Practice Tip of the Week:
Don’t Get Frustrated

It goes without saying that when you practice music,
you are trying to play things that you don’t currently
know how to play. Practicing music is about taking musical
information that is currently unfamiliar and slowly working
it into something familiar.

Unfortunately, tackling unfamiliar topics is frustrating for
most people, and musicians are no exception.

What if musicians expected to feel frustrated sometimes?
If frustration is expected, then you won’t let it get the
best of you.

When you begin to feel the slightest bit of frustration,
you can recognize what is happening and nip it in the bud.
You can say to yourself, “I’m outside of my comfort zone
working on this new material. It’s no big deal. That’s
what practicing is all about.”

If you find that frustration is getting the best of you,
then it may be time to move on to something new, maybe some
music that is already familiar and fun.

If switching songs doesn’t do the trick, take a break. It’s
fine to walk away from the source of your frustration. When
you feel calm again, return to the task and approach it with
a fresh start.

We must always remember that mastering a musical instrument
is a process that takes time and patience. Be realistic about
how much you can get accomplished at any one practice session.
And, cut yourself some slack!

As David G. Myers says in his book The Pursuit of Happiness,
“Although we often overestimate how much we will accomplish in
any given day, we generally underestimate how much we can accomplish
in a year, given just a little progress every day.”

Musicians need to be reminded of this pearl of wisdom at each and
every practice session.

Don’t get frustrated. It’s not worth it.

To Your Musical Success!

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Thank you to everyone who emailed last week. Your
ideas help guide these Practice Tips and the
Molto Music blog.

What are you struggling with when you play your
instrument?

Contact me and let me know.

–David Motto, Molto Music

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