Re-Conditioning Your Mind To Practice

Aug 22, 2023

So you don’t feel like practicing, huh? Join the club, pal! One of the most challenging things with learning music is that it’s something you have to…you know…LEARN! Learning takes time. Learning takes effort. In this instant gratification culture, who wants to deal with time and effort??

I think beyond general laziness lurks a more sinister foe: your unconscious mind. Yes, you’re own brain may actually be keeping you from becoming a great musician. 

Whether you know it or not, you've trained yourself in the past to have negative associations with practicing.  You have, in a sense, conditioned yourself to not practice.  So, if you change your conditioned response to thoughts about practicing music, you'll be able to maintain a practice ritual that could very well last your entire lifetime.  

Motivation alone won't do it.  Positive thinking alone won't do it.  Inspiration alone won't do it.  All those things are temporary.  When those things wear off, you'll always return to the place your associations have conditioned you to go to.  No matter how psyched you are to get better at playing music and becoming a true Practice Warrior, you WILL eventually return to not practicing consistently, if at all.  Therefore, RE-conditioning yourself to make positive associations with practicing is THE most crucial part of becoming a Practice Warrior. It’s so important, that this is the one of the first things we teach in our Practicing Masterclass.  

What could be some powerful, positive neuro-associations you could use to start practicing on a consistent basis? 

Perhaps it could be the absolute knowing that your efforts WILL lead you to success. 
Perhaps it could be that you can connect practicing with your eventual goal of being on stage and impressing your friends. 
Perhaps you can understand that every single great musician has traveled the same road you're on now, and that by simply practicing consistently you can achieve greatness as well. 
Perhaps it could be that you've wanted to improve your playing in the past but have quit, and now you are ABSOLUTELY determined to stick to your practice ritual this time.  

If you’re serious about practicing more consistently and becoming a better musician, take a moment and write down some positive associations you can link up with practicing.  Here are some examples: 

“I'm excited to start sounding good.” 
“My friends will be impressed with my playing.” 
“Practicing is actually fun.”  
“I'm looking forward to getting my skills together.”  
“Practicing relaxes me.”  
“I'm making time for myself.”  
“I'm psyched to learn this new song.”
“I'm proud of myself for practicing.”

This is not a one-time adjustment, by the way.  To engage in reconditioning, you have to know that you are being RE-conditioned.  It's not something you can achieve in a day or even in a week.  When you put new strings on a guitar and tune it up for the first time, the strings will immediately fall out of tune.  You have to 'condition' the strings to stay in tune by CONTINUOUSLY tightening the strings over and over.  Only after stretching the strings and tuning them multiple times have the strings been truly 'conditioned' to stay in tune.  At that point, only minor adjustments need to be made to keep the strings in tune.  It's literally the same concept with re-conditioning your mind. 

So, you've got to come up with truly compelling reasons that you need to practice consistently.  You've got to believe that you MUST engage in practicing.  You've got to condition yourself to believe that not practicing will be incredibly painful, and that practicing will give you amazing pleasure.  You can't just say I 'should' practice or I 'could' have to say I MUST practice!  You have to be absolutely committed to your practice ritual.   

Write down those new associations with practicing, stay consistent with it and you will be amazed at how it’ll change your whole attitude about practicing and playing music. Heck, you'll be amazed at how it changes your whole attitude about life itself!

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