July 24, 2016 at 4:16 am #17152
How do you stay motivated while going through periods of not seeming like you’re progressing?July 24, 2016 at 5:17 pm #17177
Personally I like to think about and keep in mind some of the things I tried and gave up on in my earlier years. Some of them I regret having done so.
So when I get discouraged I just think out loud ” if I give up I’ll regret it later”. Then I go back to a piece that I play well and play it in a kind of Zen mode. Then I try to remember when I could not play it that well. This helps me remember that I AM making progress. Then I map out a plan for the next day to learn one new phrase or tune fragment. Something simple but satisfying. Then I leave it alone till then and try not to think about it at all. The next day when I pick up the violin I feel fresh and ready to be inspired.
Playing music is a worthwhile endeavor. It gives pleasure and builds character. In the words of an employer I had when I was an apprentice….” If it was easy anyone could do it”.July 25, 2016 at 1:35 am #17205
Well mostly it is my teacher that keeps me motivated- I feel so discouraged and tell her I don’t think I will ever learn to play at least well and she will remind me how far I have come – she also forbids me to use the word “can’t”August 4, 2016 at 4:45 pm #17452
I’ve found that my unrealistic expectations are a big source of discouragement. Looking at the progress I’ve made instead of beating myself up for not meeting unrealistic expectations goes a long way toward preventing discouragement. Also, sometimes what appears to be a plateau is really a process of solidifying progress made, which is needed to then go on to more difficult skills and material. Accepting what is instead of pushing helps.August 5, 2016 at 2:36 am #17456
I am currently discouraged because I haven’t been able to practice much, due to an extended illness. All I know to do is try to put it out of my thoughts and focus on the present. If I allow myself to be sidelined by discouragement, I’ll never get anywhere. I can see myself playing in a zen state in my head and, focusing on that when I am in a deep slump and focusing on the present doesn’t help, I can at least go on. Taking a short break of a few days when it gets too bad helps as well.August 5, 2016 at 3:39 am #17457
This is a great topic! I loved reading some of your answers as well. Staying motivated can be tough, especially if you don’t have a way to gauge your progress. I try to provide this for my students by taking video footage of their playing periodically. That way, when they are feeling discouraged, I can pull up a video from 6 months ago, or maybe a year.
Personally, I am a check list person. For my practicing, I do best with a weekly practice sheet where I plan out my goals for the week, and then check off my progress as I go. Those goals can range from “Minutes practiced” to “Learn 5 measure a day”.
It is always good to keep things fresh, providing yourself with inspiration. Attend a live concert or pull up some videos of your favorite violinists on YouTube. Remind yourself why you wanted to start playing in the first place!
Suzanne, Violin Tutor Pro Instructor