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Recently, a student asked me how to increase his motivation. While it’s a good question, I couldn’t decide whether to take much time on answering it or not. The bottom line: Motivation has to come from within. If you’re having problems staying motivated, there’s not much anyone can do to help you.

Sure, I could spout off a million inspirational quotes and/or give a huge pep talk- but the results of that are likely to last a short time. If you think about some of the most accomplished, successful athletes/musicians/etc you will NEVER find that they needed someone else to motivate them.

Do I lack motivation sometimes? Of course- and that’s completely natural. In my own experience, the hardest part of practicing is getting the oboe out of the case. Once I start playing, time flies by very quickly. The same thing goes for reedmaking, exercising, studying, and virtually every other task.

Personally, my motivation comes from several places: the desire to have a successful business and be an independent woman, the desire to make my own hours and the ability to work from home while raising a family, and the desire to give back educationally and musically to the arts community. It doesn’t matter what motivates you– maybe it’s beating a colleague in a competition, making more money, or being first chair in an ensemble. Almost anything is acceptable as long as it gets you working!

My assumption is: if you’re having a hard time motivating yourself, you’re probably not challenging yourself enough. Tough love? Yes- but nobody is going to “baby” your way to the top. Now get moving.

“You can commit no greater folly than to sit by the roadside until some one comes along and invites you to ride with him to wealth or influence.” –John Gough

Now go do something productive