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  1. #1
    Official Spender of Too Much Time on SOTW/P. Mauriat Fanatic jmoen3's Avatar
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    Default WTB: Motivation to keep playing

    I haven't made a thread here in some time, as I've had a severe lack in motivation, not just in my sax playing, but in my overall life. I'm slowly dealing with it, and have picked up the sax only a few times since the start of 2012.

    I'd just like for some tips on keeping yourself motivated to keep playing, as what my practice had consisted of lately, I find myself very unhappy with my overall sound and ability. I realize this is probably due to my lack of practicing, but even when I was practicing regularly, I found myself becoming tired of what I was hearing.

    So if anyone has any suggestions for a serious lack of motivation to play, I'd love to hear them
    Alto: P. Mauriat 67R w/ Solid Nickel Silver Neck/Drake Custom Ceramic .085/Van. Java 2.5 Reeds and Hahn Synthetic 2.5
    Tenor: CE Winds Brushed Vintage Gold Alpha Tenor/Jody Jazz ESP .120/RJS 2M Unfiled
    Soprano: CE Winds Silver Plated Alpha Saxello/Yanagisawa 7 HR/ Van Java 2.5 Reeds
    My Playing: http://www.soundclick.com/bands/defa...?bandID=954022
    -Jared

  2. #2
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    Default Re: WTB: Motivation to keep playing

    Hello jmoen3,

    motivation is my main concern at the moment to. Unfortunately, I can't give you a magic formula to solve this issue as I truly believe that it is all about persistence. Each person has their own ways to keep themselves motivated in whatever they do in life, you just have to find yours and stick to it, it is not easy.

    I just keep repeating one sentence that I heard recently, and that in my case, I have to admit that it just makes sense: Stop global whining!

    Nevertheless, I will share what somehow is working for me with fair success:

    - whenever you're in the whining zone, just slap yourself and try to push away those thoughts
    - remember that all great masters spent thousands of hours playing. Can't recall the exact numbers but I think that Bird himself, spent 14 hours a day for 3 years just practicing
    - I believe that monotony can have a great impact on motivation. If that is the case, just try to provide some diversification into your study
    - Record yourself and keep a history on your takes with some comments and even with your own evaluation. If you hear them later, likely you will understand your evolution.

    Wrapping up, just keep in mind: your motivation must come from you, at most, what you will find here is some people who can relate with your thoughts. Weirdly, I think that knowing that you are not alone can improve the levels of motivation so:
    You are not alone in this fight

    Best regards and good luck with it.

  3. #3
    Distinguished SOTW Member
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    Michael Ward's Avatar
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    Default Re: WTB: Motivation to keep playing

    When I was in my first few years of playing ( a long time ago) what I found very motivating was going to see music live. Seeing a great sax player..doesn't have to be famous..I would rush home to my instrument and really want to play. Just an idea..
    I think practicing in isolation can be boring and quite pointless. If you can get with some other players of your own ability this can be very motivating and gives you something to work towards.

  4. #4

    Default Re: WTB: Motivation to keep playing

    Hey!

    I've found a good article on inspiration and motivation. It's really helpful!
    http://www.bestsaxophonewebsiteever....phone-players/
    Tenor: Selmer Mark VII (250xxx), Jody Jazz HR 7*, Gonzalez Jazz 2.5
    Alto: Buescher True Tone (149xxx), Meyer NY USA 6M, Vandoren ZZ 3.5

  5. #5
    jetmech's Avatar
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    Default Re: WTB: Motivation to keep playing

    Find a community band to join and start attending. Even if the music isn't what you would normally play, it will give you some structure and goals to work toward. That's exactly what I did and it has evolved into playing in a 24 piece Jazz orchestra playing stuff I love. Never would have imagined I would be playing in a 2400 seat amphitheater with a big band. You never know where things will lead.

  6. #6
    Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru milandro's Avatar
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    Default Re: WTB: Motivation to keep playing

    yes, definitely find a band to play in and get out to play as many jam sessions as you can. Beside this, try to address all the other problems. Therapy won’t cure depression (if that’s what you have) but help you go through this phase and will give you some instruments to withstand future depressions.

  7. #7

    Default Re: WTB: Motivation to keep playing

    Do you have a teacher?
    Motivation must come from within but if you don't set yourself reachable goals and if you don't experience a feeling of succeess it is nearly impossible to stay motivated. A good teacher could help you with this. I listened to some of your recordings (on soundclick) and there is much you could work on but it sounds (reading your text above) like you don't know what to do and how to get better at the instrument.
    Also playing together with other musicians really can motivate you.
    Play more music that is fun to you. Try to start to have fun.
    The ballance between fun and less fun work on the instrument should be balanced.
    Without fun no progress.
    Relax, after each downvery often an up is coming.

