What to do when you can't do anything
I'll admit it - I am terrible at being ill. I have so many things to do that I find being stuck in bed hugely frustrating. What a terrible waste of my most precious resource - time. Fortunately, it's a rare occurrence, but I'm having one of those times right now - I pulled my back while I was teaching this week. A cough! Can you believe a single cough could put me in bed for two days? Other than indulging in excessive Netflix, social media and retail therapy, there are things I can do that will be a better investment of my time. So what can we do to further our musical skills when we're stuck in bed, unable to play or sing? Here are some ideas:
Listen to the music you're working on, following along with the score - what do you notice about the performance? How are they adding character, forming phrases, interpreting articulation, using words? Where do they breath? What do you like or dislike about their performance? Try a few different performers and compare their treatment of the piece. Make some notes for the next time you're able to play or sing.
Listen along to other music with a score - it's a useful skill to be able to follow the written music but it's also good to get inside it, rather than just listening. Try something in the same book as the pieces you're working on - or get out a score that's been gathering dust on the shelf.
Practise your scales - sounds crazy, but if you can't play your instrument, you can still practise fingering!
Work on your memory - if you're a singer, learn your words by listening to the songs or writing out the words a few times.
Get your theory book out - treat it like a puzzle book and work on a few different exercises.
Find something new to listen to - music streaming services like Spotify and Amazon music are great for this - see what they recommend or try a playlist. You might find something you love or a new piece to work on when you're better.
If it's an injury and your voice still works, try some exercises. A full sing may not work if you can't sit or stand - but you can hum and sing gentle exercises even if you're flat on your back (trust me!)
Enjoy the rest - we all deserve one every so often. the music will be there when you're feeling better!
Right...I'm off to take my own advice...well, maybe after this next episode of Star Trek....!