Timothy's Blog

Timothy's blog on dulcimers, music, nature and life!

Practicing then taking a joy break

Practice makes perfect!  Well, at least, practicing something over and over for a long time will make it possible for you to play it better.  Of course!  And the more familiar you are with a piece from much practicing, the more likely you will have a marvelous command of its structure and expressive details when the time comes to perform or record.

But sometimes you find yourself banging against a wall.  If you’re playing hammered dulcimer (or any instrument) for enjoyment, learning a tune or arrangement can sometimes become a terrific burden, and you may be tempted to forget the whole music thing and just go play a video game or watch a reality TV show or something….

Don’t do it!

Find something on your instrument that you can already do and enjoy, and do that instead for a while, reveling in the happiness of producing wonderful music!  Perhaps it’s just playing random improvisations on a pentatonic scale, like the notes GAB DE, or playing beautiful chord patterns, or playing a tune or arrangement you really know and enjoy, or whatever else brings you joy in the creation.

So… Don’t be discouraged by problematic drudgery, but rather do an end run around the barrier and tap into the exhilaration you’ve had before!  Then go back to the practice time refreshed.

For me, the enjoyment is just too important a component to merely give up.

At least some of the time, this may be the key to being a successful and joyous musician.

Musical development!
The power of progress through a repeating pattern

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