The Perfect Practice Space
Sometimes the creative personality is stereotyped as an unstable, disheveled and disorganized individual. However, having a clean and organized environment will help anyone during the creative process. For musicians especially, having a workspace that is well thought out and stocked with necessary tools is essential to success – and maintaining sanity.
A Dedicated Space
Creativity is a singular experience. You can probably remember the moment when that perfect lyric or chord change struck you, and how magical it was; it was all you could focus on the rest of that day. If you want to get in the zone, creatively speaking, developing a sanctuary for that purpose is ideal. Clean out that spare room or make space in the garage or shed. If possible, see about renting a rehearsal space. If you do a little searching, you may be able to find a shared room at reduced cost. Decorate the space to your liking – rugs, posters, candles and artwork may help inspire you and make you feel at home. Have your stereo, turntable or mp3 player with capable speakers ready so you can listen to the music that inspires you. Consider getting a mini fridge so you can have on-site refreshment; all in all, make this a place you want to be and can stay in for a long time.
Know the Tools of Your Trade
Are you a vocalist? Get a microphone or two, and make sure you have a stand for them. Guitar player? Have picks, strings, and a tuner handy. Even if you don’t use them often, pick up a capo to experiment with or try using a slide. For anyone playing any instrument that plugs in, either direct or to an amplifier, consider obtaining a looper device that allows you to record and accompany yourself. Doing so will help improve your timing, technique and phrasing. Sheet music stands are relatively cheap and can be used for things other than their intended purpose, serving as a maraca or violin bow holder. Having a PA will allow you to practice with others at gig volume, and there are several inexpensive, portable options to get you started.
Keep It Simple
Don’t go overboard buying a bunch of gear or cramming your sanctuary with everything music related you can think of. Make it a place where you can think straight and take a few steps without tripping over cables. Pick up a cheap plastic storage drawer to organize your notebooks. Have a few chairs or a sofa to relax in, and a desk to write on. Make sure you have plenty of available outlets, but don’t jam them full of power cords. Consider the fact that others may join you in this space from time to time – make it a place where guests will be comfortable.
Now that you’ve got your practice room organized, you can get to the important part – creating music. Above all, it’s the art that matters, so don’t get flustered if you can’t have a separate, dedicated space right away. If you only have a room, dedicate a corner of it for your music. If your piano is in the living room, find time to rehearse when you’re alone and can let loose. Just make sure you have a place you can go to make the magic – even if that just means closing your eyes.
About the author: Jack Stokes loves soft pretzels and all things music.