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How to Practice In Spite of Everything

Anonymous asked: I’m preparing for college auditions right now and I have a problem that is even more relevant now. I want to be practicing a lot more but I have always had a problem with practice because I am constantly tired. My doctor can’t tie it back to an actual cause, and has suggested some lifestyle adjustments. While this helps a bit, practicing my instrument always makes me really tired after a few minutes. I love playing and I just don’t know what to do.

Anonymous asked: What do you do when your mental and physical health affect your ability to play so much that you can barely manage to play maybe once a week if that and when you do play you only have the mental and physical strength to play for maybe a few minutes?

These are good, important questions. Unfortunately, some musicians face stuff like this daily. When the spirit is willing, but the body is tired, it’s a really hard thing.

Honestly, there are only three things you can really do in these situations.

Take care of yourself first. You can’t get better if you never give yourself time to heal. Take a purposeful break (as opposed to not playing because you can’t) and see if that helps at all. Consider that your instrument might be a major stress factor in your life. With that in mind, step away from it to let yourself rest. You’re going to come back to it – you just need to take care of yourself first.

Practice when you can. I don’t mean “practice every time you can scrape together the energy and spoons to do it.” I mean “practice when it won’t harm you to do so.” If that’s every week or so, so be it. Just give it all the focus you can. If it’s only for ten minutes at a time, it still counts! Just keep going. Your progress may be slower than others’, but that’s because you’ve got a much heavier load. It’s okay.

Be easy on yourself. Honestly, this is the most important thing. Regardless of why you’re facing these challenges, you aren’t a bad musician. If you physically can’t do a thing as much as someone else, that’s okay. It may take you longer to get where you want to go. You may have to adjust your goals to accommodate your physical or mental limitations. But you can and will be just as successful as your peers as long as you continue to put in your best effort.

You’ve got this. Message me if you want more advice.

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