Finding Inspiration on the Hard Days – Violin Pros

Finding Inspiration on the Hard Days

We’ve all had those days when practice feels so inspired. Maybe you’re particularly happy with your sound that day, maybe the piece you’re learning suddenly started to just work, maybe you listened to a beautiful piece of music by a fantastic musician and were absolutely enamored with the sound. Those days, it feels good to practice. But what about the days when inspiration is hard to come by, and practice feels like a chore? Here’s how to get inspiration back when it seems to have flown away.

Warm up with improvisation.

Some days, it’s just hard to get started. When that's the case, it’s better to play anything than not to play at all, so take a few minutes to improvise. This is a great opportunity to express yourself the way you want and it helps warm up your brain and fingers in a creative way. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never done it before, just play what sounds good to you. 

Give yourself positive feedback.

One of our Violin Pros, Nikisa, employs a unique strategy in order to master her pieces. She records herself playing every day and when she listens to the tape, she initially focuses on the things she's done well. She writes a list of everything she likes about the recording, and only when she is finishes, does she transition to the things she wants to improve upon. This practice helps her recognize the small victories and stay motivated to keep practicing on the tough days.

Incorporate your friends to make it fun. 

Whether it’s a formal setting like orchestra or informal setting like chamber music or just a jam, having people to play with always creates inspiration. It feels good to play your violin, to bounce ideas off other people, and hearing how others express themselves musically inspires you to grow as a musician.

Having the right violin changes everything. 

Thinking long-term, the right instrument is crucial to inspiration. A Violin Shaped Object (or VSO) will not only hinder progress in technique but also in musicality. It’s hard to be inspired to practice when the sounds you hear are scratchy, out of tune, and generally sound bad, especially if you believe that those sounds are your fault! While a professional violinist will manage to sound good on whatever instrument is handed to them, it’s important to remember they learned on instruments that were capable of much more. A good instrument will not only help with technique, it will show you what beautiful sounds you are capable of, train your ear to expect beautiful things, and allow you to express yourself more fully.


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