One of my favorite podcasters, and experts on making new habits, is Gretchen Rubin (http://www.GretchenRubin.com). Her book Better than Before explains how to make new habits and how to understand how you approach the process. It is full of useful tips – I highly recommend it.
As I have been planning my fall studio schedule and answering some questions from new parents about whether or not lessons will start the first week of school, I realized that one of the points in Gretchen Rubin’s book was my main argument for starting right away. The strategy of the clean slate . . .
The strategy of the clean slate explains the phenomenon that when we start a new routine (new job, new schedule, new school year) what we tend to do from the first day can be more easily turned into a habit because everything feels new and we are creating new routines that have yet to be established.
Gretchen Rubin writes “Any beginning is a time of special power for habit creation, and at certain times we experience a clean slate, in which circumstances change in a way that makes a fresh start possible-if we’re alert for the opportunity.”
You can read more about it on this blog post of Rubin’s http://gretchenrubin.com/happiness_project/2014/04/has-a-clean-slate-ever-led-to-a-major-habit-change-for-you/
And listen to her podcast on the subject:http://gretchenrubin.com/happiness_project/2015/09/podcast-29-why-elizabeth-and-i-lower-the-bar-use-the-clean-slate-to-change-habits-and-try-to-stop-wasting-food/
When a new school year starts and our schedule ramps up, it’s tempting to say “let’s get in the swing of things and get used to the school schedule, then will start practicing!”
Or to give students a week or two to adjust to the new routine before starting a regular practice routine. But, then we’ve missed this powerful opportunity to build a solid practice habit for the year.
To use the strategy of the clean slate – be sure you’ve mapped out when you will practice on each day of the week and at least get the instrument out and do a short session of practice during that time right from the start.
I think it’s fair to realize students might be tired that first week or two back but do a short session each day to build the habit from the start. You can extend the length of practice as your child hits their stride.
This way progress will still be made and you won’t have missed an amazing opportunity to use the clean slate of a new school year to establish the habit of daily practice.