Take a Break

Make the most of those precious minutes of rest time during practices to relax your mind and body.

Sometimes people forget that resting when doing physical activities is important. Long practices combined with a school day or other activities can cause the body to get fatigued. Taking breaks for water and rest is important for the health of your body and your general well being.

When breaks are given during practices, make sure to use them instead of continually going over patterns and playing your instrument. Realize that your instructors have factored in time for practice—and rest.

Repair Muscle

Resting facilitates muscle growth. As when other athletes lift weights, resting between repetitions is important to prepare the body for the next set. Additionally, muscles heal better when athletes take days off between workouts, just like there are days when you have shorter practices and do not go through the entire show.

During breaks, it might be appropriate to do a bit of light stretching to release any tension that is typical from holding an instrument or standing for lengthy periods of time.

Relax Your Mind

Being a marching musician requires physical strength and stamina as well as mental muscles. When you relax, your mind is more able to process information into long-term memory. For example, resting can help with music memorization just like sleep is needed before an academic test.

Replenish

Additionally, make sure to hydrate during your breaks. Drink water and some kind of sports drink, if appropriate for your body, in order to replenish your body’s fluids during long practices. You could even eat a light snack to replace nutrients. If you have any kind of medical needs, make sure to use your breaks to attend to those needs.

Mirror Performance Days

Taking breaks also helps prepare you for performance days, which often involve a fair amount of waiting. Resting during rehearsals helps simulate a competition, which will allow the body to better get into performance mode on performance days. When the body gets into performance mode, the heart rate usually increases, so make sure to rest before and after performances to allow the body to return to a normal state.

If you just have a short break, taking a minute to sit, close your eyes and take three to five deep breaths can really settle the mind and body.

About the author

Haley Greenwald-Gonella

Haley Greenwald-Gonella is a certified registered yoga teacher (200 RYT) with Yoga Alliance. She began dancing at the age of 3 and played flute and bassoon while growing up. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with degrees in dance and English. She has her master’s degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts) from the University of Southern California. In addition, Haley is a director focusing on technology and innovation in the beauty sector.

A photo of Claire Wilcox.

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