  8. #8
    jetmech's Avatar
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    Default Re: WTB: Motivation to keep playing

    I'm basically a beginner/intermediate player again and playing with that band has kept me motivated. The director has dropped some very good musicians because of bad attitudes. I show up every rehearsal with a good attitude, learn the music by performance time(though sometimes it's a struggle), and I do extra things for the band like have my kids video performances for facebook or youtube.

    In turn he pushes me to keep learning and progressing. Gave me a 45 bar improv solo in the opening number for the biggest show we will be doing. That's some serious motivational material. I found a great teacher and I am loving music again and I was away for a long time.

    The right teacher can make a world of difference as well. That's why I left the sax in the first place. I wasn't going where I wanted with it, and didn't know how to get there.

  9. #9
    Distinguished SOTW Member RandyJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: WTB: Motivation to keep playing

    jmoen3,
    Contrary to what some people might think playing a saxophone is not a life sustaining requirement for happiness.

    I've made a wonderful living performing and with about 45 years of playing behind me I can honestly say performing still is what I love to do every day.

    Over the years I've had some hobbies, some lasted months and some lasted years but when I tired of then and they no longer had any interest to me (and in two cases I physically could not do them to the level I was use to) I simply moved on.

    If you have lost the desire to play don't beat yourself up over it, just move on, you will find other interests.

  10. #10
    jetmech's Avatar
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    Default Re: WTB: Motivation to keep playing

    Quote Originally Posted by RandyJ View Post
    jmoen3,
    Contrary to what some people might think playing a saxophone is not a life sustaining requirement for happiness.

    I've made a wonderful living performing and with about 45 years of playing behind me I can honestly say performing still is what I love to do every day.

    Over the years I've had some hobbies, some lasted months and some lasted years but when I tired of then and they no longer had any interest to me (and in two cases I physically could not do them to the level I was use to) I simply moved on.

    If you have lost the desire to play don't beat yourself up over it, just move on, you will find other interests.
    If he came here looking for advice there must be some desire. Its easy to lose that motivation without any outlet.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: WTB: Motivation to keep playing

    The thing that always helped me when I was younger was playing with recordings. I would drink some coffee and crank a recording of a sax solo I loved. Make it something modal or with changes you can navigate. It would have to be a solo that got me totally pumped and excited. I would crank it up and play along as best i could the whole time imagining I was the performer. When I was in high school I used to play to Chuck Mangione live at the Hollywood bowl because that was the only jazz album my parents had. I would listen to the crowd noise and applause and really imagine I was on stage and that good. Doing this really helped me a ton. the important thing is to ficus on what you can do right and be positive about it. If I copied one lick and got it sounding good I would focus on that and feel good about it. I wouldn't dwell on the other 99% of what I played that sounded lame. I would try to focus on a few things that were achievable and I would think about feeling good about those things. Don't dwell on the negative! I've had a ton of students that do this and it is a killer! Unless you break out of that thinking you will be your worst enemy. Instead be your biggest fan thinking wise............Good Luck.

  12. #12
    Distinguished SOTW Member/Sax Historian paulwl's Avatar
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    Default Re: WTB: Motivation to keep playing

    Quote Originally Posted by jetmech
    If he came here looking for advice there must be some desire. Its easy to lose that motivation without any outlet.
    True. But many of us have a high level of commitment that motivates us through times when the passion isn't there. That is really part of the professional ethic, and it makes it hard to sympathize with people who ever lack motivation. Some believe it's either your life's calling or it's just a hobby. Still, if it's a passion, it's more than a hobby.

    I agree with those who say hear live music, jam live, and play along with records. These things have always been a positive experience for me.

    Practice can be boring and pointless sometimes, but those are the times we can "take it apart" and find a different way to work on the same technique - or even just part of it. That is key to staying in the zone and interested.
    Jazz = a man with a $5,000 horn driving a $500 car to a $50 gig.
    Conn, Buescher & Martin Saxes - Selmer & Conn Clarinets - Woodwind, Morgan, Link & Brilhart Mouthpieces - Alexander Reeds

  13. #13
    Distinguished SOTW Member RandyJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: WTB: Motivation to keep playing

    Quote Originally Posted by jetmech View Post
    If he came here looking for advice there must be some desire. Its easy to lose that motivation without any outlet.
    Not necessarily, some people look for crutches or outside influences to attain or sustain many things when indeed they shouldn't. Only jmoen3 can figure it out for himself. I would never presume I could give him some magic word of wisdom to rekindle a desire that might not be there anymore.

