8 Ways for Orchestral Musicians to Stay Inspired


It’s 2023 and we all have new year’s resolutions – many musicians will, undoubtedly, have “playing or making more music” as one of them. But sometimes you need to come up with ways to keep you wanting to practise and play. Here are some top tips to keep inspired.  

1. Find some music you love!

A male violinist playing the Cremona SV130 ViolinOne of the biggest problems I had when I started learning the double bass was that I wasn’t a fan of the music used for exams.

So, to keep myself motivated to play, I would often try and play other pieces of music I like, either by ear or sheet music found online.

A major benefit of this is that it’s very enjoyable to play songs you’re familiar with! 

Because you already know the tune well, you can focus on playing with musicality rather than pure technique. Honing technique is, of course, very important, but the goal is to think entirely about how you’re communicating the music.

Learning by ear is particularly good for your aural skills (listening). Plus, sheet music can cost money, especially if it’s a more recent piece of music.

If you enjoy classical music then imslp.org is a great resource for sheet music, much of which is out of copyright and, therefore, free! 

2. Write some music

SubZero AI2 USB Audio InterfaceIf you play an instrument, why not compose and record some music with it?

You could write down your ideas on manuscript paper or simply capture them with some recording gear. Audio interfaces and microphones are the first bits of equipment you should look for, and a DAW might be useful too. 

You don’t need to worry about having a whole band or ensemble with you either to make some music.

Solo pieces are perfect ways to explore your instrument or showcase your skill to other people. You could always use recording software or a loop pedal to layer up your instrument’s sound and create rich textures with harmonies. 

Shop now | Manuscript paper 

Shop now | Studio gear 

3. Try a new technique or style

Guitar pedalsUnless you’re playing more contemporary music, orchestral playing techniques tend to be pretty standard. But every orchestral instrument has a huge palette of fascinating sounds that can be achieved with non-standard techniques.

These techniques are often known as extended techniques.

Some extended techniques can be very challenging to get right but are very rewarding when you do.

On string instruments, for example, harmonics are a common way of expanding the sounds your instrument can produce. They can be hard to master but you can create some really interesting music with them.  

You could also try something completely different.

Experimenting with effects pedals is becoming increasingly popular with classical musicians, and for good reason. There isn’t a rule book that says only guitarists can use pedals, so why can’t orchestral musicians?  

Shop now | Guitar pedals 

4. Listen to musicians that inspire you

If I feel uninspired with my double bass, I seek out music that includes this instrument to try and boost my enthusiasm and motivation.

Videos of people playing also really get me in the mood to play.

Sometimes seeing a great, highly skilled player can encourage you to practise in the hope that you’ll be as good as them one day. 

5. Set a goal… or don’t!

Gear4music 44V-100 violinSetting yourself a goal can be a very useful way to add some structure to practice sessions.

It’s also sure to motivate you to pick up your instrument to achieve that goal.

You don’t need to worry about this every time you pick up your instrument, however.

Often, I like to just pick up my bass and “noodle” for a little bit.

This is often not seen as a “productive” use of time, but why should you be productive every time you pick up your instrument?

The biggest part of learning and playing an instrument is to have fun.

Noodling is fun and that’s okay.  


6. Don’t force yourself to practise

This is an important one, many musicians will try to spend a set amount of time practising but not achieve anything.

If you feel you aren’t making any progress or doing any decent practice, stop. There’s no point in wasting time trying to practise when you aren’t achieving anything worthwhile.

Maybe revisit your instrument later, do something else for a while and you may find that you have a more productive practice session afterwards.  

7. Start something new?

Learning a new instrument can keep you enthusiastic about playing music in general.

Maybe you feel like there’s a particular limitation with your current instrument that you can overcome with another one.

Sometimes playing something else in the same orchestral family can be easier to learn and help you see your original instrument in a new light.  

For example, playing cello after learning violin will teach you about a new clef, the bow hold, and the fundamental differences between the way both instruments are played.  

Here’s a selection of some good instruments we have for beginners. 


Student Full Size Cello with Case by Gear4musicString instruments are often very expensive and, when you’re starting out, it can be hard to justify the cost.

Fortunately, our Student Full Size Violin and Student Full Size Cello both offer a high-quality, affordable way to start playing string instruments, and, as you progress, you can upgrade them.

These also come with a hard case, bow, and rosin, allowing you to start learning straight away! 

Shop now | String instruments


Fancy picking up the flute? The Curved Head Flute by Gear4music is a great option if you’re interested in learning.

A curved head means that smaller players will find it much easier to play without having to reach the full length of a normal flute.

The offset G also makes the keywork feel more ergonomic! 

Shop now | Flutes


Tenor Saxophone by Gear4music, GoldThe saxophone is a popular instrument for many reasons. It’s heard in many tunes across many genres, so you’re sure to find music that you’d like to play.

It’s also regarded as being easier for beginners than other woodwind instruments, meaning you’re likely to progress well with it.

If you already play the sax, our tenor sax is a great way to expand your collection without needing to learn a completely different playing technique.  

Shop now | Saxophones


If you play the trumpet then a great new instrument is the cornet.

This is very similar to your trumpet but offers a different timbre. Becoming proficient in both instruments will broaden your ability to play in bands and make you a more desirable player.

If this sounds like something you’d like to try then check out the Odyssey OCR200 Debut Cornet!

Shop now | Cornets

8. Upgrade your instrument

Another way to revitalise your interest in your instrument is to get a new one or upgrade it. We have some full guides on upgrading string instruments and saxophones and clarinets without needing to buy a new one.

If the best option for you is to get a new instrument, then we have some great ideas for you.  


Stentor Conservatoire Violin Outfit, Full SizeGetting a new string instrument is always nice, especially if you invest in a fancier one.

They’re often a work of art in themselves and you can really appreciate the skill gone into making them.

The Stentor Conservatoire Violin and the Primavera 90 Cello are both fantastic examples of this.

Higher-end string instruments like these are usually carved by hand with woods such as maple, and the Stentor Conservatoire even has a full ebony fingerboard. 

Shop now | Stentor violins

Shop now | Primavera cellos


If you’re looking for a great flute to upgrade to or a more premium beginner’s instrument, the Trevor James TJ5X is great.

It’s plated with silver for a premium sound and finish and boasts ergonomic design features, such as the offset G key.

Trevor James test all their flutes in their UK-based workshop, so you can be sure it will perform to the rigours of day-to-day flute playing.  

Shop now | Flutes


Stagg AS215S Alto SaxophoneStagg are well known for their musical instruments and accessories, and all their instruments are quality tested in their Belgium-based workshop.

The AS215S is a great example of an alto sax that won’t break the bank but will serve you well for many years into your burgeoning career as a sax player.   

Shop now | Stagg


Our Deluxe Trumpet is a great upgrade for your trumpet. It’s affordable but its build quality is more premium than many standard trumpets do. Many components are of higher quality, like the monel-plated valves or braces that improve the rigidity.   

Shop now | Deluxe Trumpet by Gear4music, Gold

Final thoughts

There are lots of ways you can stay inspired to make and play music. Hopefully this guide has shown you some methods to keep your enthusiasm high.

Remember that feeling uninspired or less enthusiastic about music is perfectly normal and all musicians go through periods of feeling like this. Pushing through these times makes you realise how great music is and how much it can enrich your life.  




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