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> Staying Motivated - Let's Share Tips
Ben Higgins
post Sep 11 2014, 10:52 AM
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With any activity that requires dedication, there is always going to be times where you feel unmotivated and uninspired. Let's have a look at the possible causes for these periods:

-Burnout: You've been going at it for too long with no chance to spend some time away and rejuvenate. You may have even caused yourself some injury. The burnout can be physical, where you've pushed your body to its limit with no rest.

Burnout can also be, and usually is, psychological as well. If you've been pushing the same exercises day in, day out, forcing yourself to keep focused on minute movements and speed increases then your brain has seen only the same metaphorical 4 grey walls every day. No variety. Apart from the first time you teach yourself a new routine of exercises, after that there is very little to keep your brain stimulated. There is no 'thrill' to keep its interest aroused. More on this later.

It's not just lack of stimulation that can cause psychological burnout, though. Even if you've been super inspired, if you've been using your creative juices up constantly you'll reach a point where it feels as though the well has run dry.

-No visible progress: This one's a killer. How do you stay motivated to pick up the guitar when all that seems to come out is crap ( to your perspective ) ? Why can't I get better at XYZ ? This one can be particularly cruel to guitar students who are feeling prone to self doubt in their playing. Too much of this ongoing lack of progress can be the thing that causes them to put the guitar down for good. Can you blame them ? No. We all want to enjoy what we're doing and get something out of it and this leads me on to my main tip for staying motivated:

TIP:

-Keep it Musical ! If you like to drill exercises, no problem, but find some space in your guitar life for playing something that sounds like music ! Why do you think classical musicians developed etudes ? It was to practise technique whilst playing something that sounded nice to play and didn't make you feel like sticking your head into a cement mixer. So... remind yourself why you fell in love with the guitar in the first place and stick on a cd and jam along to it. Forget progress for a while. Get back some SATISFACTION in the sounds you are getting from your guitar.

I think it's important to regularly do something on the guitar that sounds good to you. If that means you need to play somebody else's song to do it then so be it. You need to hear YOUR guitar doing something that sounds GREAT whilst it's being played by YOU.

It's no wonder people feel like giving up if nothing they ever do on the guitar is giving them that satisfaction, that big grin you get when you play something that just sounds cool. You stand a greater chance of getting that buzz if you play something musical because music sounds good, exercises generally don't. Playing music means you can be accompanied by some of the best musicians in that genre (if you jam along to your fave albums) or you could be reciting something written by some of the greatest players ever. When you attach yourself to that greatness, it can't help but make you feel a part of it. There's immense satsifaction in hearing your chords synching up perfectly with Hetfield or EVH, or whoever it is. For that moment, your guitar is doing what it was built to do - to be a machine of music.

That is why we do what we do. That is who we are.

When we lose sight of that, it's no wonder we can't find a reason to pick the guitar up.

So my tip is to keep it musical. That's just 1 tiny point. There's loads more advice that the rest of you can give so please share your stories and tips for inspiring yourself and getting that motivation back !


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SpaseMoonkey
post Sep 11 2014, 12:02 PM
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I think staying motivated and focused for me can put me in a rut. There has been so many times I go I don't understand why I keep playing. I'm just a bedroom player. When I was young I quit and I even had a teacher back then. Many moons later I got into heavier music and was cleaning my room, BAM! Guitar oh cool lets see what I can do now since I'm a lot older life has changed. Since then I've been playing again.

BUT! I can sit here and feel let down and discouraged like I did when I was younger. Go try a new lesson of similar taste, does nothing for me as I don't see improvement. So I will set the guitar down and take a few steps back. At this point I'm at an all time low of why even continue playing.

I will do a few things, as Cosmin has always said to me, over the last 3 years (Hard to believe I know right?) T-man! Maybe you just need to take a day off and clear your mind and surround yourself with other things that aren't music related but help creativity. So I may go toss on some epic music movies, Star Wars, Braveheart, Lord Of The Rings, Frozen, The Lion King. Or I may toss in some video games with great music like Skyrim, Final Fantasy, and Zelda. After playing for a bit I calm down and start to relax and I then get this urge to go and play the songs I just heard, look up tabs or as of late try my hand at using my own ears. If not I may just jump on in my car crank up the bass rattle the windows on every car for miles! Just get out and see the beautiful world and nature around us that we take for granted and clear my head back out. Then maybe when I pull back in, I jump over to the youtube and watch videos where you hear the greats speak at clinics, like Gilbert, Loomis, Satch, Vai, and so on. Then that one person asks well how did you do it? Then response like you know I wasn't great when I started so I put a lot of hard work and dedication into what I do. I had my ups, downs, and stand stills, but here I am all these years later on this stage doing something that I love.

