Why Don't I Practice More???


Weren't you totally excited the day you brought home your first dulcimer?  I imagine you practiced 'til your fingertips were sore, or your arms felt like they were falling off from wielding those two hammers.  But then, as days or weeks went by, the time you invested in practicing decreased ... maybe even stopped altogether.  You found excuses to push practice time to the back burner.  I wonder why this has happened to so many of us.  

Well, I have some thoughts about this (of course).  Let's examine the 3 biggest things that may be stopping you from practicing consistently.

Fear of Failure: If you look back at your life so far, you'll realize that you've "failed" at quite a few other things. When you were a baby, you couldn't walk or talk or even feed yourself. As you grew older, there may have been times when you struggled with things like math or reading or passing tests. Maybe it took you a while find a job that was a good fit for you, or maybe you have had trouble communicating with others. The list could go on and on, but I don't want to overwhelm you!

The important part is that you didn't let those struggles define you. You kept going, and eventually, you succeeded. You learned to talk, you learned to do math, and you found a good job. And you can learn to play the dulcimer too … with practice.

Impractical Expectations: If you expected playing the dulcimer would be easy-peasy and then realized it wasn’t as simple as you expected, you might have gotten frustrated. When you get frustrated, you get discouraged. And when you get discouraged, you make decisions not based on logic but on your feelings.

BUT, if you expect learning to play the dulcimer will be challenging and then it actually is challenging, then you don’t get frustrated. You knew up front that becoming fluid on the dulcimer would take time, so you don’t have some unrealistic timeline for when you should see improvement.

Exhaustion: When we talk about feeling exhausted, many people think it means feeling sleepy. But actually, fatigue often comes from using a lot of mental or physical energy. Now, imagine adding in feelings of fear of failure and having too high expectations that can't be met. It's like a recipe for frustration! When you're dealing with all these things, any kind of effort or hard work can make you feel tired, drained, lacking motivation and inspiration. It can make you downright fatigued!

And so, you put the dulcimer back in its case and give up. The fact is, staying motivated to practice is all about perspective. Tell yourself these 3 things.

  1. I CAN do this. I just have to put in the work.
  2. It’s going to take a lot of work, but I am WILLING to put in the effort.
  3. I am going to get enough REST, so I will have the energy and mental fortitude to keep on keeping on!

Then schedule time to sit down, work on your skills, and just be patient. The time you put in is going to yield great results.

Happy dulcimering,



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