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> How Do You Keep Yourself Motivated?
chakie
post Feb 4 2009, 02:43 PM
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I've been trying to learn to play the guitar on my own for about 1.5 years now. I joined GMC last fall but haven't really used the resources here that much, I find the interesting lessons too hard for me. Lots of good content, a friendly "spirit" and a good forum though.

So my question is: how do you keep yourself motivated when things don't progress? I'm at a stage where I can't really play any songs nor jam along to music I like. It gets quite frustrating to keep practising the same scales, simple chord progressions or riffs over and over and you really see no real progress. Of course there has been progress when I started, but at this pace I'll be able to play a simple song by 2019.

If I would know a fair bit more it would always be possible to just put on some record I like with songs I know and play along, but I'm far from that stage yet. My motivation is right now at an all time low and I'm thinking about selling my stuff and picking up some hobby that doesn't make me feel like an incompetent idiot... sad.gif

No, I have no friends that play guitar that I could get together with, nor any friends that have bands. Having some playing friends would of course be a great aid. My wife does play the piano, so she's been helping me a lot with music theory. So compared to what I actually can play I know far more about what I theoretically could play. smile.gif

Any tips for a newbie? Recording myself play is really of no use. Of course I know that just keeping on playing will improve things, I don't need recordings for that. The problem is just finding the energy to bother to pick up the guitar every day and practice those damn scales and progressions until I'm good enough to actually tackle some real song and eventually be good enough to play some simple power chord riffs.

Sigh.

-- chakie

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Mandos
post Feb 4 2009, 02:48 PM
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I think that you need to focus more on having fun, rather than playing scales all day. Just start playing simple riffs/songs or just bits and pieces of songs you like. Don't bother with whole songs at this stage, just play random riffs from tabs.

You could start out with this one Smoke on the water and then maybe play Breaking the Law with Judas Priest.

I'm sure that you'll get your motivation back if you start having fun with the guitar instead of seeing it as a chore. Just take a few weeks where you just focus on playing fun stuff. Tell us what you like and I'm sure that we can help you out with simple riffs and songs.


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Fran
post Feb 4 2009, 03:01 PM
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To keep motivation I learn lessons I like, and also songs. On top of that I keep practicing the lesons I know regularly, along with scales & improvisation, and sometimes record some collabs or my own small songs.


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timono
post Feb 4 2009, 03:13 PM
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Like Mandos and Fran already said, play things you like too, that's what i do at least. Of course scales and that kind of stuff are important, but if they result in you not wanting to play anymore, thats not a good thing. there are enough songs to play that aint that hard.

Vary your practice routines with some fun stuff and playing will be a lot more fun

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fatb0t
post Feb 4 2009, 03:17 PM
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I've had motivation issues before, especially in the beginning of my guitar 'journey' of sorts... What I find really gets me motivated again is - doing something you're completely uncomfortable with. For instance, I was stuck just working on alternate picking thirds in the minor scale - I got so bored and didn't feel like practicing any more. So I was listening to a song on the radio and it had slide guitar. I went home, busted out my slide and played for three hours straight. I even wrote a whole song around it... So sometimes inspiration comes from no where and sometimes inspiration and motivation come from just trying something different.
Like the guys above said, just try to learn a song that you really like and is easy enough to learn easily. Learn a new technique like I did, or maybe even take a rest for a few days and come back...
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Marek Rojewski
post Feb 4 2009, 03:33 PM
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Yeah, You need more fun with the guitar. Learn easy songs, some lessons from GMC, playing these will improve Your technique and is numberless times more enjoyable than running up and down the scale. If You have 1 hour a day to practice guitar, I wouldn't spend more than 20 minutes on scales... Maybe I am wrong and it will make my progress slower, but I wouldn't be able to do the "boring part" for a longer time in a row..


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Toni Suominen
post Feb 4 2009, 04:13 PM
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Like said above, learn music you think is cool and just keep it fun at all times. Maybe watch some inspirational guitar videos from youtube etc. to also give you more motivation smile.gif


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ErikEklund
post Feb 4 2009, 04:19 PM
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I get motivated because I love to play and think that it is very fun smile.gif There is always something fun to play even if you are a total beginner smile.gif
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chakie
post Feb 4 2009, 05:04 PM
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Thank you all for the encouragement. But most of the things that apply to more advanced players don't apply to newbies. When I get bored I can't just "play some fun songs" or "write a new song". There's a small catch-22 here. smile.gif And no, I don't play scales all the time, they are like a slow lobotomy to any sane person. I play my small riffs and some melodies that I've downloaded from all over the net, but they don't get me anywhere. I realize now that everything in the guitar world that I find cool is also very hard and likely impossible for me to learn with the amount of effort I can put in per day (10min - 1h).

