Some time ago, you went to some guitar player’s concert and were so moved by the experience that you decided you were going to learn how to play the guitar. We all know the feeling: finding a new hobby, with the excitement and motivation it brings, the unstoppable urge to start and a big rise in self-esteem. You were so proud to share your instagram photo of your newly purchased Fender with everyone on your social media. But then as time went by, you caught yourself doubting everything. You started thinking about quitting, like so many people do. Why is it so difficult to maintain the excitement and motivation you felt in the first place? Is there something we can do about it? Let’s look at the most common reasons why people quit playing guitar.
- You feel overwhelmed
Whether you are learning the guitar on your own or with a teacher, all the endless possibilities of different techniques and hundreds of beautiful songs you could learn may leave you feeling overwhelmed. There’s so much to learn and yet only so little could you can do in a day of practice. The solution here is not to try to be a master of everything from the very beginning. Instead, you can try to use the material you are currently working on and combine it with the different concepts you already know before taking up a new technique or a song. You can combine certain strumming patterns, arpeggios or phrasing techniques with different songs you are learning, for example. Every combination of a different technique provides a great learning opportunity and it won’t get monotonous.
- You want too much, too soon
We live in a world of instant gratification where we rarely have to wait for things to happen. Learning to play an instrument can’t be done with an app or by magic - it requires practice. And yes, sometimes it takes a bit of time until you can see significant progress. That’s OK. The key here is to learn how to enjoy the process. Measure your progress and look at the tiny improvements you are making everyday. It will all compound to generate the great results you are after.
- You struggle to find time to practice
We all have only 24 hours in a day and we have to use them wisely. Learning an instrument is definitely a commitment and takes time. If you are feeling like the your guitar practice is falling behind, take a minute and try to reflex on the reasons why you picked up the instrument in a first place. In the end, time is just a question of priorities and if playing the guitar is something that makes you happy, you will find the time.
- You are not connecting with the music you are playing
Maybe you have been learning the guitar for a long time already but still don’t feel the connection with it and you may be considering giving up. Sounds familiar? The world of music is very diverse and waiting to be explored! Look around for different styles and artists, go to live concerts or open mic events and you will find something that makes your heart race with emotion. Once you do that, you will definitely get your motivation back!
- You are practicing, but not making music.
Everybody starts from zero and it’s true that you will have to start with very basic melodies / chord progressions. Practicing the same chords over and over again, even if you play them well, can get boring.
A good way to break out of that is to focus on learning very easy songs that sound good instead of always doing exercises. You can also find other people to practice with, play and learn with. This will make everything a whole lot more fun!
Whether you recognize yourself in one of these points, or in all of them, it is always a good idea to sit down and take some time to think about the reasons why you started to learn the guitar, then find creative ways how to spice up your guitar practice.
About the author
Matthieu Delage is the director of the Escuela de Guitarra de Madrid, which is considered as providing some of the best guitar lessons in Madrid. It uses a proven method which has produced significant results for many guitar students.
Matthieu es el director de la Escuela de Guitarra de Madrid, donde se imparten unas de las mejores clases de guitarra en Madrid. Usa un método probado, que ha producido importantes resultados para muchos alumnos.