That always does it for me and I realize that everyone has gone through the same path in some way or another to achieve the goal of being better than you were just 2 days ago. Then I pick the guitar back up and I can play for days on end again.


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ChocolateThunda
post Sep 11 2014, 01:52 PM
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I can relate to this hugely..

For a while I never considered myself a guitar player.. My friend was always better than me and I always felt like you needed some kinda natural talent. I wasn't motivated at all the pick up my guitar. Until something happened and I decided I wanted to take this stuff seriously.

I think these days keeping myself motivated is achieved by SEEING it happen. Whenever I go to a local gig and see a great guitar player it always inspires me to keep practicing. I wanna be that guy!

My major problem is procrastination. I get in from work and I just can't be bothered doing anything. I need to work on that because I've realised it's not about natural talent as much as it is dedication.
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Ben Higgins
post Sep 11 2014, 04:12 PM
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QUOTE (SpaseMoonkey @ Sep 11 2014, 12:02 PM) *
Or I may toss in some video games with great music like Skyrim,


Rimming the Sky is deffo a great way to unwind.. I haven't played it in ages actually but for a long while it was an obsession. Being transported into those worlds is an escape that we just need from time to time. Or even all the time rolleyes.gif

I've found that one of the most re-playable games ever is Sniper Elite 3. Splinter Cell Blacklist got a lot of abuse from me as well on the replay factor. smile.gif

QUOTE (ChocolateThunda @ Sep 11 2014, 01:52 PM) *
My major problem is procrastination. I get in from work and I just can't be bothered doing anything. I need to work on that because I've realised it's not about natural talent as much as it is dedication.


I think everybody, if they're brutally honest, suffers from procrastination. It's a bitch but once you push through it you realise just how much it was making you frustrated and stressed out.

A few guys on here were sharing updates on getting up earlier in the morning and getting their guitar practise in before work. I'm not sure if that's an option with you but I know that the guys, once they started doing it, really loved it.

I can't remember where the thread is.. Bleez, were you one of the dudes who were part of that ??


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klasaine
post Sep 11 2014, 04:21 PM
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My tip would be to always have something 'new' to work on. Essentially, a destination.

If I don't have a project that requires me to learn new music I generally don't practice. I have play almost everyday but that's not really practicing.
When I haven't had to challenge myself for a week or two I have to force myself to get back into it. I do this by finding something I've always wanted to learn: a song, a solo, a lick, a sound ... and sit down and do it. Usually that ends up taking a few solid days full-time.

*For awhile after my kid was born and my wife went back to work I turned down a lot of inconsequential work, unnecessary rehearsals and going out to jam 3 times a week, etc. In order to keep my chops up and stay interested I decided I would do a bunch of arrangements for solo guitar of songs I loved. I ended up doing 19 of them. They're archived here ... https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXZh...5iIdO2tpgtj25Ke

Other things I find 'motivating' is to listen to a lot of music and listen to other people's suggestions. Pandora's cool if you already have a broad palette but if your listening is limited to one or two genres they ain't gonna suggest too much different stuff.
- Go out and see bands play live.
- Find a buddy to jam with.
- Join a new band.
- Take actual/physical private lessons.
- Take a community college music history or music theory class, etc.
- Learn to play another instrument.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Sep 11 2014, 04:31 PM


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bleez
post Sep 11 2014, 06:23 PM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Sep 11 2014, 04:12 PM) *
A few guys on here were sharing updates on getting up earlier in the morning and getting their guitar practise in before work. I'm not sure if that's an option with you but I know that the guys, once they started doing it, really loved it.

I can't remember where the thread is.. Bleez, were you one of the dudes who were part of that ??


Yes indeed I am one of the breakfast club cool.gif its been one of the best things Ive done as well! I play for a good hour in the morning before going to work and its probably my most focused session. I wouldnt say Im particularly a morning type of guy either but once I haul my ass out of bed I just grab a coffee and a caffeine tab( this may be key! ) I then have 20 mins on youtube listening to some music and then its all business dry.gif
Its great when I pick up the guitar again at night knowing Ive already got a an hour of focused practice under my belt. in fact its been so good I still do the early morning sessions at the weekend even though I dont have to be up work work.

