I had a student the other day who told me at the beginning of her lesson that she “just didn’t feel like practicing” during the previous week.
And honestly, it was so much easier for me to hear that than excuses like “I had a lot of homework” (yes, and practicing you instrument should be considered part of that homework) or “I had a sport practice/game/club meeting/drama practice” (okay, but those things don’t last all week, and just as you have committed to those things, you’ve committed to instrument lessons too) because we could simply cut through all the talk and get to what happens when you don’t feel like practicing, and what to do about it. So, brava, my student. Thanks for your honesty, and yeah, you’re going to repeat last week’s assignment. Cue the sad trombone.
I understand, I really do. There are LOTS of days I don’t want to practice. Heck, there are lots of days I DO want to practice, but other responsibilities get in the way (oh geez, sounds like I’m making excuses! ). The point is, we all feel like this, but sometimes we have to rally, and push forward.
I read an article about motivation on a running website once, in which the author explained that on the days she really didn’t feel like going for a run, she would make a promise to herself to just go run for 15 minutes, and if she still wasn’t feeling it, she could go home. What usually ended up happening was the after 15 minutes, she felt like it really wasn’t that hard to just keep going and finish her workout. I remind myself of this often, and it usually works for me. After getting my clarinet together, setting up my music stand and chair, etc., there’s really nothing standing in my way anymore. And if one has a designed place to practice that they didn’t have to set up every time, it’s even easier.
So yes, there will be days when practicing is the last thing you want to do. And every once in a while, take a day off. But on most days, even 15 minutes is better than nothing.