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Yes. I am a very spiritual person and grew up with a strongly spiritual household.

However, I do not worship the Devil you are probably thinking of; for most people, they ascribe Satan to the archetype of the Devil, but I do not. I do not worship Satan, although I have worked with him in the past.

Getting more specific, I worship Lucifer as the Star God of Greek and Roman Mythos.

Additionally, I worship him as the old Horned God of Witchcraft (not to be confused with Pan or Cernunnos) or alternatively the Horned King of the Fair Ones.

I hope that answers your question, but if you have any other questions do not be afraid to ask them. I do not mind within reason.

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Life lesson time…This lesson is called practicingpatience #lol #😂 #patience #teachingtolerance #stubborn #dogwalk turned into me carrying the dog and #dog #layingonthesidewalk #chiweenie #dachshundsofinstagram #mctyndall #tolerance #compassion #love #practice #love #gratitude #kindness (at San Francisco, California)

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It’s Wednesday night, and you’re scrolling through Tumblr on your computer when you realize tomorrow is Thursday and that means you have a lesson. You had one last week too, but in those short days between last Thursday and today, you only picked up your instrument to play one time. And that was to play meme tunes. You also got the marching band music for next season, which you should be trying to learn, but you haven’t even glanced at it yet. Something itches at your mind to go practice, but you can’t bring yourself to get off the couch.

I get it. A lot of us are finished with school for the year, and even more of us are still in self-quarantine due to coronavirus, which leaves virtually nothing to do because a lot of places are still shut down. And that means all the free time in the world. 

Us band students aren’t sure what next year will hold, because of everything that is up in the air. The pandemic cancelled a lot of the end-of-year activities we were all looking forward to, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start preparing for our musical return. Some marching band directors have already sent out music for next season, and others have held online auditions for chair placements. We may not know what next year looks like, or if we will even see our fellow band members until later in the school year, but many band directors have been preparing for the event that things change. And you should be, too. 

I am a flute player and I take private lessons through the summer to avoid the summer slump. I’m sure you are all familiar with it: we get out of school for a few months and no one’s around to tell us to practice our instruments, so we don’t. Unless you’re some sort of practice god, or maybe my friends and I are just huge procrastinators, I don’t know anyone who has been practicing regularly this summer. I am guilty of it, and until my lessons started, I hadn’t touched my flute in weeks. 

I am still in the process of overcoming my practice procrastination, but here are my top five tips that have helped me stay musically productive. Feel free to modify them so they better suit you, or you can omit some altogether, or add your own twist. 

Get a calendar. This can be a wall calendar, a big one that you put on your desk, or even just the app on your phone. All of them will visually remind you to practice. Using your calendar, mark off the days of the week that you need to practice, however many that may be. I try to practice four days of the week (Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays), and take the other days off. Starting small can help, or you can jump in headfirst and practice everyday of the week… though I wouldn’t recommend that. If you miss a few days when you’re starting out, go easy on yourself. Start practicing for fifteen to thirty minutes at a time, and if you’re up for it, practice longer.

Play old music or sight-read. *sighs nostalgically* Old music… I know many directors advise against using old music to practice, but if it motivates you to pick up your instrument, do it. Now, I’m not saying that you should spend all of your allotted practice time playing that song you played at your seventh grade concert. Which is why it’s a good idea to balance it out with some sight-reading. Groan, I know, but sight-reading is what increases your skill. I use the app Sight-Reading Factory, though I believe you need to use a school code to use it for free. It is a very good sight-reading app; you can customize what you would like to be shown in the sight-read and you can choose which level to practice at. Highly recommend!

Work those scales. Okay, I’m starting to sound like your band director… but SCALES are SO important to your skills as a musician. Once your fingers memorize those babies, you will literally be able to play anything. Key of A minor? Not a problem.

Talk to some of your band friends (safely). My band recently had a Zoom meeting where we literally talked about memes and music for over an hour. It was really fun, gave me a chance to catch up with my friends, and reminded me how much I love band. If you do not feel comfortable going out or seeing others quite yet, try group chats, FaceTime, or Zoom calls. Catching up with your friends can be beneficial to your motivation to practice… and maybe you can all practice together sometime.

Remember why you are a musician. I have played the piano since I was young, but learning to play the flute was totally new and connected me to people who also loved music the way I do. My life would be very different had I not joined my school’s band. Everyone has their reasons for why they love being a musician, but for me, it is the sense of belonging when I am with my band friends, and satisfaction when you play a piece perfectly or have a great practice session. Remembering how those feelings feel can motivate you to make it happen.

I hope these five tips have helped you beat the delay of practicing. We are all getting there one step at a time, and effort makes you both a stronger musician and person. Thank you for reading, and now… GO PRACTICE, GODAMMIT!

Love, mycupoftea

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