Recently, a friend told me he felt like his love for music was gone. Like me, my friend is a musician who has the great privilege of working in music while also going to school for World Music. It may be easy to wonder why someone who is apparently living the dream could lose their love for their dream. But as I thought back to my undergrad days, I remembered my friends who got burnt out and dropped out of a music degree, or quit playing altogether.
Even more often than a college student getting burnt out and quitting, I will see young kids lose their passion as well. It happens all too often. Sometimes we’re focusing so much on scales, proper fingering, and seemingly endless amounts of practice time, that we lose sight of the joy of playing for the sake of joy and creativity. What if I told you that this doesn’t have to happen? Here are four simple ways to keep your passion for music alive.
1. Create a Practice Schedule that Works for You
Sometimes the reason we’re burnt out on music is because we’re not practicing in a way that makes sense for us. Maybe you feel like you’re spending so much time practicing and not improving. Or maybe you’re spending too much time on one thing. Maybe you’re not leaving yourself any time to play music for fun. The answer to all of these issues is to create a practice schedule that is efficient and effective, and that leaves time for creativity.
2. Learn to Play a Song that YOU Want to Play
Let’s face it - sometimes just playing out of piano books can get a little old. Sometimes the reason for burnout is simply that we just need something out of the normal. If this is happening to you, try learning to play one of your favorite Disney or Pop songs. Or maybe you have a favorite classical song - ask your teacher if they can help you find a version that is good for your level. It may take a little extra practice, but it’ll be worth it!
3. Learn How to Read Lead-Sheets
Music lessons can often be focused on things such as good technique and sight-reading. And while these are important skills to develop, being able to read a lead-sheet is also a worthwhile skill. Not only will learning to read chords make you a more well-rounded musician, it also opens you up to a whole new set of music you can play! If you are able to read a lead-sheet, you can play any Pop, Disney, or Worship song you want. Just ask your teacher to help you learn how to play a lead-sheet. They’ll be more than happy to help you with this skill!
4. Get Creative
This is by far the most crucial thing you can do to help your passion for music flourish. The reason most of us became musicians is because it satisfies the part of us that longs for creativity. If you find that you feel your creativity being stifled, leave time in your day to get creative! Write a song, listen to your favorite song and try to replicate it, or even just play around with notes and chords on your instrument! Whatever it is, find what makes you feel creative and do more of it! If you balance this with practicing technique, theory, and your music books, you will likely find that you feel less burnt out.
While this may not be an exhaustive list of ways to keep your love of music intact, it is a good place to start. If you are finding that you are losing your love for music, don’t wait until you’re ready to quit to say something! Be real with yourself, with your parents, and with your teacher! Then you can all work together to come up with a good solution.
Happy Playing :)
Piano & Voice Instructor