Hm, I'm sorry I brought this up, this only makes me feel even more useless...
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Fsgdjv
post Feb 4 2009, 05:19 PM
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I have to agree with everybody else. You don't need to be an advanced player to have some fun and play some songs or whatever. Learn some simple riffs, for example some Nirvana stuff. Great music and simple, I can sit for hours just playing simple stuff like that, and it's fun. Then when you are already enjoying yourself enough, you can sneak in some more serious practice, but start by having fun, even if it's simple stuff.


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Fran
post Feb 4 2009, 05:24 PM
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Just with powerchords and some simple riffing you can play nice songs.

Learning a couple pentatonic boxes is a good way to start improvising over backings. Then learn all the boxes (maybe you already knew this!). Then learn minor/major scale boxes. That will help both improvising & understanding riffing better. Most riffing is just a part of the scale, and you'll picture it better if you know the scale.

At least that's what helps me the most!


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Wabba
post Feb 4 2009, 05:29 PM
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Practice things you enjoy! I personally enjoy achieving stuff, so i practice a LOT of technique that is a little over my limits. But you're not me, so if scales are not interesting, then maybe you should try to learn some easy songs, or write your own smile.gif
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Nighthawk1
post Feb 4 2009, 05:34 PM
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Well, I always watch one of my favourite lesson of GMC, I listen to my favourite Songs and then I think damn it, I wanna play like that ! and there it goes... biggrin.gif Structure your lessons, be aware of the slightest success and progress, and practice ! Don't play stuff you already know and call it practising!

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Jose Mena
post Feb 4 2009, 05:44 PM
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Well everyone's experience is different, maybe you started off wrong by learning theory and scales. In my case theory and scales and all that stuff came well after I could play almost an entire album.

My advice is, play your favorite songs, you will not be able to play them great as you start doing this, but it will improve, it makes the learning process more fun and feels more rewarding.

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Ramiro Delforte
post Feb 4 2009, 05:59 PM
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I think the best way to keep the motivation is to put goals.
When you reach to one goal you go for the next.
Let's say....when I started to play metal I wanted so badly to play the Master of Puppets solo but when I reach there and play it I realized that it was no that difficult so I wanted to play some Marty Friedman solos and I continue that path until I played some Rusty Cooley chopps.
Of course you always can keep going but I stopped there and I putted other goals, different, more related to music and not technique.
The thing is that if you put some straight goal and you go for it I'm sure you'll get it done.

I hope this help you a little biggrin.gif

This post has been edited by Ramiro Delforte: Feb 4 2009, 06:01 PM


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Vasilije Vukmiro...
post Feb 4 2009, 08:13 PM
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Ups and downs mate. NOBODY is constantly well motivated. Sometimes you can easily play for hours, sometimes you just don't feel like playing. Remember why have you started to play guitar in the first place. Because you love music and you want to participate. So, I remember that when I am down, when my technique is terrible, and I then play some really simple stuff, chords and slow melodies. That doesn't help for technique improving, but you enjoy and you still play something. There are many areas in music/guitar playing. Different kinds of technique, ear training, jamming, improvising, theory, transcribing, listening, so if you don't feel like scale practicing, or theory, then jam a little, or improvise, or play something you already know. You cannot force improvement.


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Canis
post Feb 4 2009, 11:45 PM
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I keep myself motvated by watching the people who play better then me. I find myself surfing youtube guitarists and the GMC lessons just to listen to the music and grasp the beauty of it all. When I hear something I like, I out it in my "Urgent to-do list" and promise myself that I'm gonna practice that technique or melody. If I manage to do that (which I do at some degree 99% of the times, because it's that very thing that is my motivation smile.gif ) I get that warm, fuzzy feeling inside, and I go to bed with a smile on my face... I'm not kidding tongue.gif

So, to sum it up for those who only read the shorter lines (you know who you are tongue.gif) : I get motivated by those who rock my socks! =)

This post has been edited by Canis: Feb 4 2009, 11:46 PM


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Feb 5 2009, 12:59 AM
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We all have these ups and downs and I can only advise to you mate to cheer up and just enjoy the guitar, and enjoy the music. Listen to some inspirational guitar heroes, and seek for the music you love. This will let you express and learn more on your instrument. Also, always remember that some things look very distant when playing, but they are actually only couple weeks or months away. So cheer up and practice as long as you can - the rest will come into place naturally.


