Over the past week I’ve found myself adding ‘viola practice’ to my ‘to do’ list. This is no bad thing in some ways as I’m still at the habit-forming stage. But, with some of the enthusiasm of the first few weeks having ebbed away, I had a creeping sense that the viola was becoming a chore, which is absolutely the last thing it should be. One of the joys of learning or returning to an instrument as an adult, is that you can come to it without any feelings of bondage: you’re playing because you want to, you’re giving yourself an opportunity to switch off from everything else and do something that gives you pleasure. It is, for want of a better expression, you-time.
So if you do start to dread practising, my advice is to get your instrument out, choose something, anything that is completely un-taxing – music that you know can play without really having to think about it at all – and just enjoy the tune and the fact that you’re able to make music. For me it was jigs and carols, and before I knew it, I’d been there an hour.