I have been in guitar teaching business in Wimbledon, (London, UK) since 2008 and I have already taught hundreds of students every year. I have noticed that many students from time to time lose their motivation to practice. Some of my clients came to me because they needed specifically to address this issue. So why guitar students(You?) lose motivation to practice guitar?
1. I blame lack of long term musical goals as the main reason of musical frustration. Having a realistic long term goal is a great driving force to make an effort. The problem is that many guitar students are scared to manifest their true musical desires as they are afraid to fail. Manifesting musical goals require a lot of courage and requires people to follow through which is not easy. I personally don’t believe in statements such as ” I want to play music for my own enjoyment locked down in my bedroom with no other people around” If you think this way you are lying to yourself! Your true desire is to make music with other people and have fun. This is what music is all about! Be honest with yourself! You don’t have to be a rock star but you can easily jam with friends or like-minded people
2. Not knowing how and what to practice. If you are self taught it is obvious that it is going to take you ages to become guitarist you always wanted to be. You are learning really by trial and error. This is very slow and ineffective way of learning guitar. Music is a language. Think how far will you get in learning a foreign language if you were trying to teach yourself. You will probably develop a lot of bad habits in grammar and pronunciation? Same applies to learning music. The other issue is practicing things in the right order. Since you had no previous music instruction you can not be sure if you are learning information in the right order.
3. Too much stuff to practice. That can make anyone frustrated easily.In music there is constantly more and more things to learn and practice. It is very easy to get lost in trying to pursue all things that we believe matter in order to gain musical freedom. The truth is that some things matter matter more than other so it’s great to know how to filter out irrelevant information( by that I mean the information that is not needed to reach your musical goals) For example you want to become a rock guitarist and play in a band in about two years. What would be the value of learning how to play flamenco, jazz or classical pieces if your time to practice was very limited as it happens in our lives? The value will be very low since the set of skills required to play these styles does not support your main goal which is playing rock guitar loaded with enough guitar techniques to keep you busy. I recommend joining a band or start writing and recording your own music. These two situations can really guide you in respect of skills that are required to master on guitar.
4. Not knowing how to measure your progress. A lot of guitar students have no idea how to measure their progress which leads them to lack of motivation to practice. Have you ever felt like you are not getting anywhere with your playing? The reason why it is hard to measure your progress is very simple. Music is an art not the science. The results are very subjective. I wouldn’t personally advise to try measuring your progress using strategies taken from other scientific disciplines. But if you still want to do it here’s how. Keep the record of your progress by making short video of your performance or even make some music recordings. The best way to feel great about making progress is to write your own songs and record them. Over time you will notice how much you have progressed. You will also appreciate the ideas that in the past didn’t seem to be great. remember that music is very subjective.
5. Comparing yourself to other musicians. Have you ever seen a 5-8 old kid playing really well on guitar and you felt less worthy as a player because you might be in your 20’s or 40’s and you still struggle ? In music age doesn’t matter. Your music is as valuable as the music of a kid you saw on YouTube or TV. Playing music is a very personal experience and it shouldn’t be compared with what other people are doing. The most important fact is how do you feel about playing music and what value you can add to people by sharing with them your music. Start writing your own songs as this will be more rewarding than playing covers like these young kids do.
6.Not having enough fun from playing guitar. A lot of students focus too much on practicing guitar and forgetting about other aspects of being a musician such as songwriting, learning songs and jamming with other people. You can become a great player by developing your own sound and ‘feel’ I recommend using 40 % of your total time you have available for guitar to allocate in fun element. Get other people involved as music is about sharing.