We’ve all done it. We’ve picked up our instrument, tried playing through an old song or a new phrase that we were struggling with, sighed and then put our instrument back down. Nothing worthwhile comes free. Even music, something so fundamental to our culture, our way of life and our entertainment, has it’s challenges in learning and embracing at times. Not one person ever said learning music was easy, and it’s not just a linear path to success, but I can guarantee it’s worth it.
From my years learning instruments and being surrounded in the local music industry, I can guarantee you that every single musician, no matter if they are the best of the world or just beginning to learn, has felt this slump in their progression. What determines the people taking their sounds and musical progression forwards from the people who are letting their instruments collect dust is their ability to keep their focus during this slump and to reignite thier excitement to practice. If you do so and can pull through that slump, you will reveal yourself to a whole wonderful industry and world of opportunity, whether it’s to take yourself to performing live or to just build up your musical confidence and enjoyment at home.
So I’ve compiled some tips and tricks to keep yourself enjoying music so that on the days or weeks that you’re just not feeling it, you’ll still have some music to look forward to.
Take the time to go over your skills and progress to set yourself some mid-term goals. Now I know a lot of people will read that and say that it doesn’t sound exciting at all but trust me, a lot of people learning music reach a point where they’re pratcicing stuff at a level they’ve already surpassed, just for the sake of practicing. Whether this is being stuck playing songs in the same key or always improvising within the same scale, it can really lead to a stagnation in your progress and a feeling of going nowhere despite the practice you’re putting in.
However, if you look over what you know and identify where you want to be in a month’s time, then you can start to set challenges and new practice routines to push yourself out of your comfort zone and into new amazing sounds. So instead of practicing that same natural minor scale improvisation agin, set a goal to learn the modes and build confidence in playing them. You can also talk to your tutor about any goals you have and they will be able to tailor your lesson programs to help you achieve those goals quicker and with more success.
Having those mid-term goals also gives you an amazing sense of achievement. To know that you are able to do something you couldn’t do before disbands any feelings of stagnation and lets your accomplishments fuel your motivation to keep improving and working towards the next goal.
Mix things up in your practice
Another thing that we often do to take the excitement out of practice is to structure it the same way every day with a priority on the things we least enjoy. This can easily eliminate our excitement to get into practice on a daily basis and is often hard to avoid as those things that we least enjoy can be major parts of learning an instrument.