Lately I’ve noticed that a lot of my friends have been posting on social media about how difficult they are finding it to practise. I know I have previously written a blog about finding motivation during the pandemic, however, it seems to be getting to the point now where we can’t keep sugar coating the reality of the situation.
Normally, I would be drawing my inspiration from other musicians, watching student-lead concerts and performing in some amazing projects. But instead, I’m at home where the reality is I can’t practise as much as I would like to. I know that this is the case for most of my friends.
Why are musicians feeling so down?
Musicians often take inspiration for interpretation from others; from the friendships and relationships that we have, the conversations, the minute details in our daily lives, the routines we have. However, during lockdown these things have been taken away from us, all we have is social media and various platforms for watching concerts and listening to digital recordings. So surely if this is the case, shouldn’t we be taking inspiration from the current situation of the world and using it to express our suppression? At the beginning of lockdown there was so much hope, we were all so positive about the potential outcomes. But now it seems like we’re studying without having any clear idea on what the future of the music industry will be.
To make matters worse, there seems to be an unintentional amount of pressure coming from teachers urging us to use this time to it’s fullest potential. But realistically how can we? If anything a global pandemic is the last thing I would expect to find creativity and motivation in. Yet something seems to be causing a block for myself and other musicians, it’s a bit like writers block.
What we really need is a safe space to allow ourselves to be creative, which is why many students choose to study at a conservatoire. We have the luxury of dedicating all our time to studying and practising, We are a family, RWCMD nurtures talent and allows it to flourish. To have that suddenly taken away, the buildings and the face to face teaching, makes it extremely difficult to replicate that same feeling wherever the students have gone home to. When we are at home life seems to get in the way a bit more.
We should be trying to create a safe space for ourselves to develop musically, I don’t think we should be trying to replicate what we have at college. Realistically, we can’t replicate the environment we have at college because it is almost unexplainable, being surrounded by likeminded creatives all of the time. Instead, I think it would be good to assess what we have, and make the most out of our situation.
We shouldn’t be pressurising ourselves into practising for X amount of hours, this will create negative feelings about practising and there will be less improvement. So if you only manage to practise 30 minutes, but those 30 minutes are really focussed and intentional, then you’ve done a great job.