* it was Jim S and Spock that mentioned it a while ago which convinced me to try it, so Kudos to those guys smile.gif


QUOTE (klasaine @ Sep 11 2014, 04:21 PM) *

jeez, Ken.... you really have some seriously impressive chops, I know you dont need me to tell ya but still.... seriously impressive ohmy.gif and some array of guitars, they all look proper vintage, I dont know if they are but they certainly look business.

This post has been edited by bleez: Sep 11 2014, 06:30 PM


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SirJamsalot
post Sep 11 2014, 07:32 PM
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Klasaine hit 2 points that help me personally alot.

1. listen to music
2. Join a band.

I get the most inspiration when I put on headphones to some really awesome music - the next thing I know, I'm looking for my guitar if it's handy so I can play.

Being in a band adds "responsibility" to your routine. everyone in a band needs to pull his/her own weight, and that sense of not wanting to be the dead weight is quite motivational in the discipline department.

Discipline is doing it twice as rigorously when you don't feel like doing it. The most difficult words to live by ~ but perhaps challenge yourself to get up and do it as soon as you start thinking to yourself "it can wait".

Great topic Ben,
Chris


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klasaine
post Sep 12 2014, 01:52 AM
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@ Bleez ... Thanks man!
Some of those axes are indeed 60s and 70s vintage. A few are newer and custom/parts guitars. The old ones I got when they were new (and I was newer) or they were in bad condition.

Sirjamsalot, as his name implies, makes a great point about being in a band. Its truly the ultimate motivator.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Sep 12 2014, 02:04 AM


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Ben Higgins
post Sep 12 2014, 07:35 AM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Sep 11 2014, 04:21 PM) *
My tip would be to always have something 'new' to work on. Essentially, a destination.


Absolutely. We need a purpose.. without purpose, we ask the question 'What's the point ?'



QUOTE (SirJamsalot @ Sep 11 2014, 07:32 PM) *
2. Join a band.


Being in a band adds "responsibility" to your routine. everyone in a band needs to pull his/her own weight, and that sense of not wanting to be the dead weight is quite motivational in the discipline department.

Discipline is doing it twice as rigorously when you don't feel like doing it. The most difficult words to live by ~ but perhaps challenge yourself to get up and do it as soon as you start thinking to yourself "it can wait".

Great topic Ben,
Chris


Yes, this definitely gives you a good kick up the posterior... suddenly you've moved the goal posts and given an external motivator to your guitar playing. You'll have to learn unfamiliar material and tighten up your rhythm playing and who knows what else ?!




QUOTE (bleez @ Sep 11 2014, 06:23 PM) *
Yes indeed I am one of the breakfast club cool.gif its been one of the best things Ive done as well! I play for a good hour in the morning before going to work and its probably my most focused session. I wouldnt say Im particularly a morning type of guy either but once I haul my ass out of bed I just grab a coffee and a caffeine tab( this may be key! ) I then have 20 mins on youtube listening to some music and then its all business dry.gif
Its great when I pick up the guitar again at night knowing Ive already got a an hour of focused practice under my belt. in fact its been so good I still do the early morning sessions at the weekend even though I dont have to be up work work.

* it was Jim S and Spock that mentioned it a while ago which convinced me to try it, so Kudos to those guys smile.gif


It's great to hear that you're still doing it !! Getting out of bed is the hard part but once you're up it's all good.


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Mith
post Sep 12 2014, 09:55 AM
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For me there are 2 modes. There is the improving on playing and the writting mode. When I start feeling burnt out I focus on the other and then that tends to make me want to move to the other. writing for ages and feeling its getting a little same same then go learn stuff. start learning new stuff I start wanting to write more to use the stuff I learnt and the cycle repeats


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ChocolateThunda
post Sep 12 2014, 11:43 AM
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Funnily enough, I actually woke up early today and decided to play my guitar. I'm actually quite a morning person anyway so I was surprised at how focused I was. I think I will try that for a few weeks or maybe a month to see how I do. I always find that when I get in from work I don't want to do anything so maybe the solution is to pracitice BEFORE work!?
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Ben Higgins
post Sep 12 2014, 04:54 PM
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QUOTE (ChocolateThunda @ Sep 12 2014, 11:43 AM) *
Funnily enough, I actually woke up early today and decided to play my guitar. I'm actually quite a morning person anyway so I was surprised at how focused I was. I think I will try that for a few weeks or maybe a month to see how I do. I always find that when I get in from work I don't want to do anything so maybe the solution is to pracitice BEFORE work!?


Yes, give it a go and let us know how you get on !!


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