Dealing with the Winter Doldrums: 7 Ideas for Staying Inspired

The holidays are peak season for motivation – there’s so much fun music to play, and family gatherings are great opportunities for showing off skills. But when the tinsel’s been tossed and the tree’s in the compost pile (but the snow is still falling) motivation takes a hit. The next set of concerts usually isn’t for months, and there’s no festive mid-winter tunes to try out. But creative students (or their parents) can keep playing interesting and rewarding. Here are seven  ideas to keep you going:

  1. Schedule a weekly or monthly performance at a nearby nursing home. Residents will be delighted to hear you play, even if you repeat pieces from week to week.
  2. Join an extra-curricular ensemble! The Musica Dolce Youth String Ensemble meets every Saturday at the South Kingstown Guild and is always looking for new members. For information, contact Morgan Santos at
  3. Have a friend who plays an instrument? Why not put together your own duo, trio, or quartet? Pick out some fun music and meet regularly to rehearse. When you’re ready, put on a concert for your families or at a local nursing home.
  4. Does your family go to church regularly? How about offering to play your instrument during hymns at the services? Hymns are often familiar, simple, and fun to play – perfect for learning over short periods of time.
  5. Choose one skill that you’d like to master and set a date! Then come up with a plan for making it happen, including goals along the way and practice strategies to get you there. Keep a journal monitoring your progress – if you get stuck, discuss your difficulties with your teacher or a more experienced player.
  6. Pick a challenging new piece to learn. At the end of each practice session, film yourself playing through it. At the end of a month, look back through the videos to see how you’ve progressed.
  7. Take a private lesson! At Beekman Violin we keep a list of local teachers for every instrument and are happy to give referrals.
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