Have you ever hit a point in your music practice where you felt deflated and uninspired to play? It can be a difficult place to be, especially if you've put countless hours into your practice and feel like all your dedication has led you nowhere. Maybe you feel like you're in a rut and playing the same things over and over, feeling bored and unchallenged.
When they find themselves in such a predicament, a lot of musicians opt for the quickest and easiest way out: buy new gear. They buy a new pedal or a new guitar that makes their playing feel fresh, but that only lasts until the buzz of acquiring something new wears off--a few weeks at most. They quickly find themselves back in the uninspired head-space they were trying to climb out of.
There are a few longer-lasting solutions to recharging your inspiration and getting your creative juices flowing again. Here are a few:
1. Take a break from your practice routine.
Sometimes, after a long time of dedicated practice, you just get burned out. The only remedy to this it to just take a step back from your practice and recharge. Take a week off from music. Don't play. Don't listen. Don't think about it. Watch a bunch of Netflix. Meditate. Read a book. Take a walk. Go do the things you haven't had time for because of your practice. You will find that taking time away from music can help you grow as a musician by recharging your energy, expanding your experiences, and resetting your mindset. It's just like when you're having issues with your computer--the first thing you do is turn it off and reset it. Do the same with yourself and you will find that when you come back to your practice routine, you feel refreshed, invigorated, and ready to focus on becoming a better musician.
2. Practice gratitude towards your instrument and gear.
We all fall into the trap of online window-shopping. It's easy to get lost in a scroll of beautiful gear that we daydream about owning. Sometimes, we get to comparing our gear against the gear that we see online, usually way out of our price range, and we start to feel that our gear is insufficient. In reality, our gear is perfectly fine and serves us effectively if well-maintained. Take a few moments each day to really appreciate your instrument. Take a close look at the grains and patterns in the wood and appreciate their beauty. Think about the specific way in which your instrument vibrates to communicate ideas and emotion through sound. Run your hands along your instrument and describe to yourself what you feel, the finish, the contours, the wear & tear....
When you learn to regularly appreciate your instrument and be grateful to it, it will be good to you in return. You will create a tighter bond with your instrument and you will be able to rely on this bond to find the inspiration to continue your practice.
3. Listen to a new style of music.
Sometimes we fall into the habit of playing the same thing over and over again. I find myself in this rut all the time. We learn a really cool song and we play nothing but that song for weeks on end, and we forget that there is a whole universe of other songs and sounds out there! When we only focus on one style of music, we tend to always approach our practice, and music in general, from the same place, which stifles our growth and hampers our ability to stay inspired and motivated. Taking the time to explore a new style of music will help expand your musical mind and allow you to hear things in familiar music that you have never heard before. It will help open your mind to new ways of playing and thinking about music and will refill your "inspiration tank" with new ideas.
Try these tips out next time you feel yourself no longer motivated by your practice and see how they help you recharge and restore your confidence and inspiration!