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Pedja Simovic
post Feb 5 2009, 02:32 AM
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Really good points I read here. I can share my experience with you and hopefully it can be of some help smile.gif

I really love guitar and music in general. I dedicated 13 years of my life studying it and going into deepest things there are regarding hidden secrets in music aka stuff that you can't just notice in the books smile.gif More and more I am realizing that music is really something that always makes me happy no matter what happens in life - I always can play be happy or listen or teach and be happy. So some things that I use to motivate myself...

Whenever I am down for one reason or another, and my mind is not in a mood to take in musical ideas, I go out for a walk . Thats right, a walk smile.gif It can rain , snow or whatever conditions are, I will just exit my place and woke around think some random life things and clear my mind of dilemmas I might have in my life. You are in the nature taking in things around you - somehow that relaxes me smile.gif Usually this is very effective and when I come back I am much more relaxed and ready to play.


Another thing that I do to motivate myself...
Lets say I am tired and have no energy to play, I do 1 of the 3 things :
1) Do some physical exercises, or cardio (running or cycling for an hour or 45 minutes)
2) Listen to my favorite songs and solos (immediately I get that feeling I want to play the instrument)
3) Go to bed and take a nap smile.gif

All 3 are very effective as 1st one somehow gives me energy (workout + shower makes me feel good about my self smile.gif; 2nd one is great for obvious reasons (it clicks in your head why you want to play instrument in the first place) ; and 3rd one sometimes is last resort as you may really need to sleep it off and wake up fresh with new things on your mind smile.gif

I tend to do first two more than the last one as day only has 24 hours- if I napped 3 hours every day I would never get anything done laugh.gif

This may sound like a crazy motivational skill but... I go out and listen to some live music !!!
There is 3 things that can happen when I go to listen to music
1) I am hearing very bad music overall (bad communication in the band, no grasp of technique of the instruments, bad repertoire, bad singer/s voice etc)
2) I am satisfied with how band sounds (they are not John Coltrane , Michael Brecker Pat Metheny, but they hold their sound well for what they do)
3) And I get amazed by something I hear that whole gig !

Usually in my town cases 1 and 2 always happen smile.gif And thats not in my town but in Serbia in general - there is couple of great jazz guys in Belgrade that can really get me to go WOW and feel like they are nailing their playing.
So when either one of these things happens I get motivated by all 3 and here is why

1) If I hear bad music I want to prove to the world that things can be done better !!!
2) I enjoyed their music, its time for them to enjoy mine !
3) Man that gig was awesome, I really need to work on my double time on Giant Steps !

Stuff like that really keeps me moving.

Anyways, I can go on forever but the idea is you can find motivation in anything !

Jam with other people, go to concerts, listen and analyze music, create and stick to your practice routine, work on all aspects of your musicality and things will definitely happen. After all , there is so many things in music that learning process can definitely take a while to have full grasp of things - so just get to it, stick with it and good things will follow smile.gif

Hope this was useful to you smile.gif


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chakie
post Feb 5 2009, 06:08 PM
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Hey guys, thank you so much for all the kind encouragement! Perhaps I should just bite the bullet and have a little chat with my guitar when I see it next time. biggrin.gif

My "problem" could come from the fact that I know enough to make simple riffs, 10 note tunes and scales mind numbingly boring to practice but yet so far away from being able to play something complete or resembling real songs. I guess most of you don't remember your newbie times when you just didn't know anything. Or perhaps you all were so eager/talented/lucky that the newbie days were past in a matter of months and you could shred away with the heroes? If that's the case I'm a bit jealous... smile.gif My newbie days seem to stretch over years and years and that's frustrating and not too motivational.

But I should not focus on the negative, I have after all learned a lot since I started playing. I guess this phase will pass too after a while. Sooner or later I should be able to play TNT or Orgasmatron...
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