Musical pursuit, the great paradox…
(Warning this is actually a PSA about practicing)
Practicing your instrument can be hard—it might be the last thing you want to do—but the rewards are so great for your mental health, your musical ability, and more!
What makes musical pursuit (aka practicing) a paradox? What I go into kicking and screaming, I come out of feeling calm, accomplished, and just good about myself. Sometimes I just don’t feel like practicing because I’m too stressed or not in the right frame of mind. But when I’m done, after 10 minutes or 2 hours, I feel so much better and have a calmer outlook on life in general. Regardless of how the actual practice session went, I got through it. I persevered and that, sometimes, is accomplishment enough.
I know there are scientific studies that prove what I have experienced. You know the ones, “this is your brain, this is your brain on music” kind of articles. But, I don’t feel like looking it up. If you want more tangible proof than my experience, than get your google search on!
This is what I know.
I know I should practice. I need to—to improve, to be a good student, and to be a better teacher. But, it’s just so hard. Why is it hard to get started?
Some barriers for me are:
- a lack of motivation (just don’t feel like it, justified by a lack of upcoming performances)
- hard to find the time as other things are competing for my time (in my case the toddler, the twin babies, the husband, the phone, or even the cat).
- not sure how to start paralyzes my ability to just do it
If I actually just start and deal with any distractions in stride, the rewards are great.
What are the rewards?
- I have just given myself some much needed “me” time. This need applies to people of all ages. In this era when Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, or Sub-your-favorite-social-media-site-here eat up more of our time than we know or care to admit, “me” time is even more important. And perusing those sites as a form of “relaxation” is not a thing. Invest in yourself!
- I have relieved some stress. Stepping away from the multi-tasking rat race and single-mindedly focusing on one pursuit is so liberating.
- I have accessed portions of my brain I may not otherwise exercise.
- I have made more progress as a musician (whether it be great or small progress).
These barriers and rewards are mine, based on my own experience. But I guarantee if you’ve been a musician for any length of time you have experienced all of them. If not, just wait, you will.
Paradoxes are cool, how one thing can be two opposite things at the same time. Practicing music, being an active musician, is no different. Don’t over think it or excuse your way out of doing it. Just grin and bear it at first and reap the great rewards!
Check back in with the blog for specific tips to optimize your practice time, whether you have a lot or a little bit of time!