It’s no secret that musicians are familiar with the word “practice.” From the time you begin learning your instrument to the time you’re a master, you’re constantly told that consistent practice is the way to success. And it’s true! Famous musicians everywhere will tell you tales of the countless hours they’ve put into their craft. It’s hard work.
But we’ve all had those days where we don’t feel like practicing. And sometimes those days turn into weeks, months, and maybe even years. So, it’s important to learn how to keep yourself motivated early on in your music learning. In this article, we’re going to share with you 8 ways you can push through the practice slump!
Create a Practice Schedule
Keep in mind that not everyone functions the same way, and what some musicians may need, others may not. If you’re a consistently busy person, always on the move, creating a practice schedule might be a good way to keep yourself accountable.
It can be easy to put practice off or try to fit it into some free time, only to get caught up in another task. Creating a schedule for yourself will make practicing your instrument a priority. It might be at the same time every day, or you may have different windows of time, depending on the day. Schedule your practice time like you would schedule a class at school or a meeting at work.
If you’re taking lessons from a teacher, you may have obvious goals, like learning a piece for a recital or competition. However, if you’re practicing on your own, your goals might not be as clear.
First, set some big-picture goals. Maybe you want to learn a piece in a month or memorize it in two. Second, set some smaller goals for each practice session. This can be helpful even if you have a teacher! Whether you want to tackle that tough passage on page three or memorize the first twelve measures of a piece, commit to completing your practice session upon completion of the goal. As a result, you don’t have to look at your practice session as a certain amount of time, but rather as a goal to complete.
Change up the Repertoire
As some point or another, we’ve all encountered a piece of music we just didn’t like. One of the best ways to stay motivated to practice is to choose pieces you want to learn!
If you’re taking lessons, don’t be afraid to talk to your teacher and ask for some new material. Your teacher may want you to learn a particular set of skills, but above anything, they want you to love music.
If you’re learning on your own, you can always take a break from a piece or two to learn something you really enjoy. Don’t feel guilty about learning something a little easier than your current level, and even better, accept the challenge if it’s more advanced!
Book a Gig
If you’re a musician that simply needs a deadline, a great way to motivate your practice is to book a gig or performance. The pressure of an audience waiting to hear you perform is likely to keep you accountable in your practice! And remember, practicing music is not like studying for a test. You can’t just cram the night before!
Because practicing is a part of most musicians’ routines, it can be easy to forget to reward yourself.
Keep track of your accomplishments. When you complete a goal or have a really successful practice session, take yourself out for ice cream, see a movie, grab a new pair of shoes, or anything else that makes you happy! Don’t lose sight of the fact that you’re working hard and working towards something.
Take a Break
Like we said before, musicians are always hearing how important it is to practice. Even though it’s true, the pressure to practice every day can turn into a weight on the shoulders in the blink of an eye.
It’s okay to take a break. There. We said it! There will be days that you can’t practice, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Don’t feel like just because you missed a day or two that your whole career is going down the drain, because it’s absolutely not. Life happens to everyone, so if you miss a day, you miss a day. Spend an extra five minutes warming up when you get back to your instrument and keep moving forward.
In the same way, it’s okay to take breaks during your practice session. If you’re getting particularly frustrated with a passage or are feeling tired and unfocused, don’t be afraid to get up and do something else for a few minutes. Clear your mind and come back to your practice once you’re feeling refreshed.
Get an Accountability Partner
Sometimes we just need a little nudge from someone else. Whether you want that reminder from a friend, a parent, a spouse, or a fellow musician is up to you!
You may even want to practice with someone else. For example, if you have to travel to a practice room, grab a friend, and commit to practicing at a specific time. Just like many people use a workout buddy, having someone with similar goals to tag along can be a great motivator.
We’ve all looked at a messy room and thought, I really need to clean this, but it’s going to take so long… Of course, the result is to put it off and deal with it later. And we all know that later means much, much messier.
It can be very easy to approach practicing in the same way. Instead of looking at how much you have to do or how long you’re about to spend practicing, just focus on the start. Whether it’s a slow warm up or playing through an old piece, once you get started, your mind will shift gears. In no time at all, you’ll be plugging away at your practice and making progress! They key is just to start.
-Beats Central Team
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