On Tuesday 25th August 2020 I completed the #100daysofpractice challenge and wow what a complete rollercoaster that was.
What is the #100daysofpractice challenge?
This challenge is all about an artist, usually a musician, posting a video of them practising for 100 days straight without stopping. The video is posted on either Instagram or Facebook. I chose to post on both!
The idea is that no matter what happens in your normal life, you never stop. Every day you should practice, even if it is only for 5 minutes.
Many people doing this challenge end up finding out how irregular their practice is…! I certainly did.
Why did I start the #100daysofpractice challenge?
As many of you know, I am also a twin mum to my beautiful Benjamin and Elle who are now eight and a half months old, this in itself presents some challenges. Throw into the mix a pandemic, lockdown, crazy Dubai Summer heat… and oh yeh our ceiling collapsed I think when I was on day forty, flooding our entire apartment.
However, I started this challenge because I was struggling mentally. Flute, for my whole life since I was six years old, has been part of my identity. I think if someone was to ask you about me, flute would be in one of the top five words you would say!
Whilst pregnant with my twins and shortly afterwards I started to lose sight of myself a little bit. I was worn down by having to defend every little choice I was making about my unborn children, my own body and also simply by the fear of the unknown. Fast forward a few months, my twins are born and a pandemic had hit, I needed a focus. Something to set my mind to, that would bring me back to myself.
What did I post first?
Initially I was terrified of posting… I remember posting out the first video. I played the first study from Marcel Moyse 24 petite etudes. You can find the book here if you want to have a look! This is an absolute staple for any flute player!
I think the video was only about 20 seconds long. But pressing post made my heart stop. What would everyone think? Will everyone realise how down-hill my playing has gone? What if people judge me? I also have many friends who are not musicians and I worried that me posting 100 days of flute practice would simply be annoying… if it was, no one told me that!
What happened after that first post?
But that first post changed everything, the love and support that I was greeted with after posting that first video was nothing short of incredible. This spurred me on, and sure enough every single day I got a little bit more confident. And, of course, my playing began to come back slowly but surely!
I am not saying every video I posted was perfect, far from it actually! I was trying to post a real-life snippet of where I was at. Looking back at the videos now it is incredible how quickly I moved on and improved. Every day wasn’t always a really long practice session. Some days I would only manage 5 mins. I would feel bad if I only managed this much, coming from music college where I would be doing seven hours per day! But you know what, if you use the time wisely, you can accomplish so much in such a short time.
One thing I have certainly learnt since becoming a mum is how to be efficient with my time. They only sleep for so long and there is so much to accomplish during this time!!!
And then I took on Etude of the Week…
About half way through this challenge I also began joining in with the etude of the week. This is a wonderful initiative started by my lovely friend Katy Wherry, in the form of a private Facebook group. The idea is that everyone should play a set etude (or study!) once a week, every week until the end of the book. I have been a member of this group for a long time but I never felt confident enough to post on this forum. However, I have seen my confidence grow so much since doing this practice challenge… I have also begun to care less what people think!
How did I find it?
Now I am not going to say there wasn’t any bumps in the road, of course there was! But I saw myself grow so much, I regained my confidence and built up a lot more resilience!
I was so lucky to have been given the opportunity to perform at the Sir James Galway Summer Online Festival. Lady Jeanne saw my posts and rang me up asking if I would like to perform… an opportunity that wouldn’t have happened had I not been doing this challenge and regularly posting on Instagram!
Why should you do the #100daysofpractice challenge?
This practice challenge is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your playing. We now live in this crazy world of social media and it is now important to build your confidence with putting yourself out there. Many opportunities only come about due to your social media presence!
Start small. There is nothing wrong with posting a short 10 second video, but holding yourself accountable every day will develop a strong, regular practice regime!
Let me know how you get on – I would love to hear your experiences!
Don’t forget to check out my other blog posts here!