What can you achieve in 100 days?
According to www.the100dayproject.com, "Creativity is a skill. The more we practice, the more skilled we become. Practice takes time. Practice takes commitment. Practice is a radical act in this speeded up world. Through practice, we develop a creative habit. Through habit, we reconnect with and know ourselves again as a creative being."
Think about that one thing you have always want to improve or the GOOD (or bad, I guess) habit you want to strengthen. What would your life look like if you committed to it for 100 days in a row? The following is a quote from www.lifehacker.com that I think sums up the whole point of a 100-day challenge:
Consistency transforms behaviors into habits. Adopting good daily habits can only happen if you consistently engage in those habits every day. One strategy to make good habits stick... is something called the 100 Day Challenge. Here’s how it works: for 100 days, focus on engaging in one activity for 100 days in a row. By the end of the 100 days that daily activity will become a daily habit. Engaging in an activity for 100 days helps create the neural network infrastructure necessary to forge a habit.
100 days is approximately 3 months. Have you ever consciously committed to doing something every single day for three months (or 100 days)? The 100 days challenge can be applied to so many different habit-forming activities. The use of this concept is wide-ranging and applicable to almost any facet of your life. What if you decided to make dinner at home every night for 100 days? What about if you put a little bit of money in savings every day for 100 days? What if you turned into a bike commuter for 100 days? What if you committed time to reading every single day for 100 days in a row? How would this change your daily life? What about your habits? What type of discipline would it take to follow through with your commitment?
In 2017, violinist Hilary Hahn took on the 100 Days Challenge as an exercise in practicing her instrument. She posted her progress and work on Instagram every single day. It was fascinating! Granted, Hilary Hahn is a top notch, best in the world violinist but what was so interesting was the type of work she documented. It wasn't just flashy passagework. It was thoughtful, careful, and full of personal reflection. She shared her thoughts in Strings Magazine and you can read that article here. The following is an excerpt from that article:
“The concept of the project was to show your process,” Hahn says. “You don’t have to worry about the result; it doesn’t have to be in great shape. You can show working on the same piece of art—you do a little bit of coloring one day, you spend 100 days on the same thing, or you could do sketches every day.” She wondered if there was something she could do for 100 days that would reveal something about her own artistic process. “So it just occurred to me: What do I do every day anyway? I practice.”
Her personal challenge set off a ripple effect in the music community and I found more and more musicians capturing scenes from their own practice and sharing them on social media. Hahn most appreciates how this project builds community in the music world. She notes that practice is often isolating and posting these videos on Instagram really engaged the community in unexpected ways. For those who want to take on the 100 Day Challenge her has a few words of advice:
"...Hahn advises starting as early in the day as possible; embracing the attitude that this project is about process, not perfection; and being ready to accept that 100 days won’t work for everyone, and there’s still value in a shorter period of time. “Things get in the way,” she says. “You do your best as an artist regardless of the circumstances and you just keep moving forward.”
After following Hahn's progress and process I decided to adopt this as a studio-wide challenge that will culminate with our Spring Recital. I am participating in this challenge too (it began for us on February 1st) and will be documenting some of my work on Youtube (yeah, I have a rarely used channel on there just search for Active Violinist) and on this blog. I will also be sharing some images and videos of my students too, so they can see their hard work paying off!
I have a few goals for this project: Improve my orchestra excerpts, learn some new shorter pieces, expand my technique, and conquer my solo Bach anxiety.
Charts and Certificates
I am a visual person. I like to see and document my progress, so I collaborated with my dear friend, the wildly talented artist, Meghan Irwin to devise a 100 Days of Practice chart for me, my students, your students, fellow teachers, habit formers, and fellow goal crushers to log their practice days. If you're not familiar with Meghan's work I suggest you check it out ASAP! What better place to look than her own website: www.meghanirwin.com
Following Hahn's "warning" that life happens, Meghan also created a set of gorgeous certificates celebrating 30-days, 60-days and 100-days of practice. I cannot stop staring at them. They are perfect and worth all of the effort it takes to earn them.
Certificates are a great way to reward progress along the way, and at the very end. I encourage you to buy the certificates as a set because they are beautiful, but also conquering 1 month, 2 months and 3+ months of work deserves some rewards along the way. If you are a teacher looking for ways to motivate your students I cannot recommend this challenge enough. All of my students are excited, and motivated by different elements of the challenge. Some of them want to beat me, some of them really want to "win," and some can't wait to finish their current music and move on to new songs.
All of these products are available in the Shop on my website. If you are a teacher, or wish to purchase in bulk (5 or more charts, or sets of certificates) drop me a line and I can offer you a better rate.