Why Do I Not Want To Practice?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Crazyfist, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. Crazyfist


    Sep 26, 2011
    Okay, so I have set myself up a practice routine with all of the things that I need to practice on it; I've got everything from metronome exercises to techniques to transcribing all in one neat little routine and I've set aside certain days to do it.

    The big problem is that I really don't want to do it.

    I have no idea why though! I set the routine up by myself, I've got all of the things I need to practice on it, I even have a log of when I've done it and haven't done it!

    I don't think it matters how much I've actually done it (which isn't much to be fair!) but whether I've done it a lot or not at all... Why don't I want to do it?

    Does anyone else have this problem? Anyone been there before?

  2. I'd recommend a less routine practice. Or go find some other musicians to play with. I get in these musical "ruts" all the time and you've gotta withdraw yourself from the exercise sometimes to get inspiration for the art.
  3. Crazyfist


    Sep 26, 2011
    Cheers man. If it helps at all, I'm at a music college and I'm in two bands... so I'm pretty much surrounded by music!

    The main reason for the routine to spark up was because my tutor said to me "Every day that you don't play bass, you fall behind"... Which is quite flippin' scary!!

    Not only that, but I really want to get better and I know exactly what I have to do! If a less routine approach is going to do that then I might just consider it... The current routine at the moment is about 3-4 hours long, which is actually what my tutor recommended!

    Ahh, "musical ruts", pretty much a perfect description of it.
  4. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006


    OP, I think the operative word in your post is "routine". Generally this means boring chores. As in the quote above, try to find some other musicians to play with. Develop your ear by playing along to your favourite music. Generally, ease up on the regimental parts and just try to make it fun.
  5. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Having the self-discipline to practice is one of the things that separates average players from great players.

    There is nothing wrong with being average - it still means there are just as many players NOT as good as you as there are players better than you.

    Seriously, you need to have goals. It's really hard to discipline yourself to practice regularly if you don't know what you are trying to accomplish and "I want to get better" is not always a good enough reason.

    Good luck.
  6. Crazyfist


    Sep 26, 2011
    Thanks for the replies!

    You're absolutely right on that, it does drag on a bit! The only problem is is that I feel that I need to do all of this to become better, I'm talking about various metronome exercises, practising techniques that I learnt in classes, transcribing and all that jazz...

    How would I go about making that fun? Or less like a routine?
  7. Crazyfist


    Sep 26, 2011
    I'm pinning that up on my wall.
  8. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    While regular practice is important, there will be days when you dont want to play. Missing a day or two here and there is not going to bring you back to ground zero. Even after missing a week's playing, you will catch up fairly quick.

    You say the current "routine" is 3-4 hours long. Try reducing the time to say an hour's practice at a time, twice a day. The famous bassist Carol Kaye recommends this way of practicing. She says that your brain cant take in much more information after that and kinda switches off. Take a break and come back to it.

    Try this for a while. When you realise that your practice session is not going to be a marathon 3 or 4 hour stint, you might actually look forward to it. :)
  9. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    It's not easy and it's not fun, it's WORK. If you're doing it right you fail a lot, you sound bad a lot and you get frustrated a lot. The better you get, the harder you have to work for the smallest amount of progress. It's not a situation that is like eating ice cream all the time. Going to the gym is never going to be like eating ice cream, don't expect it to be.

    There are days you go in the shed and you hit a zone and it's sort of effortless to keep working. But most of the time it's like pulling teeth and it's THOSE times that are valuable. If you keep pushing and do it the next day and the next day, you get past any musical "ruts" or "plateaus" and make actual progress to a new level. What's that quote attributed to the Buddha? It takes a year to form a habit, one day to break one. You do hit a point where being in the shed is just what you do. And, as someone pointed out, the cats that really get somewhere are the ones who can get past this idea of "fun" and really work, so that when they're on the stand, THAT'S when they have fun.
    But be a little more specific when you talk about your practice routine. I know before I started studying with my teacher, a lot of what I was practicing was kind of not doing anything for me.
  10. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    She talks about practicing here on her site. See tip #49.

  11. CraigTB


    Feb 16, 2012
    I'd suggest the useless-sounding advice of "just do it"

    Life is full of stuff that's not fun but you got to do anyway to meet your goals.

    You want to move ahead at work, you have to work hard. You want good grades, you have to study hard. You want to live long and be healthy, you have to have a good diet and you have to exercise. Etc... etc...

    So along with anything you may do to make practicing bass more fun, try also looking at the problem at its root - if you want to succeed at anything you need to have the skill of being a drudge, able to focus and work even when it's not fun.

    Remember too, your secret weapon is force of habit. If you can get over the hump at the beginning, the more successful days you can get under your belt where you're doing the routine, the more force of habit kicks in and makes it easier for you to stay on the beam.

