Music is fun. And it should be. But it can be hard to find the motivation to pick up your instrument when you could also watch Netflix or take a nap. I struggle with personal motivation for many things, but it’s important to know how to motivate yourself.
I am still learning what works best for me, and that might always change. Knowing how to motivate yourself is key to getting work done in all facets of life.
I have figured out a few different things you can do to find motivation when you really don’t want to do anything. Here are my tips for motivating yourself.
1. Get started early.
I know I have said this before, but it is much easier to get things done earlier rather than later. If you wait too long to start practicing, it will be more difficult to actually do it than if you started earlier.
I know that I can easily get distracted by work, errands, or even the internet. Those distractions make it much harder for me to find the desire to practice.
Picking up your instrument either first thing or right after breakfast allows you to practice before you tackle the rest of your day. That way, you won’t have to worry about it later.
2. Find some fun music.
It is much easier to do something that you enjoy, so find some fun new music to learn. Even if you don’t have any performances coming up, it is a good idea to have something to work on that you enjoy.
Enjoying what you are working on is a great way to motivate you to get to work. The same is true for music. You can find music of almost any genre and of any difficulty, so you should be able to find something you like.
Just because you play a specific instrument, you shouldn’t feel limited to a few genres. There are many resources out there that arrange music for all different types of instruments. You can find some great online resources here.
3. Turn practicing into a game.
If you have a really hard time beginning to practice, make a game out of it. You can use tools like recording devices to record yourself to see how you improve. Compete with yourself to get better each time you play something.
Play against the clock.
Another game you can play with yourself is time based. There are many different time tracking methods for productivity, but I like the Pomodoro technique.
With Pomodoro, you set a timer for 25 minutes and then you get a five minute break. Knowing that a break is not far away can be a great motivator for getting out your instrument and for getting stuff done.
4. Don’t force it.
There are going to be some days where you simply don’t have the energy or the time to get in a good practice session. That’s okay. I think it is perfectly fine to have a day like that every so often.
If your body is telling you that you need a break, listen to it. Our bodies have a pretty good idea of what we need and are good about telling us. So don’t force it if you can’t find the motivation.
Remember that music should be fun, and you shouldn’t have to force it to much. If you do, you could lose some of that interest and enjoyment.
5. Reward yourself.
If you are the type that works well when rewards are at stake, this could be a good method. Set up a reward system where after X minutes of practice, you can watch one short YouTube video. Or after X repetitions of an exercise, you can have a few minutes of a break.
Create a reward system that works for you, otherwise you won’t follow it. Your rewards can be anything, but make them reasonable. Don’t say after fifteen minutes of practice you deserve an ice cream. That sort of reward won’t do much to motivate you.
6a. Just start.
Sometimes, the hardest part is getting started. Once you have your instrument out and your music on your stand, it becomes much easier to practice. You just have to start.
It is definitely hard to do, but starting is the first battle you face when practicing, or doing anything. You just have to start.
6b. Let the act of practicing motivate you.
After you start practicing, you will see how you enjoy it and how fun it is to play music. Let that be a motivator. Once you start and you hear yourself make great music, you may not want to stop.
You can start a timer for fifteen or twenty minutes. Tell yourself you only need to practice for that long. Then you can do something else. There will be times when you then stop, but maybe not. You just might find that you don’t want to stop practicing.
7. Practicing burns calories.
While it won’t burn as many calories as an intense run, it can be a fun way to get a “work out” in. Especially if you choose to stand while practicing, you can keep active.
The acts of breathing, moving your fingers, bowing, etc. all contribute to your body’s energy output, thus burning calories.
If you are not a fan of the gym, you will probably find it much easier to practice your instrument than to go work out. The added bonus of burning calories during your practice just might be enough to make it worth it, if nothing else does.
What do you do to motivate yourself to practice? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!