Do you ever feel that way? Have you ever thought, “It sounded so much better yesterday! Why is it so much worse today?”
I think this happens to everyone. And it is especially apparent for beginners. I’ve been playing for almost forty years, but there are still times when I play better or worse.
So what can you do?
If you notice that you’re struggling with something that you could easily do before, don’t just keep pounding away at it. Make a change a slight adjustment of some kind.
- Take a one-minute break to breathe and stretch or stick your head out the window.
- Try to notice where the problem lies, and then work on a much smaller, simpler piece.
- Slow it down.
- Speed it up.
- Tinker with the piece, trying different ways to physically do it.
- Try to do this without even making a sound. For example, if working on a difficult piece, finger it with your left hand but don’t bow the strings.
- Alternate between two ways to do something, see which is better.
- This is also a way to test variations.
- Alternate between easy and hard.
- Change your position
- Move to a different part of your room, or even go outside and play.
Check in with your posture. Are you holding the bow right? Are you tense somewhere? Can you relax that somehow? Are you breathing? Don’t forget to breathe (a lot of students do; even me). Are you thinking of other things? Can you acknowledge those thoughts and let them go so you can return to practicing?
Just learn to accept that some days it’s not going to sound as good. Just keep practicing and pay attention to the process. Have faith that if you do this, you’ll get out of the rut before you know it.