How To Stay Motivated with Music [Warning: Tough Love]

 Aiden picking up his guitar to perform on stage (2016)

This article is also available via audio - just click on this link.

 

So you have started music lessons for a year now, and there are times where you will rather not play.

There could be other people telling you to practice for your next music lesson.

Or you could just not feel motivated enough to practice, distracted by video games.

 

This article is for you if you are a parent or student is looking for specific strategies to stay with your instrument. You may be in ‘music lessons limbo’, and wonder ‘what’s next’.

 

Just know we speak from a place of care, and genuinely want you to enjoy yourself in your music lessons. But these are difficult questions – call it ‘tough love’ questions – that you sincerely need to address if you feel uninspired.

 

For parents

 

If you notice that your son or daughter is not practicing to the level you expect, you must ask them why. These questions get to the root of the problem:

  1. Why did you first want to learn this instrument?
  2. Do you find anything too hard/easy?
  3. Do you understand what to do? (how do they learn best*)

 

If your first response is: “I don’t want to push them”, you may want to consider these two ideas:

  • They may just need to be held accountable to keep going (they want to, but haven’t kept the habit from lesson to practice)
  • They really don’t feel like it (and if they haven’t been practicing, may never feel like it with this instrument)

 

Earlier this week, I noticed 2 students who arrived at their music lessons without any practice done. Whilst they appeared enthusiastic, they commented that they did not practice because they didn’t know ‘how to practice’.

 

“My parents didn’t tell me when to practice”

 

If this sounds like you, then ask us how to practice.

And we can definitely advise you on how to build structure and routines around practice for music lessons.

We know from experience that once students start achieving, their confidence grows, producing a snowball effect on how fast they learn, and how inspired they are to perform.

The last thing that we would want, is for people to drop out of music lessons, because they did not feel supported.

 

For students

 

  1. Are you learning an instrument to impress someone else?
  2. Are you bored of learning?
  3. Or are you just too lazy and tired to practice?

 

I know personally how it feels to have all the above questions in my head.

Like any habit, I found it very hard to embed music into my lifestyle in high school.

I always used the excuse: “I’m way too tired to practice today”.

 

But then I asked myself two questions:

 

“How does playing music make me feel?”

“Is playing music worth it?”

 

  • For me, music is a way I can be myself, and share my story to the world.
  • Music is also a language that I can speak to others, and a way of relating and connecting with others.
  • For these two reasons, I continue to listen, learn or play some form of music daily and weekly.

 

Action Steps

 

One strategy you can get inspired, is just by surrounding yourself with more musicians, as well as different types of music. This way, learning music is about how you connect to your friends and loved ones.

 

Another way you can get inspired, is to communicate with your teacher (a key point brought up by Fernando Sanchez of Musico Express in a previous article).

Ask your teacher for more.

Say to your teacher that you’re bored.  

Or get out of the rut, grab a chair, and start practicing.

 

Confucius once said that “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a simple step”.

Practice. Even if it is 5 minutes per day.

And build the discipline to keep going, even when the going gets tough.

 

Desire reveals design, but discipline determines destiny.

You may want it, but you got to put in the work to get better.

 

If you found this article helpful, please share it with someone you know.

 

Here’s to another week of music lessons!

Team Rock