Dealing with Practice Frustration
Updated: Apr 16
Have you ever had one of those practice sessions where everything seems to go wrong? You make a couple of mistakes that turn into what feels like dozens of errors, your fingers feel like lead or they're just not cooperating, then frustration takes over.
Welcome to practice frustration.
I know that feeling well. It's a type of frustration mixed with disappointment with a hint of anger. Needless to say, anything you try to play when you feel like this is going to fail. This practice frustration happens every once in a while and this is how I deal with it:
1. Do not try to push through this feeling and continue practising. You will only stand to become more frustrated, disappointed and you might even do some damage to your self esteem as a pianist.
2. Step away from the piano, go and do something that relaxes you and makes you feel good. Do some yoga, drink tea, do breathing exercises, go for a walk, read a book, scroll through social media, whatever it is that works for you and gets your mind of the feeling.
3. Come back to the piano, or don't! Once you've calmed down, if you feel like coming back to the piano do, if not then don't. It's OK to leave your practice there. I do like to come back and just play some easy pieces or technical exercises to reassure myself that I can in fact play despite what happened before! But, don't feel like you have to come back. Leave it! Sometimes it's better to start fresh again tomorrow.
I hope that these tips help you to deal with practice frustration next time it hits. Always give yourself permission to walk away and not come back until you're ready to tackle it again.