What do you do if you are a musical teen who doesn’t feel like practicing?
A parent once told me that if a kid doesn’t LOVE practicing, then studying music at some level is not for them.
She is an accountant, so I asked her, “Do you LOVE tallying numbers? Are you dying to get home right now so you can practice math?”
Her answer was no. And, I told her that music is no different. Sometimes we just don’t feel like doing the work. That is normal and perfectly okay.
But, what can a musician do when they don’t feel like practicing, but there are things they want to get accomplished?
First, don’t think about PRACTICING – the project of it, the length of it, the work of it, and the struggle of it. Thinking about all of those details will only bog you down and make matters worse.
I recommend convincing yourself to START. Tell yourself to just pull your instrument out and do one basic exercise. And, give yourself permission to stop if it feels really terrible.
Here’s what will happen: starting will be pretty easy. After that, momentum will kick in and you will do a couple of exercises, followed by putting a few minutes into an etude.
It might end there. Fine! You got a bit accomplished and didn’t take an unplanned day off.
Or, momentum might take over and you will end up in a productive practice session.
Feeling unmotivated is actually reverse momentum, and it can be very difficult to force yourself to switch directions. Deciding to stop doing nothing and START something else shifts the energy and the momentum just enough to get the ball rolling.
And, once that ball is rolling, your head will be clear enough to make a decision about how you would like to proceed.
A three-minute practice session is more productive than zero minutes. And, those three minutes will likely turn into more.