The Two Set Violin guys call it Pracrastination. Pracrastination? Yes: Procrastination for practise.
Particularly for student musicians, I think it’s a common issue. It can often be very easy to put off the hours of practise and say you’ll do it with it later. Also, the fact that no-one else is watching makes it easier to procrastinate.
It’s definitely something that I struggle with from time to time. At times, I can be super motivated and utilise my time well; at others, I can be quite talented in the art of procrastination.
Finding different sources of motivation is imperative for me in order to avoid procrastination. I’ve noticed that I often procrastinate when I’m feeling demotivated. Lack of motivation leads to procrastination. This cycle can last for a few days or a few months however the longer it continues, breaking out of it becomes increasingly more difficult.
One of the benefits of learning an instrument from a young age is that one can easily learn discipline as a by-product. Having a routine and something to focus on and have fun with definitely lays some foundations for skills like organisation, creativity and becomes an advantage later on in life. Unfortunately, I didn’t begin learning the violin at a young age so the foundations of discipline were not already there. I kind of had to work things out by myself i.e. a practise schedule and balancing that with homework etc. Despite this, I’d say that this helped me to find motivation from myself and no one else which is always a good thing to have when no one else is there for encouragement.
I’m constantly looking for new ways to freshen up my practise so that it doesn’t become stagnant. I believe that musicians can adopt certain attitudes pertaining to sport. In the way that athletes train to maintain their fitness and work towards a tournament or competition, musicians can do the same. Practise is our training for a performance. For me, thinking in this way gives me a new lease of motivation.
“I hated every minute of training, but I said ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion’”. – Muhammad Ali
I love the late Muhammad Ali’s quote and the same idea is relevant for musicians. Practise and having the motivation to practise is not always easy. Some days are better than others and they can be quite tedious. However, the more good practise we do, the better musicians we’re able to become. Don’t quit, stay motivated!