Encourage Yourself

 

 

 

 

 

“Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.”

– Oscar Wilde

Particularly for student musicians, a common issue is comparing ourselves to our colleagues and peers. Of course, this is not exclusive to musicians and it occurs in all aspects of life. Maintaining focus when lots of other things are happening is difficult. I personally think that it is important to be aware of our surroundings and the people we have in our circle. However, for me, drive and determination should always come from within and not from the actions of others. Inspiration from others is always a good thing but relying on someone else’s actions as a catalyst to create one’s on action is not always effective. It is very easy to become distracted, sidetracked and driven off course especially when someone else in constantly in the subconscious. For me, concentrating on my own progress in life, music, relationships etc is far more important, relevant and useful than tracking someone else’s.

I’m a firm believer that everyone has something unique and different to offer and we should all treasure our individuality. Insecurity is always there but we have must not let it stop us from making progress. I know that I may not be as technically accomplished as other musicians but I don’t wallow in self pity. Whilst I’m working behind closed doors  to improve my weak areas, I champion my strengths. The trouble with being a musician is that we spend hours upon hours practising without recognition because no one sees the hard work we put it in. It’s the iceberg analogy. People only see the top, the success and not all the stress, anxiety and hard work underneath. Sometimes, I think how great it would be if someone were to give an applause at the end of every good practise session.  But alas, the reality is that sometimes we have to give ourselves a pat on the back.
Gone are the days of putting myself down. Inject some positivity into your life. Don’t be a doubting Thomas. Believe in yourself. Encourage yourself.

 

 

I’ve learnt to blow my own trumpet. If I don’t, no-one else will.

 

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Procrastination, Motivation & Discipline

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!

 

 

 

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