Pomodoro Technique

I’m working on becoming more productive. This summer has been a particularly terrific one for me – I learned 6 new pieces. Well, actually 3, but they were in two different languages. One set was in English, the second in Irish Gaelic, in which I’ve never sung before. I organized my practice time well, but I think I could do better. 
Today I read about the Pomodoro Technique, which was named after a Pomodoro Timer used by the creator to keep track of time. 
There are six steps in the original technique, found in this article in Lifehacker:
  1. Decide on the task to be done.
  2. Set the pomodoro timer (traditionally to 25 minutes).
  3. Work on the task.
  4. End work when the timer rings and put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
  5. If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a short break (3–5 minutes), then go to step 2.
  6. After four pomodoros, take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your checkmark count to zero, then go to step 1.
The stages of planning, tracking, recording, processing and visualizing are fundamental to the technique. In the planning phase, tasks are prioritized by recording them in a “To Do Today” list. This enables users to estimate the effort tasks require. As pomodoros are completed, they are recorded, adding to a sense of accomplishment and providing raw data for subsequent self-observation and improvement.
So, how can we use this for practicing? And do you need a timer shaped like a tomato? 
We all have timers. On our phone, on the microwave, everywhere. Maybe you don’t have 25 minutes in a row. Maybe you have ten minutes to do vocalises. Set the timer for ten minutes. Then do what else you need to do. Then go back and work on one song, and really focus on it for another ten minutes.
Another great source for time management, specifically for singers, is a podcast by a friend of mine, Megan Ihnen. It’s called Studio Class. The episode I listened to today was about “Diva Metrics,” and one of the things that really struck me was the idea of the Ten Minute Meeting. (Podcast also available on iTunes.)
Check it out and see what works for you. I’m going to start with the Ten Minute Meeting tomorrow morning and then do things later with the Pomodoro Technique.

There’s a lot to do before the fall semester begins! (Studio policies come to mind first!)

Published by Mezzoid Voice Studio

Christine Thomas-O'Meally, a mezzo soprano and voice teacher currently based in the Baltimore-DC area, has performed everything from the motets of J.S. Bach to the melodies of Irving Berlin to the minimalism of Philip Glass. As an opera singer and actress, she has appeared with companies such as Charm City Players, Spotlighters Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, Opera North, the Washington Savoyards, In Tandem Theatre, Windfall Theater, The Young Victorian Theater of Baltimore, and Skylight Opera Theatre. She created the role of The Woman in Red in Dominick Argento’s Dream of Valentino in its world premiere with the Washington Opera and Mary Pickersgill in O'er the Ramparts at its world premiere during the Bicentennial of Battle of Baltimore at the Community College of Baltimore County. Other roles include Mrs. Paroo in Music Man, Mother Abbess in Sound of Music, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, both Hansel and the Witch in Hansel & Gretel, and many roles in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Her performance as the Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha was honored with a WATCH award nomination. Ms. Thomas-O'Meally received an M.M. in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She regularly attends master classes and workshops in both performance and vocal pedagogy, and is certified in all three Levels of Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method. Her students have performed on national and international tours of Broadway productions, at prestigious conservatories, and in regional theater throughout the country.

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