    So my advice is turn off your mind and "just do it". For the next ten days, do the routine every day whether you want to or not. Then see how you feel.
  12. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    I agree. However three or fours at a time (I assume the OP does it in one sitting) is too much IMO.

    We all know that hard work and practice is required. How a person goes about carrying it out, is what can make a difference.
  13. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Screw discipline. Practice things you find interesting and you won't have any problem spending lots of time doing it. One thing will lead to another and you'll probably find you'll come around to practicing things you initially blew off not because you feel you "should" be practicing them but because you're genuinely excited to learn the stuff. Some form of meditation to clear your mind of expectations and the distracting peanut gallery chatter we all have is very helpful if not essential.
  14. Joedog


    Jan 28, 2010
    Pensacola FL
    If it was both fun and easy, think how much more competition we'd all have...LOL! But 3-4 hours a day? I can see how that would get to feel onerous!!! How about an hour of exercises, and an hour of playing along with your favorite CD's? I try to split it up like that, but only for about an hour a day, total. Works for me (I always look forward to it)...you just have to find what works for YOU! I admire your dedication!
  15. wrench45us


    Aug 26, 2011
    my teacher by proxy has recommended 15-20 minutes of focused practice and then a break to 'screw around'
    Then come back to 15-20 minutes of focused practice.
    And don't go on so long it becomes a drag.
    If you begin to associate practicing with the negative, you'll naturally want to avoid it.

    Unless one is in an environment, like school where competiotion and fear of falling behind is a motivator, the only consistent motivator is the sense of getting better. It takes a lot of incremental small steps to get better. There aren't a lot of major breakthroughs in learning an instrument.
    I return to earlier lessons or in lieu of a lot of standard pedagogical practice, I jump around a lot to different songs that are challenging for me (maybe too much for my level) BUT I can get a sense of progress, because it's pretty easy to sense I'm getting better when I return to a piece and it goes easier.
    Playing with others can and should be fun and should restore the point of all that practicing.
  16. TotteryManx


    Jan 15, 2013
    I would say because a practice routine is boring and repetitive. LETS BE SERIOUS HERE. It's not fun at all to play scales up and down the neck. What can change your practice routine is to make it musical. I also chop my "routine" into little blocks with the time varying for each depending on the time I have to practice. Let me give you a example of my "routine" so you might be able to understand.

    1. Warm-up-5-10 mins) I use different finger patterns across all string up and down the neck.

    2. Scales and arpeggios-15 mins) I like to set up a drum beat or find a jam track and practice scales/arpeggios that way. Instead of just running the scales/arpeggios in a pattern I try to play them "musically." If that makes sense.

    3. Sight reading-15 mins) Sitting down in front of a chart with no accommodating instruments can be really boring. I always try to find songs I've never heard and search for the sheet music and play along.

    4. Improve- As long as I want) I find a couple of jam tracks or use a beat machine and simply jam lol. I look forward to this the most because everything I mentioned above comes together at the end.
  17. Kuroth


    Dec 2, 2012
    I am new to the Bass and Actually worried I would have this happen but so far 5 weeks into it I really look forward to practice and getting my hands on my bass.. When at work I think about it a lot and cant wait to get home. Because of my schedule I only get to practice about 1 hr per day(More on the weekends).. I try and only practice for 30 to 45 min at a time and then take a break..

    I also play RockSmith with my Bass but I dont count this as practice time but its a good switch up for me to relax and try and play with "real" songs that I love..
  18. Crazyfist


    Sep 26, 2011
    This kind of routine is almost exactly how I work! Except it's more of a stint for me... a daily stint... And it sucks!

    Based on what everyone has suggested, I think an hour a day would be enough for me for now. I still want it to be fun after all, as much as people say "it's not fun, it's work", why do it then? Work should be fun all the way through!

    If anyone's interested at all, my routine is currently like this, which I try to aim to play at least 5/7 days a week:

    Warm up: 10 minutes
    Gig set list: 30 minutes
    Metronome exercises-
    - On, ahead and behind the beat: 15 minutes
    - Disappearing click exercise: 10 minutes
    - Moving metronome exercise: 15 minutes
    Techniques (from class): 45 minutes
    Fretboard theory: 10 minutes
    Improvisation: 15 minutes

    On top of this I have coursework, song writing and transcribing.

    So yeah... Looking at that now, it does seem like quite a bit!

    I'll do my best to shorten it down to about an hour or two a day, thanks so much guys!

    And to Kuroth: Keep that enthusiasm! If you want to get better, you now know exactly what NOT to do! :)
  19. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    That sounds dreadful. I try to practice things that I enjoy and add challenges along the way. I'm not a hot shot, but I do like to play.