Every musician at some point reaches a plateau in their playing. During this plateau, we aren’t really that motivated to practice, or learn new music and sometimes it seems like a chore just to open up the case and tune the darn thing.
This happens at least once a year for me. During this “dark time” as I call it, I always feel like my playing is actually getting worse. This of course, discourages me from playing or practicing at all.
But each time this happens I take a short break from my music and then push myself back into it. And most of the time when I do, I actually find I’m just little bit better.
Here are some ideas to help you work through the plateau and become a better musicians because of it.
- Use the buddy system – Find a friend to play with and work on a tune-set a week (thanks Shaun for the idea). When you have someone counting on you to learn a tune you’re more likely to push through and practice.
- Take a music class of a different genre – Sometimes learning to play music of another genre can actually help refine your skills in the genre you’re playing in. Plus you get to meet new people and hear new music. Find a community music school in your area like The Summit School for Traditional Music, that offers a variety of music classes at a reasonable price. There’s plenty out there.
- Schedule practice time – Sometimes just writing it down and scheduling it forces you to be diligent about making time to play.
- Visit a local session without your instrument – Just go and listen. Try to see it from an outsiders perspective. You might be reinvigorated by listening to things you might not have heard had you been playing.
- Perform – Nothing motivates me more than when I have a gig to play for. It forces me to practice.
Feel free to leave me your ideas in the comments section. Now…go practice your instrument! Happy playing!