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What's wrong (with me)? Losing interest?

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Minotaur
(@minotaur)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1089
Topic starter  

It's just about a year I've picked up the guitar again to learn to play. The last time I took lessons for a few months was 20 years ago but I never stuck with it. This is the longest and most "into it" I've ever been. I stopped lessons last August because I didn't care for the direction they were going in, and the money, which got tight. Ironically, without the lessons I was learning more and getting more and more into playing.

But lately, past few weeks to a month or so, I've been kind of discouraged. Maybe it's what I'm practicing. I'm working on the same few songs over and over. You'd think I'd be a virtuoso at these few songs, but not so. I can get through them, but I have rough spots and problems with some chord changes that I should have down by now, or so I think.

I think it would be worse to continue working on these songs, beating them to death and "forcing" myself to be able to play them, than to maybe pick a few different songs to start playing with. I just feel discouraged. :(

But I know someone out there is going to say "oh man, we've been there and it happens to everyone..."

Please... someone say that, even if you have to lie. :lol:

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


   
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tinsmith
(@tinsmith)
Prominent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 830
 

Not to rain on your parade but.....

http://forums.guitarnoise.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=42972


   
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kent_eh
(@kent_eh)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1882
 

It's
been
known
to
happen
:wink:

Any number of things might break you out of your slump:

Take a break. Listen to different music. Go out and listen to some live music. Buy a different guitar (or at least try some out). Teach a friend a couple of chords. Write a song (or re-write someone else's Weird Al style :twisted: )

By the way, What ever happened to this guy? :D

I wrapped a newspaper ’round my head
So I looked like I was deep


   
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Minotaur
(@minotaur)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1089
Topic starter  

By the way, What ever happened to this guy? :D

He's hibernating!? :twisted:

I'm hoping it's just a seasonal slump. I think maybe I should also try some new stuff in my collection and from David's lessons.

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


   
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TRGuitar
(@trguitar)
Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3709
 

Yeah, we all go through it. And yes, listening to new music, seeing a live band, new gear, they all inspire me and get me going. Just don't give up all together and you will be back playing before you know it, but don't stress over it.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
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JoeHempel
(@joehempel)
Famed Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2415
 

Yeah, I've been and haven't been playing a year yet, life takes over and I couldn't play or practice, and then I didn't even think about picking my guitar up for a while because I just didn't want to.

What I did was find a different song that was using the same technique that I was having trouble with in the original song, and trying to get it right for the new song, then I can go back to the song that I was getting discouraged with and have a new vision of it.

In Space, no one can hear me sing!


   
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rparker
(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5480
 

Yeah, practicing many songs, particularly harder ones at that, make the ones I was struggling with seem easier when I get back to them.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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Nuno
 Nuno
(@nuno)
Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3995
 

Currently I'm in the same stage. Yeah, these things happen from time to time. I was working hard on holidays on learning several new songs. Probably it made I put too much effort and my brain took it as a real job and not a hobby or something for relaxing.

Now I have a lot of work and I don't get so much free time. Music simply shares it with others hobbies and I play just for fun and for maintaining that I already got. I play only if I really want to play.


   
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Wes Inman
(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5582
 

What you are going through is normal. I remember when I started guitar that some songs would give me difficulty. I used to learn almost exclusively by listening to records and copying what I heard. I remember there was just one single chord in the song Rikki Don't Lose That Number by Steely Dan that I could not figure out. I tried every possible chord I could think of but could never get that chord. I am very stubborn and do not easily give up, but this song beat me. Then one day I found the chord. This was about 5 years later!

And there have been little passages or runs I could not get down no matter how much I practiced. So what you are going through is perfectly normal.

I have found when you can't get a song down even after much diligent practice, it's best to forget about it and move on to new songs. I think you should always be learning something new and fresh, helps keep the interest up. And I am sure you will have the same experiences as me, at a later time you will go back to the song and be surprised that you can now play it. Sometimes it just takes time to develop the technique you need to play certain songs or passages. Just keep practicing and learning and eventually you will develop the needed technique or knowledge.

