In your response to "What does it take?" you mentioned being self-motivated. What advice do you have to keep self motivated and to keep going when one gets discouraged, especially in the practice room?
Bob Ward's answer:
This opens up a very good discussion of the mental aspects of playing, which are discussed in some well known books:
Gallwey: Inner Tennis
Green: Inner Game of Music
Millman: The Warrior Athlete
Csikszentmihalyi: Flow, the Psychology of Optimal Experience
Penick: Harvey Penick's Little Red Book
Ristad: A Soprano on Her Head
Nelson: Also Sprach Arnold Jacobs, A Developmental Guide for Brass Wind Musicians
Look up some of these books on Amazon, and you will see links to others as well under "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought"
One key factor is learning how to suspend self-judgement and approach your practicing in the spirit of experimentation, or the spirit of "play." If you imagine a child learning something, they very often (although not always) don't get discouraged, but keep their mind open and free.
Try inventing your own exercises, especially with some technical of musical problem as the basis. Creativity can make time pass in an instant, and can be a powerful tool in learning.
Be very attuned to your own breathing - it helps you relax and when you breathe well, you play better.
Try and focus on one thing at a time, rather than getting overwhelmed by many issues at once.
Set yourself reasonable goals, and realize that every day won't necessarily be better than the day before. Progress is not linear. Be patient with yourself, and treat yourself as you would want a good teacher to treat you.
Here's a good quote: "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind, there are few."- Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. Strive to be in "beginner's mind."
Remember that you have to do 2 opposite things at the same time: Prepare diligently and thoroughly for every concert, with the highest possible standards, yet at the same time realize that perfection is unattainable.