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Hey First name / friend, it's Tiffany! 
 
Today, I have a life update and some hopefully helpful thoughts about practice design - with a free download. 🎉 
 
First - I am in a transitional moment! My husband and I moved to San Francisco last summer, but I continued in my role as the clarinet professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA throughout this academic year. I loved getting another year with my students, although the traveling was a bit nuts and I also started another full time job at Cal Performances, the performing arts presenter at Berkeley, in January. 
 
Needless to say - January to April were a whirlwind.
 
My last official day teaching at VCU was April 29. The next day, I flew from Richmond to see my family for a few days and then came back to San Francisco. 
 
Once I landed I felt simultaneous relief to not have so many balls in the air and a bit of an identity crisis. 
 
I’ve been working a long time to have that clarinet professor title - but it was time for change and my husband had a really wonderful opportunity in SF. Plus, on top of it all, the end of a school year always brings with it feelings of “what now?!”, at least for me! 
 
The best thing I knew to do was focus on giving myself some much needed self care for a little bit. 
 
I worked with a trainer in Richmond and had been missing that focused activity so much – so I found a new gym and trainer a few blocks from our apartment. It’s wonderful and I’m so grateful for my new coach and the resources to get some help feeling like myself again. 
 
However, what’s really struck me about starting with this coach, though, is the programming. He’s the most methodical coach I’ve had, and it has made me think so much about practice design!!!
 
One of the first things we’ve looked at are my bench presses. Yes, I need to get better at them. 
 
So what does my coach do? Spells out that we need to:
  1. Increase my shoulder mobility
  2. Gain chest strength
  3. Work on overall power
 
He clearly stated that in order to get better at a bench press, we aren’t just going to do a bunch of bench presses. Because it’s not the most efficient way to get better. 
 
Then, we put those 3 skills into a timeline. What’s my weakest skill out of those that needs the most attention? What other skills/activity do I need to continue while working on this skill? And then, what’s our 3 month goal,  1-month goal,  weekly goal, and what are we focused on in this session? 
 
All I could think about when we were organizing the plan is that this is SUCH AN EFFECTIVE MODEL for practice design! I’ve naturally gravitated towards this thinking, but, I definitely found new clarity when I was trying to relate it to a specific fitness plan. 
 
There’s extensive research in fitness, kinesthetics, the body, weightlifting, sports, nutrition just to name a few. Yet, musicians are just not the best at looking to other disciplines for answers. 
 
But, we’re going to change that today. Let’s equate this all to practice. 
 
We all know that practice alone does not guarantee improvement just as time in the gym doesn’t equal getting stronger. You’ve probably heard that concept around the internets. 
 
But, if practice doesn’t guarantee improvement, what does? 
 
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In today's blog post, we break down a model for practice design that will help answer the question of what really leads to improvement. We cover a practice design concept based on these ideas: 
  1. What exercise/repertoire do I need to improve? [For now, pick 1!]
  2. What specific skills are needed to improve them?
  3. What measurable goals can I set to determine if I have improved?
  4. How can I design a timeline that addresses those skills specifically and intentionally in my practice?
  5. How can I analyze if it worked?
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Arguably the most important lesson here is that we must find the discipline and clarity to be intentional. If we can do that, boy is anything possible. 
 
Okay, last, a 🎁 . We've also got a free download for you! Getting Started with Practice Design - so that you can start applying this immediately to your own life! 
 
Found this helpful? Have questions? Need help? Just reply! 
 
Much love, 
Tiffany & Ixi
 
 
ps: Check out the blog post and download your freebie - both about getting started with practice design! And then come to the workshop about practice design on Saturday May 28 @ 11am ET led by me, Tiffany!
 
 

EXPLORE MORE
 
May 28 @ 11am-12:30pm ET
We're digging into practice design and so much more, targeted at clarinet players!  
$15 / free for Thrive members!
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Practice Design TRUTH BOMB!
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Don't forget! The Thrive Membership Summer Session (May-Aug) is open until May 31!
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