Tips to Avoid Practice Burnout

We all get to a point in our practicing where we stagnate, feel burned out, or are just plain sick of it! This is normal. As musicians, we tend to have the attitude that we “must practice many hours a day, every day or else”! Try a different approach. If we consider that musicians are just ‘small muscle athletes’ we can approach practicing like athletes approach workout sessions.


Here are some ideas.

1. Try a 3 weeks on, 1 week off cycle. Make the 3 weeks intense but know that you have a week off coming up.

2. Try the 2-a-day approach. Do one practice session early in the morning and another in the evening. I feel great when it’s 9am and I’ve already done my scales and Sevcik.

3. Listen to your body. If your left hand hurts, do bowing exercises.

4. It’s not always about distance running. Try sprints – practice really hard for 20 minutes then take 5 minutes off. Repeat.

5. Mix it up! Been practicing every day for years from 6-8pm? Try practicing in the morning instead.

6. Get some new exercises! We stagnate when do the same too long. Buy a new etude book. Work on new excerpts. Start your scales at the top.


  • Hi Peter, I picked up this post over at Double Bass blog and thought I’d check your site. I like some of the info you have on practicing.

    I very much the idea of item 4 and think more musicians should adopt this ‘little and often’ approach as it is much more productive than trying to do hours in a single stint.

    I’m also interested in item 1. Do you have any experience of this in practice? Or know anyone that does? I’d be interested to hear.

  • Thanks! I did reply over at DBB.

    You’ve got a great site! I’m going to add it it my links – can you do the same?


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