You have been practicing really hard, you have been making progress, and now things seem to be getting worse instead of better. It feels like nothing is working and like you have completely forgotten how to play the violin/fiddle. I am sure that we have all been there! So, on a day like that, what do you do?
1. Don’t panic and don’t beat yourself up! This happens to professional musicians as well, so it is nothing to worry about, but is incredibly frustrating!
2. Slow the passage down to see if you can play it slowly. Sometimes if I can prove to myself that I can play the passage slowly, I am able to speed it up again.
3. If that doesn’t work, try to play something else. Something familiar, something that you enjoy and can play well. I like to do this just to see if I can break whatever pattern is occurring. I sometimes do this in lessons with my students as well if they are having trouble with a passage on a given day.
4. If you really can’t seem to get beyond the frustration, step away from the violin and come back to it later. At this point it is good to do something unrelated to music. Go for a walk, read a book, or do something that will relax you. Once you hit a certain point with frustration, you can actually just be compounding the problem by continuing on. Sometimes I return to the passage later that day, sometimes I wait until the next day.
I don’t have a good reason for why this happens, but I do still days like this at times! I hope that you don’t experience this too often, but remember when you do, that you are not alone, and it will get better!
If you have any good suggestions for how to beat these days, please leave a reply below.