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#063: Practice Prescription: What to Do When Nothing Is Working

Here is a cry for help that I received from one of our coaching students recently:

 “I'm feeling discouraged because I don't feel that I'm making the progress I want. No fault of my coach, she's excellent! I feel like I'll have really effective practice days then go backwards.” 

We had a check-in call scheduled, so we were able to talk through some of her concerns, but I think what made the most difference to her was simply knowing that she is not alone, that we all feel this way sometimes, and that the backwards slide is actually a necessary part of the learning process.

Progress on the harp or any instrument is a very forwards and backwards kind of thing. Often when we feel that nothing is going right, we are on the verge of a big step forward. It's not unlike a teenager's physical growth spurt where the joints hurt and everything seems out of whack and and then all of a sudden, they're several inches taller. 

It takes some experience to realize that the most powerful moments in our practice are those moments when the piece we've been practicing hard seems to regress. It's usually the signal that we've reached a new level with it. It's frustrating in the moment, and unfortunately it’s the moment when a lot of harpists give up. They put the piece away or even worse, they put the harp away and feel like they’ve failed. 

None of that is necessary.

What is necessary is to know how to survive the slump, to help a backward slide turn into forward momentum. Today I want to equip you with understanding, reassurance and practical steps so you can avoid being mired in the practice Slough of Despond.

Links to things I think you might be interested in that were mentioned in the podcast episode: 

Get involved in the show! Send your questions for future podcast episodes to me at [email protected] 


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