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Player's Block  \ˈplā-ərz ˈbläk\  Change text size for readability...  Print This Page

02:51"Player's Block" is a term that describes a temporary condition in which a musician reaches a point during his or her musical growth, where the progress made is perceived as not as desired or envisioned, expected, or not at all. While this temporary condition often affects beginners, it is not uncommon for more advanced musicians to also experience Player's Block on occasion.

Player's Block is very similar to Writer's Block (a condition known to novelists, journalists and poets) in that an unknown mental or emotional stumbling block or hurdle seems to be preventing further growth or exploration of a musical or written idea. The result almost always leads to frustration which, if left unchecked, can ultimately lead to negative feelings which can further impede creative growth.

If you find yourself experiencing Player's Block, don't despair. You are not alone. Almost every musician will experience Player's Block to varying degrees at some point in their musical journey, and it can range from a mild temporary setback or irritation, to an extreme of loss of confidence and perhaps a debilitating frustration or fear.

Some who experience Player's Block have described it as "hitting a ceiling" while others may view the phenomenon as "reaching a plateau." No matter how one chooses to describe the experience, it is perhaps more important how one chooses to deal with the problem.

Generally, the first step is recognizing if a problem exists, then taking conscious steps to deal with the issue. If you find yourself becoming more and more frustrated over any aspect of your musical growth, you are probably encountering Player's Block to some degree, which almost always reveals itself through frustration. Once recognized as an issue, it becomes crucial to move on to something else, and return to the specific point of frustration at a future time. To keep pushing ahead on a matter that is causing frustration can be like beating your head against a wall and can be counter-productive. In other words, you should probably make a conscious decision not to let frustration overtake your motivation and the joy you find through the instrument you play.

Another positive way to overcome Player's Block is to verbalize the problem with other musicians, or a teacher, who can often provide insights and guidance, as well as emotional support, for your specific point of frustration feeding Player's Block.

Is there hope for those who experience Player's Block? Yes, without question you can overcome this condition, and this can be a part of your normal musical growth and journey. In all likelihood, your personal Player's Block will result in your own personal insights and "ah-ha moments" and another step in your personal growth.
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