Playing music can be one of the most exciting feelings, especially as you’re learning. But part of playing an instrument inevitably involves feeling uninspired and unmotivated at some time or another. This is normal for any musician to go through, so when this feeling strikes, don’t feel like it’s the end of the world. In this moment, the most important thing for you to work on is getting that motivation back. A big part of this is ensuring that you’re still practicing and playing your instrument, but sometimes some extra help from external forces can help you feel motivated so that you are excited to pick the instrument up again. Here are some quick ideas to spark your motivation and get you playing again.
- Listen to music
Listening to music can help inspire and motivate you to want to play. Choose music that is exciting and fresh, or check out something you’ve never heard before. Avoid the radio or an existing playlist and try to explore new artists and bands that are out there. Sometimes hearing something new can spark interest in musical styles you never thought you had an interest in. I enjoy playing styles of music that I didn’t listen to until I started playing music in that genre, so I know first hand this can be a great learning experience.
- Get outside — bike, run, walk etc.
Getting exercise can help elevate your mood, and fresh air can help too. If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, getting outside to move your body a little bit can make you feel invigorated and help get you that motivation to play back.
- Do something different
Our day to day routines can get boring, so try to do something you don’t normally do on a day to day basis. Get out and check out a new band, go for a drive, walk somewhere new, or simply change up your routine. Doing things you don’t normally do can increase your energy and give you that motivation to practice your instrument.
- Try to learn something you don’t normally play
If you feel stuck in a rut with your practicing, try to work on a song or style of music that’s different than what you normally work on. Never played any classical music? Pick an easy classical piece to get started. You’d be surprised at how fun it can be to play certain styles of music, even if you’d never listen to it.
- Try a different tuning
Different tunings (such as an open tuning) can be interesting and fun to play with since the chord shapes are different and it will force you to experiment and explore the new possibilities. It can be a great inspiration to not look up any chord shapes for the tuning and try to figure out what sounds good by using just your ear. You might be surprised at what you come up with.
- Jam with someone
Jamming with another guitarist (or anybody who plays another instrument) is a great way to get ideas and inspire yourself. Try to keep an open mind and work with what the other person brings to the table. If you’ve never jammed with anyone before it will probably open your eyes to the areas you need to work on and provide motivation for you to get better in those areas.
- Set a goal for yourself
Setting a goal for yourself, such as committing to doing an open mic night, jamming with someone, or performing can light a fire under you and give you some real motivation to practice. Try to make the goals realistic, and complete them one step at a time. Setting a goal that’s too lofty without breaking it into smaller pieces can make you feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle, so make sure to break everything down into the exact steps you need to work on.
While these ideas can help motivate you when you’re feeling down and out, ultimately it’s up to you to make sure you make things happen for yourself. This is what separates successful musicians from those who give up. So stick to a plan, motivate yourself, and get playing!
About The Author
Jason Wilford teaches Guitar Lessons in Mississauga and runs Pro Guitar Studio.