where you practice.
  2. Every day that you practice, put an X through the box with a red marker.
  3. As your chain of Xs grows, say to yourself, “Don’t break the chain”.

Go to the downloads page to get the latest practice calendar.

Seinfeld commented, “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”

I love this. It’s such a simple goal: Write every day. Play every day. Exercise every day. And the tracking system is beautifully minimal. Just make an X in a box. The chain is its own reward, better even than ice cream (I guess that’s up for debate).  As that chain of Xs grows you will say “Yes! Yes! Yes!” It feels good once you get in the swing of practice.

Some students are more goal-driven. They get motivated by having a definite goal to work towards: Learning ten Irish reels. Recording an album. Performing in a show. In fact, if you are trying to become an expert performer in your field it’s necessary to be setting concrete goals to work toward. If this sounds like you, I encourage you to set goals and create a series of small action steps to help you achieve that goal.

But the ultimate (and simplest) practice goal:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are phone apps which accomplish the same thing as the practice wall calendar. I use one called Momentum:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With this you can easily keep track of multiple good habits you are maintaining.

Don’t feel like buying a wall calendar in the middle of the year? No problem! We made a special FiddleHed Practice Calendar for you. You’ll find it in the first lesson of How To Practice Consistently.

Now go fiddle with it…


Lessons complete in Module 1.1:

17 responses to “Don’t Break The Chain

  1. Hey Jaso’n. Hope you are doing well. I love the idea of your app but can you say who wrote it or published it? there’s a zillion out there. Some are obviously not the one you have.

    question about the little fiddlehed tune book, 1.1 is not supposed to be in it? want to make sure i didn’t screw up the pdf.

  2. I’ll be on vacation in Asheville, NC from October 17 to October 23. Here’s some things I think I can do to keep participating.
    – Start early
    – Keep watching videos
    – Keep listening to fiddle players
    – Go see good blue grass open mike
    – Visit a luthier
    – Visit this Exhibit – The Luthier’s Craft: Instrument Making Traditions of the Blue Ridge @ Smith-McDowell House Museum
    – Get tickets to see An Evening with Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas, October 22, 2017 @ Isis Music Hall !
    – Listen to recordings of my playing and imagine how I’d adjust it.

    I’m not bringing my instrument…but I can do all these things 🙂

  3. I have an inexpensive essay book, the kind you use for school, in which I keep a list of what I’ve practiced every day. I write the date, then note:

    *what scales I practiced

    *what tunes I practiced and whether it’s a new tune* or a tune I’m playing from memory
    (* I write whose version or what book I learned it from because it sometimes makes a difference when I get together with other players)

    *What techniques (usually applied to a specific tune): double stops, bowing, crossings, positions, etc

    *if I went to an irish session, fiddle camp or bluegrass jam that day –and what tunes I did there if I can remember them all!

    *if I played along with the radio, youtube or playalong tracks — melodies, fills or improv

    *if I transcribed any tunes I heard into EasyABC for future reference

  4. I know this sounds a bit immature, but i bought a bunch of rainbow, stars, and heart stickers…some are bigger than others. I printed the awesome fiddlehed calendar and for everyday I practice, I put a sticker in the box..if it was a long practice day 45 mins or more…I put a big rainbow sticker in there..it makes me happy to see so many stickers at the end of the month and motivates me to “earn my sticker”…if I don’t feel like practicing on the occasional day, i give myself permission to intentionally not practice that day, instead of just “forgetting” or “putting it off”..when I do that, it reminds me that commitment to an instrument is my CHOICE and i seem to be anxious to play the next day. Just my 2 cents, and probably worth as much as you paid for it..LOL. Jason thank you for your amazing work on Fiddlehed and keeping us excited! This program is really great. I love it. Wendy

  5. Hi I’m new to the course, but so far I love everything I have seen! Your play-along practice tracks are just what I have been looking for – and I even like your sense o humor! I anticipate being with you a long time!
    Buck

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