The other day, I had planned to do my usual practice but when the time came I found myself making all kinds of distractions and activities for myself in order not to have to sit down in the practice room.
When I really thought about what was going on, I was perplexed.
I love playing music and I enjoy my practice so why didn’t I want to do it?
Was I too tired to do it? No.
Was I bored of my practice routine? No.
Did I not know how to practice or motivate myself? No.
Was I just feeling too lazy? Maybe…
I’m still not sure what it was but I do go through this from time to time, which is why I am writing this article.
I want to explore with you what may cause resistance to practice, and although it could be related to any of the above questions, I think that often there is a deeper reason.
Before I go on, however, let me tell you what happened.
I remembered that practice makes me feel more positive and energized and I didn’t put any pressure on myself and I just made the effort to sit down at the piano. From there on, everything else was easy and I did feel better afterward, just for having made the effort.
In fact, I felt a lot better than I would have had I given in to the feeling of resistance.
So there’s a good point to remember in the first place. Even if you don’t feel like doing it, what will make you feel better in the end, doing it or not doing it? For more details check out bands in Melbourne.
Whether you are an experienced musician or a beginner, feeling resistant to practicing music can be a problem for all of us from time to time.
In this article, I want to explore my particular situation so that you may use this method as way to explore your own.
What is Resistance?
Resistance is a reaction to change and the reason we feel it is because when change occurs we are forced to step into the unknown and therefore feel challenged.
Challenge and the unknown are uncomfortable.
Many of us don’t like feeling uncomfortable and so resistance helps us to stay where we are in the safety of our comfort zone.
“Emotional resistance is the force that drives you to keep your unhealthy habits firmly in place. This force is often hidden and goes undetected, for example:
- Avoidance of feelings (e.g., drink alcohol to reduce social anxiety)
- Unconscious emotions (e.g., overeat in self-destructive ways to suppress anger, to avoid interpersonal conflicts and to comfort oneself)
You can be motivated to change and emotionally resist it at the same time …”
To illustrate, consider this statement for example:
“I think that I should practice but I really don’t feel like it”.
If you do not understand and lower your resistance, you’ll stand still, even though you are trying to move forward.”
In order to overcome the effects of resistant behaviour the first thing you have to do is to identify when you are feeling resistant.
If you are too tired and just need a break, you will know that and be fine about not practicing.
However, if you recognise that you are avoiding practice or that you should practice but just don’t feel like it, or if the thought of practicing and not practicing both make you feel uncomfortable, then you are experiencing resistance.
If you are resisting practice, you are resisting change.
Then you have to ask yourself, how is practice going to change you or your circumstances?
For me, practice makes me feel good, I like the challenge of it and it takes me further toward my goal of becoming a masterful musician.
What’s so uncomfortable about that?
Well, to be honest, I don’t know what life would be like for me if I was to become the musician I want to be.
I have only ever felt like I am chasing that goal and that’s what I am comfortable with.
What will I do if I become a great musician?
Oh, and now I have the answer…
I am scared that if I do become the musician I want to be I won’t be able to do the things I want to do and have the “musician’s life” of gigs and touring because I have a family, I am a mother and I may have to choose between two different lives: One life, I have dreamed about having since I was a child and the life I have made for myself (which I am very happy with).
I feel a clash here. I really don’t like not being able to do what I want to do, so better I remain in the situation I am used to.
I realise that this “fear” isn’t rational but something I have learned is that feelings and fears have their own way of existing and often don’t match up to rational thought and it doesn’t change the fact that they are real. Therefore, you just have to accept them just the way they present themselves.
Well, there you have it.
I honestly hadn’t thought about my music that way until right now, writing this article for you.
Now, I have brought this fear of mine into the light of consciousness I can make some choices.
I can make the choice to become the musician I want to be instead of being a slave to my resistance because now I know what I am scared of and so, I can choose just to acknowledge that fear and keep on working on my masterfulness.
I think it is important for me, and others who may be in a similar position, to realise that we can always find a way to accommodate change. That’s what makes us such a successful species after all – we are adaptable.
But what I hope is that you now understand the process you have to go through to overcome resistance.
- Know when you are feeling resistant.
- Ask yourself what is going to change when you practice and what feels uncomfortable about that. (You have to be honest and you have to think deeply.)
- When you have the answer, simply be aware of your realisation and make a choice either to continue with your music or not.
This has been a very interesting article for me to write for you and now I will go away and think about this realisation I have made.