Let's Talk Motivation

If you live in the northeastern United States - like I do - you're probably sitting in your home or office looking out the window at a beautiful snow fall. If you're a 9 year old - like I seem to be - you are also resisting the urge to run outside with your sled, in search of the closest hill. But if you are a musician - like I am - you are stuck staring out the window of your practice room, wishing for the bygone days of your care free youth.

In these situations it is some times difficult to motivate yourself to sit and diligently practice. Motivation can be just as much of a challenge to overcome as the technical difficulties of that etude that's on your stand. it isn't hard to motivate oneself to go to work, especially if that work comes with an hourly wage or - better yet! - a salary. As a musician, practicing is my work, but it doesn't necessarily come with a two week pay period, and occasionally it seems to not pay at all. Non-musicians might be surprised to hear that I practice to get better, in addition to practicing with explicit goals (concerts, auditions, etc.) in mind.

This won't be a long post, nor will it have suggestions about how to overcome to motivational doldrums. I asked for suggestions via Twitter, and this was my favorite response, from the wonderful composer Marcos Balter:

"Keep Working."

So that's it. When you're feeling unmotivated, get back in the room. Keep working. At the risk of receiving a letter from a Nike lawyer, I say this: Just Do It. Nothing beats a solid practice session. Concentrate on getting better. The snow will still be there when you're done!