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Topic: Can't get myself motivated to play/practice  (Read 2862 times)

Offline leemond2008

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Can't get myself motivated to play/practice
on: July 26, 2016, 05:20:48 AM
A combination of things, my teacher has been struggling to keep our lessons appointments (we are trying to work something out for a different day to make it easier), social commitments and the damn heat.

I've barely put any time into it over the last 3 weeks, I feel like I'm neglecting my piano in a big way, I'll still sit down for 15/20 minutes every day or so but I know this isn't enough.

I'm getting really frustrated with myself about it now. I really need to get my lesson schedule sorted, I find that knowing I have a definite lesson coming up it helps me to focus on what I need to achieve.

Sorry I just needed to vent a little bit, now it's on the forum it might spur me on to sit in front of my piano a little more

Offline coolpianoman

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Re: Can't get myself motivated to play/practice
Reply #1 on: July 26, 2016, 08:36:39 AM
Maintining motivaiton to practice must hit everyone at some stage with the hardest step being to sit down at the keys.  Bit similar to getting in the gym. One technique is to have the same time every day or to link the practice with something else you do every day like maybe the washing up or walking the dog. Also as they say 30 minutes every day is far better than 3 hours in one sitting.
However I would also suggest changing teacher for as you rightly say the regulr meetings with a teacher give you a goal to work towards. If your teacher is not steady in meeting the tutoring sessions how cna you be steady in the practice in between? I have a well known fantastic teacher and I live in dread of being sacked by him and I have never been so motivated to improve between lessons.
The other thought is to join a piano club.  I run a hugely successful one where players of every standard perform - from grade one to very advanced.  There is nothing better than having a performance date in the diary even it it is for a relatively simple one page score.
Good luck
Chris

Offline leemond2008

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Re: Can't get myself motivated to play/practice
Reply #2 on: July 26, 2016, 12:26:48 PM
I really don't want to change my teacher, we get on great and I learn well with her so I am happy with how our lessons actually go, as I say we are working on a new arrangement wich should make it easier for the lessons to go ahead as planned

Offline coolpianoman

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Re: Can't get myself motivated to play/practice
Reply #3 on: July 26, 2016, 12:49:28 PM
Hope your new arrangement works out and that maybe one of my other suggestions might have hit the mark - good luck

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Can't get myself motivated to play/practice
Reply #4 on: July 26, 2016, 12:52:48 PM
Why are you playing piano? What are the reasons? If you mediate on them you might feel inspired to practice a little more. No one likes to practice 100% of the time, those who practice when they don't want to are disciplined beasts. Laziness is the monkey on everyone's back, we are human, we are often naturally quite lazy. I find its always the first 5 mins that is tough, once you start you forget about how much you don't want to practice. Remember to reward yourself when you have had a good practice session and to limit your rewards if you are lazy, you have to be tough on yourself if you want to achieve anything in life.

Bring this up with your teacher how to keep motivated to practice when you are on your own. Some people work really well by writing out all their weekly aims and checking them off, all my students have a detailed list of what needs to be done and in our lessons we often go through how to exactly practice it so there will be confidence when alone. When you clearly see what work lies ahead of you and can effectively work through it this often helps with our motivation to do the work.

Sometimes we can burn out or feel like everything is getting very "boring", in these cases you should refresh your joy for piano music. Go listen to lovely performances, treat yourself to a live concert, enjoy music, even go look at non musical art, paintings, poems or whatever interests you that gets your creative juices flowing.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
www.pianovision.com

Offline coolpianoman

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Re: Can't get myself motivated to play/practice
Reply #5 on: July 26, 2016, 01:02:30 PM
Some sound advice here
I am also trying to see every note my Steinway model B makes as pure joy (my teachers advice) - I had the piano regulated recently and when one looks at the instrument it really is a miracle.

Sorry to point it out but on reading your original post if your teacher is struggling then you will be struggling - worth a thought

There are lots of teachers out there.  I travelled a 2.5 hour train journey to London for a teacher a couple of years ago and she texted to say she was tied up away from her home and would have to cut the lesson short when I arrived.  I did not take the tube to her place cancelled the lesson and did not go to her again.  Impulsive?  No realistic?  My current teacher never lets me down and is the most stable influence in my learning experience.


