Now that we are heading into March, I am hearing from lots of folks who are frustrated with their lack of progress in their music study in practice. In this article, I break down what to do when you’re overwhelmed with your music practice and show you six ways to get back on track.
I recently shared this list with my Versatile Musician members, as a way to help them get back on track if they have been feeling a bit stuck. I hope it helps you too!
What to do when you’re overwhelmed with your music practice
Write down what you need to learn.
Are you desperate for piano skills to support your songwriting? Need to learn jazz piano? Trying to get your musicianship skills together? Make a CLEAR list of what you want to accomplish, so you’re not just chasing your tail.
Write down your “why” – WHY do you want to learn this?
Is it so you can better support your students? Is it to fulfill a lifelong dream? Whatever it is, write it down and keep it in your practice area. Whenever you feel blah about practicing, your “why” will help keep you motivated.
(I have a photo of my hero Oscar Peterson, so every time I sit down at the piano I can see him. Super motivating!)
Get organized with your practicing.
One thing that can really keep us from getting into regular music practice is disorganization. It can make the idea of rolling up our sleeves really unappetizing. Take an hour and get yourself organized.
Download or print the music or material that you’re working on, make sure you have your login information saved and you have an easy way to access all of your information. Have a pencil and your headphones nearby. Make it uncomplicated to sit down and get down to business.
Make your practice space cozy.
I have been doing this lately for myself. I’m not a visual person or someone who is into decorating, but I have been working to get my workspace feeling more settled. I bought some fake plants from Target (they’re not tacky, I swear!) and have been careful to keep my space clutter free. It makes a difference!
Simplify your time
Listen, I get how insane life can be. I’m running this platform, teaching privately and homeschooling my kid. It’s a LOT. One thing that has helped me stay on track is to really simplify what I am taking on. I say no to a lot of things. I try to put my phone down/turn the tv off whenever I can. Simplifying my time means I can focus on what is important.
A little goes a long way
You will be shocked to discover how much you can get done in 20 minutes a day. Seriously. You don’t have to wait until you have an hour of free time (does that even exist?!?). Committing to a teeny-tiny 20 minutes a day to do something will really do wonders.
Go easy on yourself.
If you have a bad day or week or even MONTH where you don’t practice much (or at all!) DO NOT beat yourself up about it. Seriously. It will just make things worse. (I love this article by my web designer bestie Janelle Reichman about forgiving yourself.)
Be kind to yourself and remember that you can sit down and get back to it any time. Maybe even today. Maybe even right now. Little steps that you take every day will get you there.