Are you having one of those days? Are you looking for every possible reason why you don’t actually have to practice today. I can relate. Sometimes the biggest challenge is just finding the motivation to practice. So what do we do when we don’t feel like practicing?

1) Just start

If you just start practicing, you’ll often notice that you want to finish what you’ve begun. Once you’ve started, it’s much easier to keep practicing longer.

2) Plan to do it first thing in the morning

Having a specific plan for when you practice will help. Often doing it first thing in the morning is a good idea, especially if you don’t feel like doing it. This way you’ll get it out of the way and won’t have the pressure lingering over you for the rest of the day.

3) Set a specific goal you want to accomplish

Instead of setting a goal for how long you hope to practice (which can be daunting if you don’t feel motivated), set a specific, yet realistic, musical goal for the day. For example, “I am going to finish learning this excerpt today.” Then you must commit to not letting yourself stop practicing altogether until you’ve accomplished that goal.

4) Have people to keep you accountable

Plan ahead and ask your friends or family to keep you accountable. When you really don’t feel like practicing, it’s easy to talk yourself into the idea that you don’t actually need to today. If you have other people around you to motivate you and remind you, you’re less likely to allow yourself not to practice.

5) Plan something fun to do after you finish practicing

Having something to look forward to will help you to get right to practicing and to be efficient. Deliberate practice often isn’t immediately rewarding. This artificially produces a reward associated with working hard at practice.

6)Practice in small chunks

Finding the motivation to practice for 3 hours is much harder than finding the motivation to practice 10 minutes. Practice in small chunks of time with specific goals. This will be much more productive. Just make sure you keep coming back to practicing until you’ve accomplished enough for the day. That’s why #4 is so important!

What are your strategies for motivating yourself to practice? Please share; I could use them! Scroll down and comment below.

Photo Credits: “Sleepy” by Tomas. CC BY-NC 2.0. Text added to original.| Derivative of “Music sculpture” by Ruth Ellison. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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