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Putting the fun back into playing and breaking harmful mindsets

Dan Shipway

Slim Shady
  • Nov 11, 2019
    720
    142
    9
    Hi guys, as many of you know over the past few months, I have been practicing my technique heavily and I am finally getting to the point where for the first time I am happy with my playing. It has come after a long time of frustration, triumphs and many ups and downs and I am so pleased that it has all paid off.

    That being said, I feel it has come at a price.

    I have been so hard on myself for pretty much the entire time I have been playing guitar. Always mentally putting myself down for not knowing any music theory, not being creative, only being able to play in 1 position of the major and minor scale etc. It has taken a toll and has made me think that despite the progress I have made in my technique, that I will never get to a place where I can say that I am the player I want to be.

    I no longer feel like playing guitar is fun but more of a chore because I do it to get better at playing, not for enjoyment and I cant seem to break that mindset because I feel as though I still have far too much to learn on to be messing around and having fun. Its a really bad mindset and I honestly don't know how to break out of it so any advice would be greatly appreciated :)
     

    Forgetabull

    Local Dive Bar Favorite
  • Nov 11, 2019
    174
    1
    523
    Brisbane, Australia
    www.instagram.com
    6
    My suggestion would be to try to express yourself through your guitar.

    Get some backing tracks and noodle then with the intention of expressing yourself. This in itself with improve your technique as you will not think about the moves, you will think about how to say something that both isn't random and benefits the backing track.

    You learn the correct way to use a hammer and saw, but the intention is you use you are going use them to create something special that's yours.
     
    Upvote 0

    Chris Johnston

    Music Theory Bragger
  • Nov 11, 2019
    658
    6
    1,673
    27
    North Ayrshire, Scotland
    14
    Hey Dan, I'm glad you feel that your playing has improved after the hard graft - but I'm sorry it's left you feeling the way it has.

    It sounds to me like you're experiencing symptoms of burnout. I've had it many times during my Guitar playing life and it sucks. The great news is, though, that it's 100% temporary and will pass.

    From experience, the way I get out of that feeling of burnout - which comes from doing the same thing again and again - is to do what I consider the exact opposite of that to be. By the sounds of things, you've been sitting pouring a lot of your time into technique, which will always benefit your playing whenever you work on it - however, it is one of the biggest contributing factors to burnout, because (at least to me) it's only fulfilling once you feel you've reached your 'goal technique'. The between stages can be tedious and frustrating - and they can last months/years. So you've got to have a bit of a palate cleanser to switch to with your playing, to keep things fresh. Think of it as a healthy balance. You're a guitar player - but you're also a musician, so sometimes it's okay to let the technique settle and work on things that are going to work your melodic/harmonic muscles. - i.e your ears! Working on this stuff is way more instantly fulfilling - not because it's simpler or easier, but because you're going to be playing to listen, rather than doing a workout or study session on the instrument.

    My suggestion would be to put on any piece of music, and jam, simply , on purpose. Limit yourself to 1 string and see what comes out. Try not to analyse or get in your head about not understanding the Theory of what comes out. Just let whichever simple melodies are going to happen, happen.
    It's all about developing a sense of melody & flow, and connecting in some way with what you're listening to. Also, fair warning , when you engage in doing this, the Guitarist inside you is going to want to try to play something really impressive/technical to prove to you that your practice is working - try your best not to give in to it - It's a trap! Think simple. Simple on purpose - that's where the good stuff is, melody wise. Your ears are your biggest asset.

    So to round up, try and do what you consider the opposite of what's been burning you out, without judging what you're doing. Guitar is 90% a mental game, so you've got to work on being kind to yourself and taking breaks from things occasionally :)

    Hope this helps & if you need any more input, feel free to DM me 🤟
     
    Upvote 0

    Cleo.Black

    One Stringer
    Jul 5, 2022
    119
    158
    Hi guys, as many of you know over the past few months, I have been practicing my technique heavily and I am finally getting to the point where for the first time I am happy with my playing. It has come after a long time of frustration, triumphs and many ups and downs and I am so pleased that it has all paid off.

    That being said, I feel it has come at a price.

    I have been so hard on myself for pretty much the entire time I have been playing guitar. Always mentally putting myself down for not knowing any music theory, not being creative, only being able to play in 1 position of the major and minor scale etc. It has taken a toll and has made me think that despite the progress I have made in my technique, that I will never get to a place where I can say that I am the player I want to be.

    I no longer feel like playing guitar is fun but more of a chore because I do it to get better at playing, not for enjoyment and I cant seem to break that mindset because I feel as though I still have far too much to learn on to be messing around and having fun. Its a really bad mindset and I honestly don't know how to break out of it so any advice would be greatly appreciated :)
    Okay, I have zero advice with regards to how you're feeling around playing as I'm such a newbie. However... I am a mental health nurse and it sounds to me like you need a little self compassion. From what you have described you have really worked so hard and beat yourself to the ground as you've done it. The experienced guitarists have offered lots of awesome advice but on top of that look after yourself. You cannot pour from an empty cup xxx
     
    Upvote 0

    Dan Shipway

    Slim Shady
  • Nov 11, 2019
    720
    142
    9
    Thank you everyone for all your support, I do think that a lot of what I am feeling is burn out. I was hyper focused on trying to improve picking efficiency and getting rid of any tension in my body that I did absolutely nothing but that. Part of it also came from the fact that I have completely unrealistic standards for myself. I am very much the type of person who thinks "anyone can be one of the worlds greatest guitarists". I have the whiplash mentality wherein you keep pushing and practicing then one day it will all pay off and never gave myself a break.
     
    Upvote 0