The Violin Channel member Nathan Kahrs was keen to know: ‘How do you stay motivated when you really don’t feel like practicing?‘
We threw Nathan’s question over to VC Artist Augustin Hadelich.
That’s a great question!
It can be really hard at times to find the discipline and motivation to practice for hours every day and I think everybody has experienced the monotony and joylessness of feeling ‘stuck’ – where you just don’t feel like things are improving.
I have often found that switching things up, like learning a new piece of repertoire or focusing on improving a different aspect of my playing, helps me get out of that rut.
The more engaged your mind is and the more interesting the practicing experience is, the easier it will be to motivate yourself. When technical breakthroughs finally come (as they eventually will) they are immensely satisfying.
One reason why it’s tough to find the discipline to practice every day, Nathan, is that we’re often always working by ourselves. Playing chamber music with other people can be refreshing and inspiring and gives you new energy for your own work.
For motivation, I think it’s very important that you are always working towards clear and realistic goals. Perhaps you could try and find local performance opportunities or stage small concerts for your friends as something tangible to work and look forward to?
I have to confess that these days a lot of my practice is because ‘I have to’ – juggling a lot of performances and repertoire creates enough pressure for me that slacking off is not an option, but when I do take breaks it’s definitely harder to get back into the swing.
So in summary Nathan, if practice is feeling monotonous or boring for you, my advice would be to hang in there! As long as you keep searching for new ideas, continue getting to know new repertoire, and seek out opportunities to play and people to play with, it will quickly become exciting again!
Hope this helps? Thanks for the question.