What To Do When Practicing Guitar Becomes Stale (PT 2 Inner Turmoil):
There are many reasons why your practicing might become stale as a guitar player and so, as a teacher I think it’s important to discuss why your practicing has gone stale and how to give it some new juice and life. If you do it right you should never be stale for long. This is article 2 of my, what to do when practicing guitar becomes stale series. This article will be focused on the inner turmoil aspect of guitar. If you can master the mental world, you can master the physical. Here’s a list of possible reasons you’re no longer enjoying practicing guitar:
1) You’re burning yourself out
2) You’re lying to yourself about a phase change
3) You have attached some negative thoughts or beliefs to practicing.
You’re burning yourself out:
This is another common mistake I make. This not to say the whole life balance principal is important because I really don’t’ believe in life balance. I do however believe in breaks. If you’re not taking breaks you’re burying yourself. For me, I need a nice 1 hour and 30 minutes mid-day of break time and an hour before bed. This is the perfect amount of break time for me to really start to recharge.
You also need to be careful of the activity. The activity needs to actual recharge you. For me practicing guitar is not a break, playing guitar isn’t a break. Practice involves my brain in the activity too much. I need to do something that will slow my brain down, make me laugh a little bit and have some fun. For me this is usually Television, a video game, listening to music or reading a book. These things allow me to relax, slow my brain down and forget about things for a bit. You need to find what actually unwinds you and maybe the guitar does, but maybe it doesn’t.
It’s important though that when you come back to working on building your guitar playing skill that you are back 100%. Not 60% not 40%. When you relax you need to relax completely.
You’re lying to yourself about a change in interests:
This is another classic move I’ve made in the past and I have seen countless of my students make. Your guitar playing will always be evolving and changing, it has phases like anything else. Some people get so stuck on what they used to love and how they want to stay there that they don’t let themselves evolve.
I’ll use myself as an example. I used to love metal music and heavy distorted guitars. All I wanted to do was shred and that was it. As I’ve grown as a guitar player and reached my playing goals, I realized that’s not really what inspires me anymore. Now I prefer songwriting, I prefer a more western rock country sound. I went through the same thing as a vocalist. At first, all I cared about was how high In could sing, now I don’t care at all I love the sound of a catchy melody. I like to use my range, but I’d rather save it for a cool harmony of some sort. In fact as a musician I no longer consider myself just a guitar player or just a singer. I am more passionate about the whole package now, about the music and songwriting. That’s what truly inspires me. When I get to listen back to a new song I wrote it’s like pure adrenaline to me, I love it.
I would now consider myself a songwriter. That’s my top concern.
When you prevent yourself from examining new territory within your music, you steal from yourself the ability to go where you’re inspired. If you’re not inspired by what you’re writing and playing, why would you want to practice?
Don’t force yourself to stay glued to the past, go where your inspiration is, that where your desire to practice will be.
You have some negative thoughts about music and practicing:
If all the sudden you know longer want to practice it may be time to do some soul searching. In many cases people start to attach negative beliefs and thoughts towards practicing. If you’re negative towards practicing you’re definitely not going to want to do it. I’ve been guilty of this in the past.
I spent many hours practicing music and sacrificed a lot to develop the skill I had. I made lots of mistakes and wasn’t the player I wanted to be. Although I had reached some goals. What I didn’t have was a great plan, it was very much winged. I spent so much time and didn’t like my result. I got angry that I had given up so much for music and felt I didn’t get what was rightfully mine in return. Typically bitter musician story. I had to work through these thoughts and beliefs in my head before I started to enjoy practicing again, before I fixed this, it felt like a chore.
The point of this story is not on ramble about my life story, but to make you realize that you need to be aware of the beliefs and thoughts you have about practicing. They are preventing you from enjoying yourself. Change your beliefs and you will feel better about practicing.
There’s the big three. Get these sorted out and you will be a lot better off. Many people would ignore this aspect of their practicing, but I’ll tell you now, this is the biggest piece of the puzzle. This is the exact definition of getting your shit together. It starts with your mind.
About the Author:
Chris Glyde is always trying to encourage his students to better themselves and their guitar playing. Working on ways to improve quality of life as well as guitar. This is just some of the ways that Chris discusses how his students view practicing. Interested in learning more check out Rochester guitar lessons.