There are times when most practicing musicians at some point experience a feeling of being off course.  Finding the motivation to practice can be tough, especially when there is not a clear path and motivation to stay on that path.  I, as well as many other musicians that actively seek to grow as guitarists, have experienced this.  Sometimes we are feeling as though we are not able to push forward or feeling uninspired, passionless or plain out bored!  You can begin to doubt yourself and the passion you have for learning guitar.  Having been through this I can say there is a light at the end of the tunnel!   First knowing that you are not alone and second that getting through a time like this will come immense musical growth.   Lets take a look at some relatively simple solutions for restoring your passion for guitar so that you can begin to practice and play guitar with passion and purpose.

1) To start with, look to the things that first inspired you to play guitar to begin with.  I know that for myself, watching some of my favorite guitar players perform is highly motivating for me.  Soaking in the music and fire that comes from a guitarist that is in his/her moment of inspiration is extremely contagious. For me,watching my favorite guitarist would give me enough inspiration to practice for months.  Their performances etched in my mind I would continually draw on it for inspiration. Find that player(s)whom you admire, and let their music and playing be the spark for reigniting the fire inside of you.

2) Make sure you set musical goals for yourself and that you have a clear path to achieve those goals.  Having goals is essential to your progress and gives purpose to your practice.  You wouldn’t take a cross-country trip without charting out your direction.  If you did, you would very likely get lost, waste time and energy getting there and you are more likely to give up from your lack of direction.  Take a look at your musical goals and ask yourself, are you practicing things that will bring you closer to what you want from guitar.  Also, ask yourself “are my goals still relevant?”  Over time you may need to adjust your goals or change them completely. As time goes on you may find you want something different than you originally set out to accomplish.   Adjusting your goals is completely acceptable but be truthful with yourself.  There is a difference between modifying a goal and simply giving up, you’ll know the difference.

3) Find an experienced guitar instructor that is a good fit for you.  Great instructors are hard to find.  This may be the biggest challenge you may possibly face but will pay off in spades when you find one. A good instructor should keep you focused and motivated and help you to refine your goals as you progress.  A great guitar instructor will inspire you through times of frustration and give you the confidence to continue your quest of learning guitar. Great instructors will be interested in your advancement and growth as a musician and help you to see a clear path of how to get to where you want to be. *Beware of the burned out guitar instructor they will only add to your frustration.

4) Be sure to take time away from your instrument.  Take time away!  You may be asking yourself how is taking time away going to help motivate me to practice?  I have found that if you are on a serious practice regiment you are likely to become so close to your playing that you do not notice your progress.  Not being able to see your improvements will cause you to question your talents and become unfocused.  This will eventually dampen your desire to practice.  Scheduling a day every so often where you do not physically practice can be a good time for reflection on your playing and your evolution as a guitarist. For example, do you remember all the changes your face made as you grew from a young child?  Every time you looked in the mirror did you see a significant difference in the way you looked?  Of course not, change happens gradually.  It is only those times that you step away or outside yourself for a moment that you notice growth or change.

5) Find other like-minded musicians to jam with.  This will serve as a huge outlet for you.  The feedback you are likely to get may surprise you, which will only deepen your aspiration for becoming a great guitar player and motivate you to practice. Playing with other musicians is the time you can begin to implement all the things you have been working so hard at.There has to be a means to an end with practice.  What I mean is, you don’t practice just because.  The time you put into practicing usually serves to accomplish a bigger goal e.g. play with other musicians, writing and playing your own music, recording your music.  Jamming, writing and recording music are like the dessert of practice!  So, be clear on why exactly you are practicing the long hours so that you can more easily find the pay off.


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