Last night, I was practicing and hit a rough patch. I kept stumbling over a section of a song called “Climbing and Falling.”
Then it hit me: my mind wasn’t in the game. I was distracted, stewing over something annoying my mother-in-law had said. 🤯
So, I switched gears and practiced a different song that involves singing: “Bittersweet Symphony.” Which was a better thing for me to work on in that moment.
I started to seriously practice music in college. I was playing in the symphony and trying to learn jazz solos on viola. That’s when I realized my mind had a tendency to wander. I’d be staring at a sheet of music and thinking about something totally different.
I’d been drifting mentally for years, but that’s when I really started to notice it.
Wandering isn’t all bad. Sometimes it sparks new ideas and fresh perspectives on playing. I find that sometimes when I’m feeling anxious or low it leads to a creative breakthrough.
Over time, I turned to meditation, which significantly improved my focus. Learning music isn’t just about the notes; it’s a higher-order skill that involves managing your attention.
All that said, I was simply tired—exhausted, actually, and recovering from a cold. Some of the simplest things are hard to learn. Like practicing earlier in the day when I have more energy.
Does your mind ever wander during practice? How do you handle it? Do you have a go-to song or exercise that helps you refocus?
Share your thoughts in the comments below. We learn better when we learn together.
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