If you are really serious about being a good guitar player you have to make a commitment. I told myself the day I started that I would play guitar from that day forward, and so far I have done just that. And I plan to keep playing as long as I am physically able. I knew that if I kept playing that eventually I would get good. Now, I am in no way a great player, but I am certainly much better than I was years ago. And I know if I keep playing I will continually, if slowly improve. And you have to realize right up front that being a good musician is very difficult. This is why so many give up in despair. There are going to be many days, even weeks or possibly months where you get discouraged. But don't go by feelings, feelings come and go. Use your mind. Determine to keep practicing and playing no matter what. In a few days the excitement will return again. And when you listen back a few years from now you will easily be able to tell you improved. :D

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
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Wes Inman
(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5582
 

Oh, and I want to add something more. :D

Just yesterday they had an article in our local paper about a local school music teacher and band leader who has been very successful. His bands have won many competitions and awards and are known to be excellent year after year. And they asked him how he achieved such success.

The teacher said that his whole principle was practice. He said that whether a person is gifted toward an instrument or not, the best players practiced consistently. He said his whole secret was that he tried to inspire his students to be diligent and practice faithfully every day. A person who practices faithfully will advance quicker than a naturally gifted person who does not practice often. This was the secret.

So when you are bored or discouraged, get out a good book, learn a new scale or chord progression. Get out the metronome and work on your timing. Work on your technique. Just keep practicing and you will get good. :D

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
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kent_eh
(@kent_eh)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1882
 

A person who practices faithfully will advance quicker than a naturally gifted person who does not practice often. This was the secret.

I am currently reading a book about Winnipeg's music scene between 1914-1966, and your quote reminded me of one of the stories in the book.

This story was told by drummer (also the author of the book) Owen Clark.
I was performing a CBC show in the mid 1960's and I had gone to the men's room. As I walked in I could hear a guitar playing and I thought they must have music piped into the room. After a moment I realized that the guitar player was actually in the men's room. Lenny Breau was in one of the stalls taking care of business...and practicing! I had heard that Lenny never took his guitar off and I learned that day that it wasn't a myth.
:lol:

I wrapped a newspaper ’round my head
So I looked like I was deep


   
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Cat
 Cat
(@cat)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1224
 

But I know someone out there is going to say "oh man, we've been there and it happens to everyone..."Please... someone say that, even if you have to lie. :lol:

No lie, Minotaur! Maybe you don't realise what you're cut out for. I get quite put off with "playing" thanks to outside influences that keep my mind from being "in the moment"...UNLESS...I'm coming up with a new composition. Then I'm a man on a mission and it's opposite: the outside influences can sit in the bleechers and watch!

Maybe you should pay more attention to writing something that's from yer soul and less time on the virtuoso bit???

Cat

"Feel what you play...play what you feel!"


   
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Raistx
(@raistx)
Trusted Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 78
 

Seems to be a lot of this going on at the moment. Maybe its cause its winter up there in the US :?:


   
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kent_eh
(@kent_eh)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1882
 

Seems to be a lot of this going on at the moment. Maybe its cause its winter up there in the US :?:
Nah. Winter's what keeps us indoors with nothing to do but play guitar.
At least that's what happens in Canada. :wink:

I wrapped a newspaper ’round my head
So I looked like I was deep


   
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mmoncur
(@mmoncur)
Estimable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 168
 

I've definitely been there. Heck, I'm there, on average, probably half the time. Here are some ways to push through it:

- Practice every day anyway.

- Switch to a different kind of practice. When I get frustrated learning songs, I switch to highly technical practice - technical exercises with the metronome, keeping score every day and trying to improve my speed. After a week I'm sick of that and ready to go back to songs. Sometimes I'll switch from lead to rhythm or even practice fingerpicking for a while. Pick up a different guitar if you have more than one.

- I was always worried that if I stopped working on a song, I'd lose my progress and have to start over. It hasn't worked like that - I'll give up on a song and forget about it for months, and usually when I go back to it it takes about a day to get better than I ever was before. Drop the songs you're sick of and find one you're excited about, whether it's easier or harder.

- Practice playing with others if you can, or just play along with recorded songs. Sometimes when I'm frustrated I'll just put on an iTunes playlist of songs I can (mostly) play, and start playing along. I don't worry about being perfect or stopping to practice a difficult part, I just play along like I'm part of the band. [This ends up exercising different techniques - timing is way more important than getting every note perfect.]

Hope that helps a bit. I need to apply my own advice because I'm in a rut right now. Good luck...


   
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