 

Offline irrational

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Re: Can't get myself motivated to play/practice
Reply #6 on: July 26, 2016, 01:15:33 PM
I also find a good motivator to be just to listen to amazing music.
Be that recording or youtube.

I also find that mixing up my practice sometimes helps. Like focusing on making thirds, sixths sound at precisely the same time at very slow speed, just enjoying the harmonic interplay of the sounds.
Or playing something simple like Fur Elise or Bach's prelude in C Major very slowly and really listening to it for once. Before I know an hour or more is gone. Sometimes even messing through Hanon or Schmitt exercises in different attacks and rhythms is also entertaining.

There are so many aspects to music that I find it hard not to get motivated in some way.
Currently I find myself going to Perahia's Bach partitas to get motivation, or Zimmerman's Chopin Ballades on youtube.

Offline ajlongspiano

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Re: Can't get myself motivated to play/practice
Reply #7 on: July 26, 2016, 03:05:13 PM
    Hi, irrational

   I'm sorry to hear that you're having this issue. This is quite a common thing among pianists. Here's what I think you should do. Go on YouTube and listen to Chopin's four Ballades, Rachmaninoff's Etude Tableaux Op.39, and Scriabin's 24 Preludes Op.11. I think doing one group per sitting is the best idea, but if you're feeling especially musical you could listen to them all at once.

  Make this the most concentrated listening session of your entire life. I want you to listen carefully to EVERYTHING. Hear all the different changes in dynamics, how the pianist will swell and feather away with time, the various articulations, the different tones that each pianist makes to establish a mood perse.

   As you do this and hear all of the contrast that this music brings, think about how incredible it is that these 88 keys and 12 tones are able to create an infinite world of beauty and expression. And the most amazing thing is that as a pianist, you get to be apart of it. As pianists, we're apart of a really blessed group of individuals. We get to wake up in the morning, and explore an entirely different world. Upon our own choosing, this world can be fresh and new every single time we decide to travel to it. All this requires is a mind that is actively seeking.

   Really wishing you the best with this endeavor. I guarantee that if you embrace this idea fully, you will get up in the morning with music on your mind and it won't leave, but it won't be one of those annoying ear worms, you'll love every minute of it. This is what happened to me, at least. Best of luck. Hoping that you find this motivation in the infinite world of music.

Best,

AJ

Offline coolpianoman

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Re: Can't get myself motivated to play/practice
Reply #8 on: July 26, 2016, 03:07:27 PM
Nice post.  OK I have a superb piano but sometimes I sound a note or chord in a piece which is so sublime I just have to sound it again.  Maybe it comes down to something I certainly forget which is listening as much as playing - maybe even more.  Attentive listening is so important as the variety of sounding the notes as we know is endless.  Ho Hum back to practice!

Offline leemond2008

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Re: Can't get myself motivated to play/practice
Reply #9 on: July 27, 2016, 07:13:05 AM
Hi everyone, cheers for the replies there is definitely some stuff for me to look at there.

Anyway I had my lesson yesterday, I explained to my teacher that I haven't been practicing much at all just lately but after she listened to what I had been practicing she told me that I was beiing too hard on myself and the parts where I was getting hung up on and thought I was struggling with had massively improved since our last lesson, when I was sitting there playing for her she showed me in what ways I have improved and where to go next.

I just feel like I have that little bit more direction now and can't wait to get home to get started again.

Offline bernadette60614

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Re: Can't get myself motivated to play/practice
Reply #10 on: July 27, 2016, 08:39:10 PM
Looks like your question has been answered, but it motivated me to think about when/why I don't want to practice and how to address that recurrent issue.

For me, practice is hard work...there is no such thing, now that I'm a serious student as just sitting down and messing around. Every practice session has a plan.

And, sometimes, I think no matter how deliberate you are in your intentions, you need to cut yourself free from those serious intentions and just play.  Play songs you love, pieces you've polished, sight read new pieces without that critical inner voice.  Not every practice can be this, but sometimes putting the Play back in playing piano is what it takes to rekindle my motivation.

Take care and enjoy.
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