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When it’s ok not to practice…

Have you ever taken our your violin (or other instrument), started practicing, and realized that you just joel-wyncott-YY3ijZa2lGQ-unsplashreally aren’t feeling it?

I had that feeling just the other day getting ready for Symphony NB rehearsals.  I was waiting for contractors to come to my house to finish up some work, so I was trying to practice, trying to rush to get it done before they arrived, and keeping one ear toward the driveway so I could tell when they had arrived.  As I was doing this, I was getting that sinking feeling in my stomach and my throat was getting tighter.  I knew that even if I pushed myself through, that I was not in the right mind set to get anything done on the piece that I was practicing!

Some times at this point I would actually walk away from my violin and do something else.  In this particular case I was working on a piece with tricky rhythm that involved an extra level of concentration.  Instead of putting my violin down, I worked on a different piece, and then once the contractors arrived, I moved back to the original piece and accomplished quite a lot.

I am a big believer in taking stock of your emotional wellbeing when you are practicing and deciding if it will be productive to continue.

Having said this, I do strongly encourage you to start the practice session before making any firm decisions.  I have had many days where I don’t feel like I am in the right head space to practice, but once I get into the work, it actually takes my mind away from whatever else is going on so not only can I be productive, but the practice session can be therapeutic.

So, as much as I am a believer that you need to get into a routine and practice on days when you don’t initially feel like you want to (that is a whole other topic), it is important to take stock of how the practice session is going, and some times the absolutely best thing you can do is to walk away for the moment…  Maybe going back later that day, maybe even waiting until the next day!

Happy practicing!

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