A Heavy Load

Last week I blogged about altering my sleeping pattern in order to get more out of my day and keep up with my music goals. Here are the reasons why I decided to do this.


Every time I practice my accordion I always create more for myself to practice next time. I like to spend a bit of time improvising as this is such a great tool when it comes to composing. Most of my improvising tends to explore one idea such as a simple chord sequence and rhythm, and then coming up with new melodic ideas that go with this. I’ve also tried playing along to some of my favourite tunes and seeing if I can add anything new to the piece, or at least play the right notes. This combination is how I’ve been creating my parts for the 5 cover songs that we’re currently playing in the band which I joined. Each practice we seem to spend the last 15 – 30 minutes improvising to some simple chords and rhythms, but the rest of the time we work on these covers. As well as practicing these covers I also like to practice and develop the pieces which I’ve been writing for my accordion. I’m hoping to get them to a good enough level where I can play them busking in the summer. But it’s always good to have a few popular songs up your sleeve which people already know, so I’ve also started learning some solo accordion covers. Now this is already a lot of stuff to be practicing, so let’s increase the work load by changing instruments.

The piano. I’ve also noticed myself  improving on the piano and whilst I originally only practiced for 30 minutes to an hour a day, I can now easily sit in front of the piano for 2 hours straight. I’m still practising from the books that I have, but I’ve also been creating compositional ideas by playing around with different chord progressions and melodies, much the same as when I’m improvising on the accordion.

Then there are the online courses that I’ve been taking. I started out just doing one, then I increased it to four and now I’ve managed to get it down to two, which I’ll be keeping it at until probably around June. But that is not enough. I’ve got some music theory books which I’m also reading and working through, plus a tone of tutorial videos on how to use Logic Pro X, which I’ll be starting soon.

Now you can see why I’ve altered my sleep cycle!

Early To Bed…

In order to get where I want to go next year, I have to be very strict with my time. When I’m not working a full time job at my local cinema then I’m concentrating on my music. My daily tasks currently consist of practicing my accordion, learning the piano and learning lots of music theory. However, whilst at the beginning of the year,  this work load was quite light, it’s now getting pretty heavy to squeeze it all in.

I’ve therefore recently decided to be stricter with my sleep cycle. I did some research into sleeping and really liked the idea of polyphasic sleep where you only sleep for 2 hours a day by either having 30 minute naps every 6 hours, or 20 minute naps every 4 hours. Unfortunately, my job doesn’t really allow me to adopt this unusual sleep cycle, but my current sleep cycle definitely has room for improvement.

Normally I go to bed around 2am and sleep for around 8-10 hours. I do enjoy my sleep. However, some of that time could easily be spent awake with no adverse effects. In fact I find that at the moment if I sleep for too long then it becomes harder to get to sleep that night, and I can’t tend to do a lot of work after 1am so just end up watching TV for a few hours and then sleeping in even later the next morning. What an enormous waste of time!


So I’ve now set my alarm for 8am every morning. EVERY morning! And have limited myself to a maximum of 1 hour of TV a day. This doesn’t mean that I have to watch TV every day, some days I might not watch any at all, but if I do then I have to turn it off after an hour.

I always feel more productive in the mornings and so I’m confident this change will have a positive effect. As for the late nights, the early starts should mean I want to go to sleep earlier and therefore won’t be left awake long after everyone has gone to bed. And the time spent watching TV at night, could easily be spent in the morning practicing my accordion, learning the piano or developing my compositional skills and knowledge. It’s time to knuckle down!