Your bliss station!

So I started teaching again yesterday.

Online now, via Skype, WhatsApp or Facetime. And so for the first time I have got to see the instruments on which each student practices. And parts of the room in which each instrument lives. And the chairs on which the students sit. And the level of noise and distraction in the room.

And it has been fascinating. Because while some students have an ideal practice setup, others don’t. And this can have a big influence on the quality of the practice you get done.

Austin Kleon, in his aptly-titled book Keep Going, tells us in Chapter 2 to Build a ‘Bliss Station’, a title he got in turn from Joseph Campbell, who wrote as follows in his book The Power of Myth.

“You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you”.

If you can have a room and a certain hour each day, well then you’re in bonus territory, but having at least one is important to being creative – whether that’s getting your piano practice done efficiently, writing a book, or coming up with your latest masterplan!

So – some tips, for your bliss station – be it the place you practice or the place you create…

  1. Minimize distraction. Don’t face a window. Make sure no-one else comes into the room for the length of your practice/creative time. And PUT YOUR PHONE ON AIRPLANE MODE.
  2. Say no. If someone asks you to do something that interferes with this time or space, just say no.
  3. Be comfortable. Make sure the chair/stool is the right height for the piano or desk.
  4. Be smart. If your practice requires you to listen/watch, have the speaker/laptop/iPad beside the piano, so that you don’t have to keep getting up and down.
  5. Reflect. Maybe a good use of this extra time many of us now have would be to have a look at our own particular bliss station and see how we can improve it.