How to be a better musician – stop playing

My very first fiddle teacher said if you just practice for 15 minutes every day, you will improve greatly. But what happens if you just stop playing for months at a time?…You will improve greatly!

As you can probably guess given my recent lack of words on this blog, I haven’t played my fiddle in quite some time, let alone visited a session. During the summer it’s always hard to practice because there are so many other things I could be doing outside under the sunshine. Since we don’t get much sunshine in the great state of Vermont we got to eat up that Vitamin D while we can.

But tonight though, I broke out that fiddle, dusted off some tunes and went to the monthly session at On The Rise Bakery. I was reminded of just how much I love this music and how much fun sessions are. It inspired me to review that ever-growing list of tunes to learn and start practicing.

I’m pretty sure every musician goes through these little hiatuses every now and again, where you don’t play a note for weeks or even months and when you get back to it, not only does it feel good, but there is a new love for your instrument and the music. As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder. When I return to playing it seems I love the music even more.

So if you find yourself in a rut, and you don’t feel like you’re getting any better, take a break, take up painting, biking, hiking or something completely not music related. I can almost guarantee when you get back to playing you’ll wonder why you stopped in the first place.

2 thoughts on “How to be a better musician – stop playing

  1. Katrina – thanks for making me feel better! I played little to none all summer as well and have been beating myself up for it. When I finally sat down to a kitchen session a couple weeks ago, I had more fun and thought I sounded better than when I had last played. A break was definitely a good thing for me. Good to see you at the bakery. Hope to see you at a kitchen session soon…

  2. Hi Katrina,

    I totally agree that sometimes the best thing to do is leave some distance. But like anything, too much elapsed time wears away at your skill. When I was younger, I took a 1 year hiatus from playing the drums and it greatly affected my skill level. It took me a solid month of playing everyday to build my chops back up.

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