How to Revive the Fun in Musical Practice Time

When we first start studying music, it’s new and exciting — despite being a bit intimidating compared to all the super-talented muscision. However, for some of us, the excitement wears off quickly and playing becomes boring. We play the same old comfortable songs over and over again, loath playing our instrument, or quit playing for the most part.

So, how can we fix this boring routine? Here are some tricks I’ve learned in my experience with music.

How to Revive the Fun in Your Musical Practice Time

1. Purposefully Choose Fun Songs

If you play for a band or have a music teacher to report to, you likely only practice songs you’re supposed to be learning. This is a quick way to get to boredom town. Try choosing a song you love. What techniques are your favorites? Which genres do you like? Who are your favorite artists/composers? Find a few minutes of extra time to play your chosen song, and you’ll be reminded of how fun music can be.

2. Give Yourself Music Free Time

I started gymnastics a few months ago. Sometimes when we’re done with whatever events we’re supposed to practice, the teachers give us fifteen minutes of free time. That gave me the idea to do the same thing with my music –give myself fifteen minutes to do whatever I want. I made a list, mixing productive things and fun things. I don’t have the original, but it looked something like this:

  • Practice songs for vocal lessons.
  • Watch online rhythm videos.
  • Practice ukulele, guitar, or songs from my piano book.
  • Sing a song for fun.
  • Listen to the choir CDs I’m supposed to learn.

Try making a free time list for yourself! Use it as a reward for practicing or as motivation to get stuff done.

3. Challenge Yourself

A bad habit I mentioned at the beginning was practicing the same things over and over again. That doesn’t necessarily mean we’re playing the same pieces, but playing pieces of the same skill level and similar technique. Yeah, we might perfect those pieces. However, we’re not growing much as musicians. Change things up! Try something above your level of experience or an aspect you’ve been struggling with. It may take time to learn, but I guarantee you’ll come out a better musician.

4. Look at Why You Started

Why did you start? Was it because your parents wanted you to, you were trying to find an “easy” class in school, or you aim to be great at everything? Was it because you fell in love with an instrument, you’ve been listening to music for as long as you can remember, or you have a passion for the arts? If it’s one of the former, you’re likely to hate practicing. Do you even like music at all? If it’s one of the latter, try to remember clearly when you started and why. What goals did you have? What were your “impossible” dreams? Remind yourself of the beginning to keep pushing yourself.

In the end, it all comes down to your reasons behind playing. Even if you started with good intentions, a lack of love and passion for music now will drain you. Can you revive the amazing feeling from the first time you played a piece perfectly, or when a little kid told you they wanted to play just like you when they grew up? If not, reconsider your priorities.

What instruments do you play? What’s your favorite piece to practice? Why did you start? What do you do when your music feels boring?

Four Ways You Can Waste Time Productively

Most days, you can find me procrastinating everything. Correction: all days. In addition my quite unhealthy procrastination habit there have been many Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings spent waiting doing nothing at my younger brothers’ baseball/football practice/game. So, I figured I should find a way to use this wasted time productively, use those as excuses to procrastinate, and share them with you all. Seriously tho teaching others is scientifically proven to be the best method to teach yourself but we’re going to pretend I already knew all this.

1. Make Lists

This might be a me thing, but making lists is super encouraging! Having everything you need to get done right in front of you simplifies it and it’s SO. SATISFYING. I like to use Wunderlist and 30/30 to digitally write them, or you can be all fancy and use paper if you’re good at drawing and want to do cool doodle-y things. Unlike me – I can barely draw stick figures.

2. Pinterest

“Pinterest isn’t productive! It’s a black hole of destruction!” Well, it’s productive now because I say so. Especially if you’re a writer or blogger, there are tons of things on Pinterest for you to do aside from looking at memes. Yup. Judging you. For example: creating boards for your WIP, sharing your blog posts, and researching things. You guys take it from here that’s all I ever do.

3. Do Something With Your Hands

When all you want to do is watch TV and you proceed to watch it for twelve hours or whatever unreasonable hour,  you’re left unmotivated and tired. If you can handle the split focus, try doing something creative while watching. Simple artistic tasks such as knitting (join the #oldladysquad!) or making ATCs will put you in a productive mindset while letting you relax.

4. Learn Something Not Required of You

Learning for a grade is stressful. Learning simply because you wanna is powerful. Khan Academy is a great place to watch educational videos, and it has an app so you can download for offline watching. Their rewards system is also pretty awesome. You don’t get anything cool, but watching your “energy points” stack up makes it feel official. Reading a non-fiction book is also a nice way to relax and learn something new. Other options include going back to point two and Pinteresting your life away, getting ahead in homework even when it’s not due yet and/or debating the necessity of the Oxford comma. (See what I did there?)

Something I’ve learned recently is that if you can’t do something and keep trying to force yourself to do it, you’re only going to waste time because you’ve spent hours and haven’t completed anything. Instead, reach for a smaller goal you know you can accomplish or is just plain fun to make you feel productive, then come tackle the big scary monster.

What methods do you use to procrastinate? What methods do you use to procrastinate well? Do you procrastinate or do you get stuff done? I think I’m procrastinating the end of this post by using the word “procrastinate” over and over.