I was recently involved in 6 shows (musicals, major concerts) that overlapped production schedules. In each case the directors/producers were kind and flexible enough with my part of the show to make it work— awesome — now to manage my own sanity! While my role for each of these shows varied – Music Director, Accompanist, Orchestrator…, the amount of musical material to learn was vast (over 250 songs to perform) . I was determined not only to have the correct music on my stand come show time (ha ha!), but to produce the highest level of musical performance with each group possible.
1) Have consistent predetermined times where you can be uninterrupted by distractions, phone calls, email, Facebook, etc… (seems obvious, right?) —my best and most productive time is first thing in the morning. My new routine is to wake up at 5am, have coffee and read until 5:30. Then I go to work with intense focus on one priority or musical endeavor for 90 minutes (this could be a set of songs from one musical, say Act 1, or it could be a smaller set of songs or even 1 difficult song). I learned this tip from productivity expert, Darren Hardy. He recommends using a count-down timer, setting it for 45 minutes, work like a mad dog, take a stretch break when the timer goes off, set it again and work another 45. I have found this to be extremely helpful, and I’m confident that I’ve accomplished more in a shorter amount of time by using the countdown timer found here.