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How To Get Back Into Playing After A Long Break

When it comes to playing an instrument, we all go through seasons. Perhaps you used to play when you were younger and then life happened, and the violin sat in the closet gathering dust. Or, maybe you were forced to take a break as a result of an injury or illness, and are wanting to pick it up again. Whatever the case is for you, something in you wanted this instrument back in your life, and I want to congratulate you for taking this step toward playing again! I also want to share a few ways you can ease the transition into playing regularly. Although I am specifically referring to the violin here, these tips can apply to any instrument.

First, we’re going to talk about some mental hurdles to overcome, since 90% of the struggle with getting started really is in the mind. Then, I’ll share some practical tips for reintroducing the violin into your daily life, so you can have some small steps to begin taking for best results!

  1. Try to avoid any guilt. At this beginning stage, you may be feeling guilt or even shame for the time you let pass without picking up your instrument, and that is completely normal. But it’s not worth beating yourself up over it. The fact is, the time passed, and you are choosing to move forward now and start playing again. Let go of those negative feelings, and instead, try to find motivation through them.

  2. You don’t need to play catch-up. If it has been several months or years since you’ve played, you might be feeling like you need to make up for lost time. However, this is a recipe for fast burnout. If you start by trying to do everything at once and practice for several hours a day, you will likely lose steam, since this is a major shift in your routine. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt, and ease your way back into it - one day at a time. Slow and steady wins the race!

  3. Find music inspiration. Your tastes may have changed since you last played, and you might want to work on new styles and pieces of music. Perhaps the last time you were playing regularly you were focused on classical pieces, but now you're more interested in bluegrass. Or, maybe you tried American fiddle styles for awhile, and now want to attempt jazz or world folk music. There's really no limit to this. Listen to different kinds of music and discover what you want to play, so you will be excited to learn again. Make it fun!

  4. Make a practice plan. Come up with a realistic schedule for yourself. As I mentioned earlier, it’s important to ease your way into playing again, and that could mean starting with just 2-3x a week, and seeing how it fits in with your current schedule. You may even find that dividing up your practice time throughout the day is the best method for you, focusing on just one area at a time. Trial and error will come into effect here - there really are no rules. If something doesn't work, don't give up! Try shortening your practice time, or adjusting the time of day you practice. To find out how to make a practice plan, watch this video.

Tip: Taking private lessons can be a great way to maintain accountability and have some guidance during this time.

That’s all I have for you for now. I hope you’re able to use these tips to get you back in the game and having fun with your music making. I wish you the best of luck, and as always, happy practicing!

For more on this topic, and if you need a little encouragement, watch the video below!

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