One common trick used by organization experts can be helpful for musicians:

Keep everything in one place.

In everyday life, this concept helps people who are constantly losing personal items, such as their keys. The time spent searching for the lost items can never be recovered, and the search is always frustrating.

To rid people of this frustration, professional organizers advise keeping everything you need to leave the house in one place–and to make it the same place every time.  After all, if your keys, wallet, sunglasses, iPod, and cell phone are all together, the likelihood of misplacing any one of these items is almost zero.  You simply pick them up and leave the house without giving it any thought.

The same trick should be used by musicians in their practice area: Put your tuner, metronome, pencil(s), clock/timer, sheet music, and Musician’s Practice Planner notebook all in a single place.

Choose this place carefully and be consistent. A single drawer, a specific shelf, a small table, or a second music stand will do. But, make it a habit of always placing all your music accessories there. Do NOT keep items on the floor and hope to find them easily in the future.

Every instrument has special accessories. These items tend to be small and often get misplaced. Whether it’s valve oil, rosin, guitar picks, drum keys, or reed cases, be sure these items are always kept with your other music accessories.

Better yet, have two (or more) of each of these items. You can keep one set in your practice space and the other set in your instrument case or gig bag.

You don’t ever want to go hunting for the small music gear needed for practicing. The annoyance caused when you misplace any of this equipment can be enough to derail your practicing.

I’ve had students tell me that they actually skipped practicing on a day when some item went missing. Even though they probably could have gotten by without the missing accessory, they became too angry to even start their practice session.

This one organizational trick may save you from suffering a similar fate. Keep your music accessories together in one place so you can begin playing quickly and easily. Then, you’ll be able to focus on what really matters: today’s practice goals.

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