A radical change of my approach to practice, thanks to motherhood

A radical change of my approach to practice, thanks to motherhood


I used to think and believe I had to work more, and I panicked at times as I now had a child to look after. When my daughter came back from a day care or from our nanny, it automatically meant no opportunity for practice for me. By the end of the evening when my daughter went to bed, I was too exhausted to do anything but go to bed myself. Sometimes, I felt desperate and extremely anxious, worrying about the forthcoming concerts, however I couldn’t physically drag myself to the piano very often.

I had no option but change my approach to practice drastically: I try to work effectively by analysing what I am doing and exploring different ways to tackle the issue whether it is of a technical or interpretational nature (I find that they go hand in hand 99% of the time): What is not working here? what can I do to improve this passage? How can I make it better? What do I want to hear in this passage?

Foremost, I had to change the old mindset of believing, ‘I had to practise more’.

After my daughter went to bed, and I am exhausted in bed, I try to hear in my head exactly how I want to play the passages or sections of the works I am preparing. The most important question is the horizontal flow of the music and the structure, and what I should bring out to emphasise the changes in harmony, for instance.

I soon realised I didn’t need many hours to practise. Now I label this kind of mindless repetitions as ‘practice for feeding anxiety’ ( you think you are reducing the anxiety by repeating again and again but the effect is the opposite).

A motherhood for a musician is rather complicated if one doesn’t have enough support around you, but I’ve been constantly learning to be a better musician from the challenges, delights, and the endless concerns of raising a child.