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26 April 2018

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Maintaining Motivation

It is not an uncommon occurrence that some of my students, particularly the beginner ones,  don't always practice enough. Usually the desire and intention is there, promises are made that this week will be better, but when it comes to the following lesson, it can often be the case that there has not really been much improvement.

How to maintain the motivation to practice

One suggestion that I offer in such circumstances is to have a schedule. A typical conversation, might start,
"So will you practice more this week?"
 "Yes," comes the reply they are expecting I want to hear. To which I reply,
"Every day."
"When every day? What time? When you get home from school, after dinner, in the morning, exactly when?  

... and after a little discussion it might be that we make a little practice diary for them to fill in each practice.

Now this might seem too babyish for a more mature, advanced or self disciplined student, but is it really. Could you not ask yourself  the same questions? Is a practice diary just for younger children or would even an adult benefit from setting themselves goals to achieve rather than aimlessly filling in half an hour of playing their instrument (notice I didn't say practicing).

However, motivation is not just dependent on setting strict goals and schedules, but also on desire and getting enjoyment from practicing, especially some of the more tedious aspects such as technical work or scales. One of the best ways start enjoying what you are doing is to see the results and these results come from those self disciplined plans mentioned earlier. It is a circle which can be either positive or negative.

A positive circle starts with discipline = results = motivation
A negative circle starts with no goals or plan = slow progress = loss of desire to continue.

Maybe in the past or now you might feel in this negative circle and what you need to kick start this circle into reverse is a little self discipline and goal planning.

Please feel free to share in the comments below what you do to organize your practice schedule, or is there something else that motivates you?

1 comment:

  1. I aim to practice twice a day; before work (about 6am) and after work (about 7pm). I keep a practice diary and set a target of about 30-40 hours per month. Sometimes Life gets in the way and it's just not possible to stick to this but it works pretty well. If I don't feel like practising, I promise myself I'll just do some scales or chord work or something undemanding, 10-20 mins or so and of course once you get started it leads to at least half an hour if not more. When the motivation is very low and there seems to be no progress it's hard to keep going but then I remember an answer to the question: Why do you play the piano? - well, what else am I going to do with it?


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