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Ideas on Learning

My coping strategy for boredom

As winter break comes to end, I imagine there are some parents who will be glad to see their children heading back to school. At some point over extended breaks, kids get bored.

When I was chatting with a student about this very topic, she said "Boredom feels like being hungry."

What a brilliant way to describe that feeling.

And if boredom is hunger, technology and media are like snack food. It keeps the boredom at bay, but the boredom returns after the show or game ends. But It just does not satisfy the deeper hunger.

People are creative beings. We need to make, write, build and create.

Doing something creative is the best response to boredom.

Because of the way I experienced music as a child, it was not a place I would turn to when I was bored. But, as music evolved from the performance-focused activity of my childhood to a recreational activity, it developed into a reliable and satisfying place to go when I feel bored or uninspired.

When boredom strikes, I typically wander around the house not wanting to do much of anything. The gravitational pull of the couch and tv feels strong.

If I've got just enough energy, I will pick up my violin, sit in the dining room (the best acoustic space in the house) and start noodling. Perhaps playing a few tunes that jump to mind. Sometimes making up something. Sometimes opening up FiddleQuest and learning something new. (There are, in fact, a number of songs on there I have not yet learned!)

More often than not, I wind up having a musical meal that satisfies the hunger I had been experiencing.

Had I never figured out how to make music work for me as an adult, I imagine that I would have discovered some other activity to turn to when boredom strikes. But it is hard for me to imagine another activity that is so convenient, fun, affordable and satisfying as making music.

And that is a little side benefit of fiddling that motivates me to help kids keep music in their life long after their last violin lesson.


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