Feeling burnt out? Don’t want to practice? Feel exhausted? You’re not alone – it’s hard to feel motivated and excited all the time. Our brains are actually wired to have productive and rest periods, both in small increments of an hour and larger increments of a full day.


Many students alike struggle with perfectionism, and this can lead to feeling burnt out, frustrated, and wanting to give up or ignore practicing when a challenge arises that is not easily overcome.  The feeling that it is better to control the outcome and stop before failing is quite common amongst perfectionists of any age, and can be tricky to get around.


Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind during your practicing this week:


  1. Make progress, not perfection. Try to think about mistakes and failures as signs of learning and as indicators that you may need a shift in strategy or effort, instead of seeing them as signs that you are reaching your musical limit and becoming frustrated or giving up.  Keep a growth mindset by using positive self-talk, and remember the power of the word “yet” (I can’t do it versus I can’t do it yet). “Yet” leaves room for the possibility that hard work and practice can lead to progress!


  1. Be the excellent role model that you are, and challenge yourself to make mistakes! And always try again. Even if that means you take a quick break for a sip of water and then return, trying again builds persistence and gives more opportunities to get it right.


For more information on the psychology of perfectionism in kids and teens, look into Azmaira H. Maker’s research and tips on healthy achievement for Psychology Today.