As a musician, you’re probably familiar with a number of feelings. At some moments you are at the highest of highs, and at others you feel complete despair.
If you’ve been wondering if you’re the only one experiencing musical mood swings, don’t be alarmed. You’re not alone! An important part of playing music is learning to fuel the feelings you want to maintain and overcome the ones that get in the way of your goals. Here are 4 emotions every musician is acquainted with.
You’ve been working so hard and you’re still struggling to master a section. You feel like you’ve put in hours upon hours and you’ve got nothing to show for it. You want to throw your instrument across the room (regardless of size) because you feel like you’ve done your part – you’ve put in the time. You’ve been practicing and trying to do everything right, but no matter how hard you try, you just don’t feel like you’re making progress.
Beat it: When this happens, it’s best to walk away for a while and clear your head because this is NOT a good state to be practicing in. Take a break, eat a snack or call a friend. Come back later with a clear mind and a new spurt of tenacity. You’ll get there!
All musicians have felt discouraged at some point. You’re not feeling focused. Maybe you give a performance and you know it wasn’t your best or it didn’t go as well as it did during practice. It’s possible you heard another musician do better than you and you feel like you’ll never achieve their success, even if you practiced for 10,000 hours. You just feel like giving up.
Beat it: When you’re feeling discouraged, look back through your progress journal at all the milestones you’ve achieved, big and small. Remember, you were once just starting out (or maybe you are just starting now!) and all improvements take time. Keep working! Don’t give up.
Sometimes, you have days where nothing can get you down. You are focused and on-point in your practice. It’s almost as if you’ve had 3 cups of coffee and your brain is totally clear. You’re improving on all the parts you’ve been struggling with in your last few practices and you can see your dedication paying off.
Fuel it: Don’t lose this focus! Keep practicing and enjoying the moment, but remember to take a break, too. If you normally keep a timed practice session, don’t over-practice. Finish your set and walk away feeling in control of your instrument. Don’t stay long enough to move across the spectrum and feel frustrated. Let it be a great practice.
Feeling satisfied in your music is a rewarding feeling. You feel it when you emerge from many months or years of practicing and you can see how far you’ve come. You’ve been climbing a proverbial musical mountain, getting through those switchbacks, rivers and other difficult passages and you finally reach the peak. It’s a euphoric moment when you realized you’ve arrived at a milestone.
Fuel it: Take another glance back through your progress journal and look at how far you’ve come to reach this point. Think about all the difficult times you went through to get here and take pride in your hard work and determination. Remember though, this isn’t the end. There’s always room to keep practicing and continue improving. Recall where you started, but continue the journey to becoming a confident musician.
No matter how you’re feeling day-to-day, every musician has felt the same way you have. Don’t lose heart if you’re feeling down. Keep pushing! It won’t be long before you master your struggles and feel like you’re at your best.
If you’re not part of Musical U, join us today! Being a part of a community can help you work through your musical emotions and give you the support you need on your journey.
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