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.
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?