Breaks help us recover the energy we lose during the intense practice hours or after demanding
activities such as concerts, recitals, and competitions. They also reinforce the knowledge we acquire during practice hours. Additionally, taken at the right time, breaks help us prevent or overcome injuries.
Perhaps you ask yourself how many breaks you need or how often you need them. If you feel guilty taking breaks, remember that work and rest must be kept in a balance. You should not reach exhaustion to understand their importance.
Breaks must be taken at the proper time and treated as seriously as work.
Let’s discuss the various types of breaks and their benefits.
Short breaks during practice hours
The frequency and length of breaks needed varies for everybody, which is why I encourage you to take as many breaks during your practice as you feel necessary. As a general rule, it is advisable to take a 10-minute break at least every 45 to 50 minutes of practice. If you feel you need it, you might even take a short 5-minute break after 20 or 30 minutes. Anytime you feel you’ve lost concentration and your mind is elsewhere, immediately stop for a minute or two. This very short break will help you remember what efficient practice means and will stop you from routine practice, which is counterproductive.
Medium breaks - from one day to several days
Even if it’s difficult to take a one-day break every week, I suggest you do so intentionally. That day can be Saturday, Sunday, or any day of the week, depending on your schedule. Perhaps you’re afraid that after the break your level will decrease or that you’ll lose your rhythm. Moreover, you might even feel guilty for this little “escapade.” I understand your fears, but I can confirm from my own experience that your level will not decrease; on the contrary, it will increase. All the information you have acquired during the practice hours will have time to become reinforced, and you will begin the week with more energy and more desire for playing. In short, you will be refreshed to begin again.
After demanding activities such as concerts, recitals, and competitions, a one-day break is too short. Ideally, you should take several days off to recover entirely after the effort you’ve made, both physically and mentally.
Long breaks - a few weeks
There are times when you may be forced to take longer breaks because of accumulated physical and mental exhaustion. Even when an imposed break of several weeks or months seems impossible, try to see it as a solution to your problem.
A long break is an efficient remedy in the case of injuries, chronic exhaustion, burnout, and depression. If you’re in one of these situations, you can contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll provide you some practical solutions to help you overcome them.