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What Do You Do When You Feel Stuck?

I think that all of us feel stuck at times.  You’ve been working on a piece, and it just doesn’t seem to be getting better even though you have been putting in the time and working on it.  It is so frustrating!  

So, what next?  Well, here is what I do and you can try it out too!

Step Back and Take a Look to See What is Wrong

 If I can figure out exactly what the issue is, it makes it easier to fix it.  Are my fingers not moving evenly?  Is my bow not switching strings cleanly? Are my fingers and bow out of sync? 

Play Something Else

I play something else as a palate cleanser before going back and working on the original piece.  Sometimes you just need to clear your mind a bit.

Choose a Different Goal

I chose a different (often smaller) goal to work towards.  For example, instead of trying to ace the entire piece, maybe I have a goal of getting a certain string crossing so it sounds clean.

Change How You Practice It

I change up how I am practicing the passage, so for example I switch up the rhythm from how it is written, or I might change up the bowing.

Come Back to It

I stop practicing that piece and come back to it another day. Working on it another day allows me to see it from a new (often calmer) perspective.

Work on It in Small Amounts

If I really need to practice the piece (I have some sort of deadline) I will work on the piece for a short amount of time, play something else, come back to the original piece, and continue with this pattern.

Remind Yourself of Your Progress

Another recommendation that I have which I don’t do anymore is to go back and play earlier pieces.  Sometimes it is hard to see the progress you have made over time because you are there every day.  By going back and playing earlier repertoire you can see how much improvement you have made.  Sometimes that is enough to let you move forward and not feel like you are stuck.

Let me know if you have any tricks you use when you feel stuck! 

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