Updated: Apr 23, 2018
Giving up is a thought that all guitarists have from time to time. Guitar has its mountains and valley’s in terms of enjoyment that’s for sure. It’s particularly common in the early days of playing the guitar and its definitely something that needs to be addressed. Any teacher that tries to tell you that you won’t want to quit guitar at times is taking you for a fool unfortunately. I think we need to be clear about this, ALL guitarists including myself have wanted to throw the towel in at times. This could be for a number of reasons but it’s mainly just the fact that guitar can be tough at times. We might struggle with a song, have received a negative feedback from a friend or even a teacher or we may have just convinced us that we just have time for practice. Whatever the reason, one this is for sure, we will all feel pretty bleak about guitar at times. So how do get through it all and keep going?
1. Speak to Your Teacher
Most people when they want to quit just keep it to themselves, it becomes their little secret. This could be the worse thing to do. By speaking to the teacher it gives ground for an honest conversation. Be real and tell your teacher what’s actually bothering you about playing the guitar and what’s making you consider quitting. Whatever the reason, your teacher will have encountered the same if not similar circumstances so they’ll be the best person to advise you on the best way through the obstacle in relation to our enjoyment when practicing. If you don’t have a teacher, I would seriously consider getting one. A decent teacher is so valuable to our success on the guitar. They’re our coaches, our mentors and in many ways our biggest source of inspiration. They share in your successes but they’ll also there to give you the encouragement in the harder times with practice and playing.
It’s only guitar and it’s there to be enjoyed. I tell numerous students that getting angry and stressed with the guitar won’t make the songs sound any better or make playing any easier. What it will do is just aggravate you, annoy you and make you not want to play the guitar. So just relax, pick a new skill to work on for a bit and then come back to it a few minutes later. I can remember very clearly once in a studio trying to learn a rather complicated riff on the guitar. In all fairness I should have really learnt it before the session but for whatever reason I hadn’t. I remember getting furious with the whole thing. Over and over I tried to play the riff and it just wasn’t happening. I remember slamming my guitar down and storming out of the studio room. It never changed anything, I still had to play the piece, I still hadn’t learnt it but what I had done was waste 45 minutes or so getting stressed and not playing well. Back when I was in a band the other guitarist would often just say ‘take five’ and I would step out of the room for a bit, calm down and then come back. It was a bit of a running joke as every time I walked back in with a clearer head I would usually nail the piece.
3. Be Honest
Thirdly I would just consider being honest with yourself. If your struggling with something, have you given enough effort to it in order to master the skill or song? Have you made the time to practice? Is the problem that you haven’t given enough time and effort for the skill or song in question? These questions are always a tough one to ask yourself but in honesty, only you can answer them. If you haven’t given guitar a sufficient effort with consistent, small amounts of practice then it’s no surprise you might be struggling. I tend to pose the question to students that are looking to quit when it gets tough ‘have you done everything possible to learn (insert skill or song) well enough’. If the answer is no, then it’s not time quite just yet.
Here at Inspire Music School in St Albans we help many students of various ages with guitar practice. We like to pride ourselves in being able to motivate people with little or no musical experience to practice the guitar and grow in their musical ability. If you would like more information on guitar lessons in the St Albans area, contact us and we can help you get started.