Why you are not yet playing as well as you could
Okay, your development on the instrument doesn’t really want to happen to you and you’re beginning to wonder whether you shouldn’t just change teachers – or worse: whether you should stop playing the cello altogether…!
Do you know this? Maybe that’s why you’ve had several teachers, made several attempts to get your dream instrument back, to try it again (because you really like it!).
But apparently you were right, yes, basically you have always known it: this is only for the gifted. Not for you. Too bad.
hrrm hrrm … (clears throat)
Since you are reading this article, I assume that you would like to know a little bit more about it now and would perhaps even be grateful if I would stop using your excuses at this point. Besides, this is my job and you deserve to have someone who is competent in his or her field and who really takes you a step further.
Now, in general, I keep seeing four “practice” or “learn” types. Since the word “learning types” is not actually correct here, I’ll just call them progress types. What they all have in common is that they could be much better – but they are not, because progress is slow, because they block themselves in learning. Sabotage. And because they tolerate it. Tolerate. Take it for granted. Okay find!
And yes, everything is okay, you’re okay! Of course you can learn and progress at your own pace. You don’t have to have big goals or go “fast, fast” and improve. I just don’t want you to blame your teacher or even worse, your “missing talent”! Because in your case it’s not about great ability or lack of talent, when it’s always “95% hard work and only 5% talent”. And that’s exactly what it is – there you go. You are here because you want to play better. Because you love music. And you want to express yourself better on the cello. And because you’re not doing that well yet, even though you put a lot of time and effort into your beloved hobby.
So, let’s see what it is about you that might help you recognize yourself.
Progress Type #1: The Sloth
You practice too little or your subconscious doesn’t want you to play the cello and make musical progress, so it prevents you from doing so and keeps you from consciously practicing by distraction (!). One could also say that you are simply sluggish or “lazy”, whereby you talk yourself into this lack of drive and justify it to yourself, e.g. with reasons like “I don’t have time” or “I had to take care of my grandma first, that was really important!
Don’t worry – you’re not alone with this 🙂 And I also know that you’re fed up with it yourself and that you don’t like to be that guy at all, in fact you can even be incredibly hard-working! There are mechanisms at work in you that can be solved on an emotional level. If, for example, through experiences in your childhood, you have unconsciously accepted the conviction that you are not “made” for cello because either your fingers are too small/too long or your concentration is too weak, then from the perspective of your mind, which always wants to be right, you “may” not develop on the instrument at all, because otherwise the opposite, namely progress, would occur! This does not yet fit together in your stored “system”, your mind would be wrong! Therefore, your subconscious mind “creates” scenarios again and again that keep you from playing the cello and from practicing.
What you are missing is a real basic motive. A drive or a motivation that is so strong that it boosts your endurance. And: a sense of achievement through practice and playing techniques that really work – the joy and inspiration that comes with it, which drives you to keep on rushing in this direction and smashing obstacles.
Progress type #2: The stressor
You are suuuuuuperfleißig, but practice much too much, in addition you have excessive demands and expectations of yourself, suffer from perfectionism and put yourself under pressure, which robs you of energy, endurance, peace and joy. You take little or no breaks and are unaware of what really keeps your painstakingly achieved results fixed and stable in the long term. When you do take a break from your practice goal tour, it unplannedly takes on far too long, which is actually a cry from your overstrained body longing for rest and relaxation.
Rather than falling into these two extremes, it would help you to adopt the posture of an endurance runner instead of a sprinter in the long run, and thus to hold out easier and better.
Progress Type #3: The Displacer
You practice wrongly or you don’t know what really helps you while practicing – or at least what bothers you. But you do not change anything about it! Or you know or could, but you don’t. You think you just have to practice “more” and yes, of course you have to practice “right”. You blame yourself for not doing it, because you know that it would be better (at least you think so). And as soon as you would do it, success would already come in playing. But it’s not really coming yet – because it’s up to you, yeah, you’re just going to start practicing better – tomorrow, the day after tomorrow! You know how it works, you just have to do it, just apply it and don’t always play across the board… In any case: soon you will take care of it 🙂
For many of these guys the issue of healing through music plays a role and therefore it is more important for you to just play – even if “somehow” – than to become technically insanely perfect. My recommendation for you: your self-healing effect will be all the greater and will have all the more impact on you if you are able to play even more according to your wishes and needs through technical maturity/improvement. Both is absolutely compatible with it.
Progress type #4: The bee
You practice well and are very diligent, but you do not know – or not all – of the decisive “levers” and thus keep yourself small by trying everything on your own, by not taking any help, and thus on the one hand reflecting only one-sidedly and on the other hand limiting yourself in your size and effectiveness. This type achieves an insane amount under often challenging conditions and exhausts himself because he has the claim to be independent and “good”. You may have it easier! And also ask for help. This will help you get ahead better and, above all, easier, without always having to fight like this.
What almost all guys have in common is that their time management could be better when practicing. This increases stamina and energy at the same time, in the long run you will have more fun and a sense of achievement.
If you want me to analyze your situation with you and coach you personally, just apply here.
All the best for you, your