    JR

  14. #14
    DTExpress's Avatar
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    Default Re: WTB: Motivation to keep playing

    What's your bag? Play to your strengths. I've come to realize that except for a handful of great artists who have the vision, motivation and ability to evolve and change, most performers make a career out of playing to their strengths. Personally I take pride in striving to be proficient and fit in in any genre I'm playing but I still play to my strengths. After 30 years I've come to realize "what I can do" and it hasn't stunted my growth it has actually allowed me to gain more confidence, have more fun AND my practicing is more productive. Instead of attacking things willy nilly thinking I don't have time to learn everything there is to know I discover things that I want to learn and add to my bag and my practice has taken on a more relaxed thorough approach.
    I'm not satisfied yet but what artist or performer ever is?

  15. #15
    Distinguished SOTW Member Dr G's Avatar
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    Default Re: WTB: Motivation to keep playing

    Quote Originally Posted by RandyJ View Post
    If you have lost the desire to play don't beat yourself up over it, just move on, you will find other interests.
    I agree. Maybe music isn't your bag or maybe it's just a choice of the wrong horn - that it doesn't make that sound in your head that moves you.

    Have you spent any time just listening to music? Have you identified a particular voice in music that speaks to you?

    Not everyone has to play tenor but I do - I mean I HAVE to, it's the only horn of the sax family that moves me. For people with a different brain chemistry, the trumpet connects better (although I cannot see how). Still others prefer percussion for a more physical connection.

    And then there are those that play golf (another pastime that I don't understand).

    I think it's a matter of finding what motivates you rather than selecting a random object and then trying to discover what can provide the motivation to make the connection.

    "Here's a trumpet, now go enjoy it." - Say what?!!!!!!
    Go for The Tone,

    g



    "When you are doing well, don't forget to do good." - Sichan Siv.

  16. #16
    Distinguished SOTW Member Fader's Avatar
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    Default Re: WTB: Motivation to keep playing

    I agree with everyone who said, "Join a band." But it is a personal journey. Having folks that are depending on you to learn your part motivates me. Wanting to be a better player sometimes does not do it for me where the fear of letting others down does. Being in a working bad is extra motivational to me. The desire to not sound like a second-rate hack in front of a crowd seems to motivate me as well.

    Or you could just chuck it all, get a tall beer and hit the beach....

  17. #17
    Distinguished SOTW Member/Sax Historian paulwl's Avatar
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    Default Re: WTB: Motivation to keep playing

    Why call it fear (unless you were brought up on fear and it ain't no thang)? Why not respect?

    Working because others depend on you and not wanting to let them down is respect for others.
    Not wanting to sound like a hack in public means working for your own self-respect.

    The choice is not fear or beer. That's drastic.
    Jazz = a man with a $5,000 horn driving a $500 car to a $50 gig.
    Conn, Buescher & Martin Saxes - Selmer & Conn Clarinets - Woodwind, Morgan, Link & Brilhart Mouthpieces - Alexander Reeds

  18. #18
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    Default Re: WTB: Motivation to keep playing

    Lots of great advice here! As people, we all have different things that motivate us, we just have to find them. Similar to many here, performance motivates me. I want to play with good players, so I am motivated to practice so I can be a good player as well, and that way I can play with other good players!
    Martin D. Williams
    Yeah, I did that.

  19. #19
    Distinguished SOTW member/Official SOTW Sister bandmommy's Avatar
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    Default Re: WTB: Motivation to keep playing

    Aw man, you hit the wall. Sorry about that.
    Just lay there on the ground and rest for a little while.
    Afterwards you'll feel better and get back to having fun.
    Old reed players are like fine wine. They only get better with age. Tom Hagen

    Play the Music, not the instrument.

  20. #20
    More horns than I'm worthy of . . . Mick Stuppguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: WTB: Motivation to keep playing

    Hey Kiddo, good to see you back. Some good advice here.

    I've found (over my 55 years) that life is generally cyclical. Sometimes there are even cycles within cycles, and when you hit a double-bottom, it can feel pretty heavy. The trick for me is to try to remember in the down periods that it's a temporary state, and that good stuff isn't far away. Don't give into the temptation so believe that it will never get better. Be open to being surprised by joy, and next thing you know, there it is. It hasn't failed me yet, anyway. And when you're in an "up", just sit back and enjoy the ride for as long as you can.

    If this sounds like the old power-of-positive-thinking thing, well, guilty as charged. Without apologies. Best wishes to you.
    - Mick -
    Mind frequently on vacation, mouth usually working overtime.

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