Leave your Practice Room by Blake Turner


In this edition of Wellness Wednesday, I wanted to touch briefly upon the importance of getting outside of the practice room and exploring activities that can make you a more well-rounded musician! As dedicated violists, we have to put in hours of practice time to maintain high performance standards. Practicing is a great endeavor, but as with most things in life, we need to maintain a balance between working with our instruments and doing other activities. Along this line, here are some activities worth pursuing outside of the practice room.


Treat yourself like the athlete you are! Professional athletes diversify their training so that they are fit across the board, and we should do the same. For example, basketball players don’t just play ball to stay in shape; they stretch, lift weights, run sprints, etc. The list goes on and on. The point is, in addition to practicing, we need to also exercise to stay in top condition. Working out doesn’t need to be a time-consuming activity either! Exercising for just 20–30 minutes a day can significantly boost your energy levels and help prevent injuries.

Blake & Jarita

Violists Blake Turner and Jarita Ng step outside of the Shepherd School’s practice rooms to throw a Frisbee.

Volunteer or Work as an Intern for an Arts Organization.

Many orchestras, museums, and other cultural organizations hire students as interns to help run their institutions. The work and preparation that goes on behind the scenes is often just as important as the performance on the stage. Interning can give you real-world experience learning about marketing, development, and fundraising, all of which are vital should you want to start your own organization someday. In addition, there is a great need for skilled and responsible Arts Administrators, so go out there and fill that void!

Become an Entrepreneur!

I am realizing more every day that entrepreneurship is an important part of developing a successful career as a musician. This doesn’t mean that you need to become the next Steve Jobs, but I believe that we should have the mindset of creating opportunities for ourselves and our colleagues, rather than waiting for a gig to come to us.

Maybe start a music series at local assisted living homes near your area. Not only would you be bringing joy to many people, but this would give you the chance to put your practice into performance. There are thousands of opportunities that you can create for yourself. If you would like to learn more on this topic, I highly recommend reading The Savvy Musician by David Cutler.

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