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Connecting with your musical "why": Building fun and creativity into your practice

Updated: Jul 17, 2021

Dr. Clara Blood, professional oboe player with her instrument.
Dr. Clara Blood

As we find ourselves almost two months into this period of self- isolation, you might find yourself in a bit of a practice funk and in need of some inspiration. Whenever I find myself in this headspace I try to reconnect with my musical "why." Here is a list of questions I ask myself to rekindle some musical motivation:

What drew you to music in the first place?

What drew you to your instrument?

What music brings you to tears?

What music makes you want to dance in your living room (all due respect to the Jonas Brothers)?

What music makes you feel you can conquer the world?

What music or musical performance gives/ gave you goosebumps?

What music gives you faith in humanity?

These pieces can be classical, pop, rap, hip hop, etc. The idea is to reconnect with your reasons for pursuing music in the first place. Make yourself a playlist and keep a running list of these pieces. It will likely change over the course of your musical career. Take it a step further and write down the emotions, places, and people you associate with that piece. Heck, play "Eye of the Tiger" on your instrument if that's what gets you off the couch and into the practice chair. Playing a fun tune on your instrument is well.. fun! Not only is it enjoyable but it is also a good way to develop your ear. Build some fun time into your practice routine. Practicing fundamentals provides the tools for expressing your musical imagination but without creativity built into your routine those tools collect dust in the toolbox.

What pieces are on your musical motivation playlist? Let me know! I've got quite the mix including: Andante from Barber Violin Concerto, third movement Adagio from Mozart Gran Partita, Lady Gaga's "Born This Way", Missy Elliott's "Get Your Freak On"...

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