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I'm a train-wreck around my (new) guitar teacher!?

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Trusted Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 64

I feel you pain, my palms sweat just showing my son something I learned. I can psych myself out so easily. Occasionally though, when I think nobody is listening I get: 'hey is that you' or 'that sounds good' from an eavesdropper in a nearby room! The more I practice the more I feel confident which I think is the key to playing in front of people. Here's a trainwreck I'd like to sound like one day: :lol:

Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 189, I think he says something about having that thing 30 yrs? Presumably has been playing for that long? Which is no substitute for a dash of talent but sheer volume of practice hours has to count for SOMETHING.

That said I think it is important to set realistic goals even for those of us not genetically destined to be the next rock legend... OK say, amuse and entertain friends and family at social gatherings? Encourage our own children to perservere and overcome obstacles?

I try to remember that the world is actually NOT hanging on my every note :twisted: even if I want to play as though it were 8)

What if the Hokey Pokey IS what it's really all about?

~ why yes, I am available on youtube ~

Reputable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 329

Here's a trainwreck I'd like to sound like one day: :lol:

I enjoyed that and thanks for the link. Can't believe it was 72" since I clicked on it. You sure can get lost on YouTube!

♪♫ Ron ♪♫

Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 218

As a middle-aged family guy, I have the standard committments. However, I practice 1 - 1.25 hours everyday and keep a practice log. Each exercise is timed so noodling, setup, etc. doesn't count toward practice time. By the time I get to my lesson each week, I know my assignments fairly well. Maybe not "spot-on" but certainly passable.
The problem arises when I have to do my assignment for my teacher. I absolutely fall apart. I make a large number of technical errors that I never make at home. Sometimes I even forget to breathe. It is not that he is a harsh taskmaster, quite the contrary. He is a very kind, gentle man with a very patient spirit. I just don't get it as I never had this problem with any other teacher.
Any helpful hints?

Looks wonderful around here, haven't been here in a while. Well, being nervous with a teacher I can readily identify with. For me, it helps to look at the teacher and tell him I'm feeling nervous. I'm human and you're human and making mistakes is part of being human. Plus it's your time and your money and you don't seem to have any problem 'firing' guitar teachers so you are your own boss in it and you aren't quaking at someone you've hired as a teacher. However, you sound like a high performance guy - you expect much of yourself and that's what stresses you out. So I guess you need to relax yourself and realize you're learning guitar for your own enjoyment and amusement and your mistakes will become fewer or it will seem to be fewer since you aren't stressing about those mistakes. Either that or feed your inner stress demon and practice harder and longer until you find you acceptable.

Enjoy your karma, after all you earned it.

Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 75

You sound exactly like me, even down to how long you've been playing. You also look for exactly the same teacher that I want, although I haven't been so lucky in finding one that fits the bill.

As for not playing as well in front of a teacher, I think just about everyone is like that. When I was taking lessons, I'd always wind up playing much worse in front of my teacher. Something that I thought I had mastered at a certain speed became absolute crap when I played it for my teacher. Also, I think this just becomes a vicious cycle, as you soon just come to "expect" to mess up when playing for your teacher. I used to worry that my teacher would think that I was one of those people that would try to practice way too fast.

I did have on teacher who told me outright that he understands playing worse in front of him... that actually made things a lot easier.

Famed Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4459

One thing I've found is that I really don't like to play for my teacher because I feel scared of failing but it's exactly why I need to do it. I do find that sometimes I'll play a piece and feel like I really messed it up and then retry it a few times. Usually after a couple times he can see that I pretty much have it down and then we can move on.

I'm pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I probably will become at best a musical regurgitator. In other words I can play other peoples music if I know the songs but that's about it. Throw me in a room with a bunch of players and ask me to play something new...ain't gonna happen to easy.

So what I'm mainly learning are the song/music that I enjoy or that the guys I play with want to play. It's all pretty much classic rock stuff with some newer material thrown in. So when he tabs out a song for me, and I go home and practice, I won't necessarily play it for him the next week unless there is a part that I'm having trouble with and usually those parts are ones that involve more speed than I can currently play at so there's not much he's going to be able to show me to get me to play up to speed unless I'm using the wrong fingering or something.

We got away from technical exercises for the past coupl emonths as I've been having him work out a bunch of songs for me. I think we'll go back to the technical stuuf soon though. I still want to develop my ability to improv solo's.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!

Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 147
Topic starter  

Thanks for all the great replies! It seems I'm not as alone as I first thought.

I may have stumbled upon a remedy. Either that, or something that will completely push me over the edge. A local church put out an ad for "any" musicians to assist with a new contemporary service they were hoping to start on Saturday evenings. I swallowed my fear and responded, explaining my beginner status, but telling them I would be eager to join in if they would have me. Evidently they are desperate, so I get to attend my first official musician's meeting on November 3rd.

What's the worst that can happen? I freeze up and they throw hymnals at me. On the up side, hymnals won't cut you like beer bottles so I'll be able to maintain my boyish good looks. :D And the best thing that can happen is that I get over my performance anxiety. Now if I can just find a way to get over male pattern baldness. . .

Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833

If you're really lucky, they put the words up on a screen and don't have hymnals to throw! :lol:

As for the male pattern baldness, you can always just "get over it." 8)

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."

New Member
Joined: 1 second ago
Posts: 0

I know exactly how you feel. I've been taking lessons from my teacher for 5 months now and I'm still nervous when I have to play something for him. I blame it on the fact that I don't play enough for him. Usually I play a solo, which lasts 30 seconds to one minute, and only once. So that means I don't get to play in front of him much.

I think I'll try playing for my friends to get over it. It should be easier since I don't care about impressing them as much as I want to make my teacher proud.

Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921

Problem easily solved.
2 beers before teacher arrives, and give the rest of the six-pack to the teacher so he won't notice your mistakes.

Hmm... yesterday I had 14 students... x 4 beers each... if I lived in your market I'd be joining AA.

Seriously, don't sweat it. All teachers see that behavior, and in most students. We get nervous when we're "on".

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL

Trusted Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 58

Just remember that your guitar teacher is there the help you and not there to judge, though I'm still really nervous when playing my own songs to him but these things take time

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