How to Cope with the Practice Rut Blues Part 2
[zephyr_dropcaps style="withbg" firstcolor="#333333" bgcolor=""]Last week I shared some ideas on how to deal with practicing your instrument when you know you need to, but you are: bored, sick of of the same routine, uninspired, (fill in your blank here).[/zephyr_dropcaps] We've all been there as musicians and if left untreated, I know for me at least, it's a rut that can be very hard to dig out of. Here's four more ideas to bring the magic back to your sax life (or bass or guitar....sorry pun intended). You can also check out last week's ideas here.
[zephyr_chapter number="5" title="Compose a Song" bgimg="" bgcolor="#40cec9"]Try composing a song solely using your instrument. This one is a good challenge for me because I don't write music much in general. The twist for this one is to not actually write down the song at all while you're working on it. Memorize the whole thing on your instrument instead - every part. I feel like this way you're still playing the instrument and exercise your chops while also getting your right brain and creativity involved.[/zephyr_chapter]
[zephyr_chapter number="6" title="YouTube Lessons" bgimg="" bgcolor="#40cec9"]Last month this one concept really lifted me out of a rut. There are a bunch of bass techniques I've always wanted to learn better but shied away from, like slapping. For whatever reason I always looked down on learning techniques from YouTube. Call it an ego trip I guess, but anyhow I'm glad I've gotten over that and I've learned so much. If you're like me and have never tried it before, I highly recommend getting out of your comfort zone. [/zephyr_chapter]
[zephyr_chapter number="7" title="Switch Up Instruments" bgimg="" bgcolor="#40cec9"]If you have the opportunity to, switch up instruments. Of course, it's easier to do this with relative instruments. For me, I'll switch back and forth between electric bass and the upright bass. Sometimes I'll even mess around with the good old 6-string guitar even though I suck at it. You could even ask to temporarily trade instruments with roommates or friends if they're open to it. For me, this change instantly brings the fun back into practicing music.[/zephyr_chapter]
[zephyr_chapter number="8" title="Be a Kid Again" bgimg="" bgcolor="#40cec9"]This is a concept I've borrowed from "Effortless Mastery" by Kenny Werner (I highly recommend checking it out!). Basically, pretend you're a kid again and throw out everything you know about your instrument. Yes, everything - technique, theory, all of it. You're an 8 year old who's never touched the instrument before. What's the first thing you do? What do the keys do? What happens if you play it upside down? You get the idea...basically this is an experiment in mindfulness and sensory experience. Sometimes I feel like all I need to add to my practice routine is a little perspective to restart my practice engine.[/zephyr_chapter]
Hope this series helps if you ever get into a little rut on your musical journey. Please feel free to share your ideas and what you do when you're bored in the comments section. I'd love to hear your ideas!