Motivation Archive

Musicians are always looking for constant improvement in their skills and in their performances. This is no different than what athletes go through. You’ve got to dedicate yourself to some sort of daily workout, keep your eyes on the long-term prize, and be persistent. I coach a lot of musicians, and I make sure they […]

Music students often set themselves up for feelings of failure when they tackle a new task.  They think the task will be easy, and, when they find out that it’s actually quite challenging, they question their own abilities rather than rationally looking at the difficulty of the task itself. Here’s a perfect example: transcribing.  For anyone unfamiliar […]

 I’ve seen how one small change in musicians’ thinking can have profound effects on their motivation, ability to achieve goals, and their overall mood.  That change is eliminating the word “should” from thoughts and words.  Sounds simplistic, right?  How can getting rid of one word have such a big effect on musicians’ lives? The word […]

Are master musicians born with their skills intact?  Some musicians say it was inevitable that Mozart or Stevie Wonder would rise to the top of their professions.  Others believe musical skills are only acquired through a singular dedication to daily work. Being born with a certain genetic predisposition toward something (Nature) does seem necessary for […]

Here’s some good motivation for practicing a musical instrument every day:  Playing music may actually make you smarter!  Research done by neuroscientist Gottfried Schlaug at Harvard has come up with some fascinating results about how the brains of musicians are different than the brains of non-musicians.  Apparently, playing a musical instrument rewires the brain to give musicians advantages that will […]

Many musicians give themselves rewards for meeting and achieving goals.  Getting a reward is a wonderful incentive for achieving your goals. What do you do if you DON’T meet your goal?  Is there any consequence?  Without a consequence, many musicians don’t have enough of an incentive to truly do what it takes to achieve their […]

Practicing Music on Thanksgiving?

  Today is Thanksgiving.  In the spirit of the holiday, let’s all be thankful for the opportunity we have to play music.  Whenever we don’t feel like practicing or rehearsing, we should think of everything we love about playing music.  Focusing on the positive aspects of being a musician will keep us motivated. Think of what a […]

I Would Rather Play Music

When I’ve introduced my students to the concepts included in my recent blog Playing Music vs. Practicing Music, many of these students thought my ideas were, how can I say this, stupid. They have told me that saying you’re “playing” instead of “practicing” doesn’t change anything in the real world.  You still have to put […]

Managing Expectations

While mastering a musical instrument, you need to make sure that you’re ready for days when forward momentum is not obvious.  You need to trust the practice process and know that incremental changes are always happening.  These small changes are leading you closer to your performance goals–but the changes may be too small to notice […]

One of the main issues with practice motivation is getting a practice session started.  Most musicians enjoy practicing once they’re actually doing it.  Your goal is to eliminate the barriers that stop you from playing your instrument. Keeping your instrument hidden away is one of the barriers you’re trying to do away with in your […]