You are taking beginner guitar lessons and everything seem to be going well………then one day you enter a season where the last thing you want to do is practice!
What do you do when your desire to practice starts dwindling? It’s a good question, and sooner or later you may be in a place where you may be asking yourself that question too.
At some point in every musician’s life you are faced with a season where your desire to practice has dwindled.
I teach guitar lessons in Cary, NC and I meet with students varying in age and styles on a regular basis. In order for me to be an effective guitar teacher I have to learn how each student learns, and one of my biggest goal has always been to meet the student where they’re at and to harbor and instill a love for music. You will constantly hear me say that unless you are passionate about something and about the music you play it will be very hard for you to grow and develop as a musician. That concept is actually one that you can apply to various facets of your life.
So, what happens when the passion starts dwindling? A pastor friend of my wife used to say that when you lose your way sometimes you have to go back to the place where you last had a course set. And often, in that place you will once again find the fire you lost.
I tell my students that when they get to the place where they feel they are overloaded with what to practice, or when they feel like not practicing, to tell me so that we can review and figure out why. I have to be a safe place, and I have to keep it real because the truth is, even as a professional musician I have been at the place where the last thing I wanted to do was practice. I love music with all of my heart but there’s times when the busy-ness of life, or the cares and worries of life gets to you and you find yourself not even wanting to do the things that you love.
So, the first thing I do is tell the student to stop with what we’ve been doing currently! Let’s scale back and just find some fun things you can play. Let’s find some simple songs that doesn’t require as much as the project songs. (I term the stuff that I teach as simple songs and project songs. Simple songs being songs that are fairly easy to play and that doesn’t take much effort. And project songs are songs that you are going to have to work on for a number of weeks and months to get them perfected). So let’s throw the heavy hard practice out the window for a little bit and let’s just focus on what’s fun because music is supposed to be fun and enjoyable not some rigorous training camp. Then, I look at all of the different things that they are doing and find a different approach. Maybe we put scales on the shelf for a little bit, or I’ll find a different way for them to practice scales. For instance, let’s not just play scales, let’s actually step away from scales and do a simple solo of some kind. Or let’s put scales on the shelf completely and just do some chord practice, or work on some fun rhythms, or let’s throw all of that out the window and lets focus on songwriting for a little bit.
There are so many different ways to go at this, and if you do, you’ll find that all of a sudden passion starts returning and before you know it the joy of why you started this journey in the first place returns.
Sometimes absence makes the heart grow fonder, and stepping away from your instrument for a few weeks might actually work. Sometimes stepping away from your instrument either for a few weeks or longer will make you feel like you’ve improved when you pick it up again.
A modern definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.
Its important to be willing to change things up some times in order to keep the flame of passion burning and get better results.
So if you find yourself in the frustrating place don’t be scared! Try something completely different and see what happens!
Most important thing to remember is: Music is meant to be fun!
I give beginner guitar lessons in Cary, NC. I would love to help you start your musical journey!