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When is it time to quit playing an instrument

Deciding when to quit playing an instrument is a deeply personal choice that often comes with mixed emotions. It can be hard to know when to put down your instrument for good and close your case for the last time.

Before you make that decision, take an opportunity to reflect on when you first began to play. Perhaps an initial burst of excitement and enthusiasm when you started playing an instrument motivated you, or maybe the hours spent caring for your case, tuning your strings, and collecting the best accessories engaged you.

Over time, however, that excitement may have waned, and achieving your musical goals might feel increasingly tedious. It's crucial to assess whether these challenges are part of the normal learning curve, or if they signal a deeper issue that suggests your musical journey has come to an end.

Fighting through the frustrating moments

Young boy playing violin on a bridge in black and white

Everyone faces frustrating moments when learning to play an instrument, as any musician will tell you. It’s a normal part of the journey, and with time it will help build discipline and resilience within your craft. However, knowing how to distinguish between temporary setbacks and persistent struggles is key to choosing whether or not it's time to quit playing an instrument.

Sometimes, trying something different like working with a new teacher who offers a fresh perspective, exploring a different genre of music that excites you, or setting new goals that feel more attainable and motivating can revive your excitement. These changes may either breathe new life into your musical practice, or help you determine to move on once and for all.

Finding the bigger reward

The ability to play an instrument is a lifelong skill that can be very rewarding, even beyond the act of making music. Learning an instrument builds discipline, responsibility, creativity, and focus, all of which are skills that prove beneficial for everyday life. Furthermore, many find learning music develops into a lifelong passion for the art. Being a student of music often transitions into becoming a teacher, sharing the joy and knowledge of the craft with others. Although not uncommon, this passion for music may vary widely.

If you find that you are not feeling as much enjoyment out of playing your instrument as you used to, and the necessary maintenance and practice is just too much to keep up, not all hope is lost. There are ways to rekindle your love of music without devoting all your time and resources to it.

For example, renting a string instrument can be a flexible way to continue your practice without the full commitment of ownership. String instrument rentals allow you to explore your abilities further without a significant financial burden, so you may keep the door open for future opportunities.

Ultimately, figuring out if and when to quit playing an instrument is a personal choice that can come about for a variety of reasons. To make an informed decision, any musician should consider the broader benefits and fulfillment that comes from a lifelong musical commitment before they put their instrument down for the last time.

Additional Resources

Carriage House Violins

Located in Newton, Massachusetts, Carriage House Violins is the instrument sales division of Johnson String Instrument.

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Whether searching for a job, learning about the "Mozart Effect," looking for a summer music camp, or choosing the right instrument string, you need look no further.

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Johnson String Project

A charitable foundation whose goal is to provide high-quality instruments to children who live in under-served communities and who are participating in El-Sistema-inspired programs in Massachusetts.

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Helpful "how to" videos and useful information about JSI and the products and services we offer.

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