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:

16 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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