Are you on the verge of quitting the guitar because you're getting frustrated with it?
I had a student the other day that I believe was on the verge of quitting the guitar. I've been teaching him for some while now, but without much success. It seems that every time he arrives for his lesson, the same conversation ensues before we even get started, I will ask him how his practice has gone over the past week, to which he replies.." I'm making progress, but you may not agree that I have made progress at all!" I've tried not asking him and just getting on with that days lesson, but somehow he will bring the same thing up each and every lesson.
He's not exactly the most confident person when it comes to learning the fundamentals, so if I ask him to show me what he's been practicing or to participate in an exercise during the lesson, he immediately becomes frozen with fear, so nervous that he can't seem to get his thoughts together , then rushes through the exercise or demonstration and makes many mistakes, which only then further diminishes his confidence.
Anyway, I got the impression today that it may just be his last lesson with me. Which of course I'm ok with if that's what he wants, but it got me thinking about when is it ok to quit the guitar, after all, it's something that you like and want to do well at. His motivation is that he wants to learn to play his favourite tunes well, which I've found is the standard answer for motivation. So can this be enough motivation on its own?
So when is it ok to quit? Short answer, it's not! Quitting will only comfort you for a few moments, hours maybe even days and then once you realise that you have quit the thing you supposedly like and enjoy, your own thoughts will catch up with you once again, leaving you feeling worse than the frustration that made you quit in the first place. A bit of an ironic vicious circle if you ask me. On top of that you are setting yourself up with a habit of quitting the guitar if you haven't already done so. Put your hands those that have quit on numerous occasions. Yes, me too in the early days!
There are two main reasons people quit learning the guitar,
1) they lack the motivation to practice with any routine & regularity, which is essential to your progress & therefore they tend to simply lose their drive and quit &
2) they lack the confidence in themselves on a deeper level to actually learn to play the guitar with any level of freedom at all. They practice really hard but seem to get nowhere and thus quit because they believe they're not good enough to learn to play.
Well I don't think anyone can help the first guy except to say get off your ass and put some practice in already!
But in all seriousness, we have all gone through the same thing more than we care to remember, however, there are ways to overcome our limiting beliefs and motivation issues as they arise.
It is the programming of our subconscious mind that holds the key, and holds us back! If you saw 'The Secret' a few years ago, you would have heard one of the foremost motivational speakers and thinkers of our time, Bob Proctor. He has been helping people to understand and to reprogram their subconscious mind for over 50years.
I stumbled onto the exercises below about 15yrs ago and they blew my mind! I didn't realise it then, but I was using similar techniques that Bob Proctor talked about in 'The Secret, a fervent belief( otherwise known as talking yourself up whenever possible), & visualisation,( which is the ability to daydream about being & doing the things you desire) and I can tell you it gave me all the motivation in the world, it helped to lift my confidence and begin eliminating the limiting beliefs I had held onto for so long. It got my playing to a point I never ever dreamed I could . So I want to share a bit that with you now.
Find a quiet place, somewhere where you will be free from interruptions. Yes, that means turn your mobile phone off, no internet, no T.V etc. Sit comfortably, and think about what it is that you want to achieve on the guitar? Now, before that little voice inside your head begins jumping up & down, telling you that it can't get any better than you already have it, or that this is dumb or stupid, please remember it's that sort of internal dialogue we are wanting to eliminate, and begin you're using your imagination to conjur a more pleasing picture. And it's because we are imagining, there is absolutely no way of failing the task, we can only get better at rejecting negative based thoughts which invariably bring up emotions to support those thought, and move to focusing on more positively reinforcing thoughts & visions which are in alignment with what we would like the outcome to be.
Think about what you enjoy about the guitar. Is it the sound, the look, or the music that can be made with it? If you have trouble thinking and visualising about the things that you like about the guitar, put on your favourite music, something that epitomizes exactly what it is that you would like to be able to do on your guitar today!
Become inspired! That is the first step.
Next, imagine what it would be like playing the guitar like your heroes, living the life you imagine they would have. Bring forth a vision that is compelling, flying up & down the fretboard, playing to tens of thousands of people, who's guitars, amps, strings etc do you endorse? Are you on stage playing with your heroes? What city, in what country are you playing today, and can you hear the adoring masses of people yelling your name as they await your entrance? Can you feel the push of air from your amplifiers as you stand in front of them whilst creating some infinite feedback? How many autographs have you signed today? What sought of questions are you being asked about regarding your wizardry on the guitar?
If you do that everyday for 15 mins before you begin your practice session, you won't have any problem motivating yourself to go further, longer, more patiently and be better than you were yesterday.
Another exercise involves putting on a favourite song or album from a guitarist whose style you want to be able to incorporate into your playing. Maybe something that you always wanted to master but have never been able to, or are still struggling with today.
Again find a comfortable seat and begin to relax. Grab your headphones and put on the song or album. Close your eyes and begin to immerse yourself within the music. As you become more & more relaxed, getting deeper within the music, begin to imagine that you are the guitarist in this band and that you are playing. Now at first this may seem a little far fetched because you know that it's not you, and begin to think things like, this feels silly or stupid, there's no way this can make me a better guitarist! But stick with it, have fun with it, be creative!
Imagine playing all of the parts that the guitarist is playing in real time from the perspective that you would hold when you look down at your guitar everyday. Can you feel the weight of the guitar slung over you body? Can you feel the neck in the palm of your hands, and can you feel the strings under your finger tips as you bend them? Follow the music with your ears and begin to observe what you do on the guitar in your minds eye in real time.
Now the trick here is not to question what it is that you see. The first few times it may appear rather hazy or may not even appear as anything but random thoughts, but the thing that I discovered is that if you do this exercise diligently, regularly, and by regularly I mean daily, and with the intention of finding the meaning of what playing the guitar and making music is about for you, you will find that the mind movie you conjure is like a Quantum leap into another time & place that you also occupy, being able to do effortlessly, what you have previously found so difficult. Not only will it lead you to achieving a better sense of timing of the flow of the songs and the style of the guitarist you wish to emulate, but you may just find as I did, that you can see yourself executing every bend, slide, hammer on and dive bomb at exactly the perfect time with the music.
Soon enough you will come to believe that what you are seeing in your mind's eye, holds the key to your Unlimited Abundance as a guitarist, and a master of your mind, actually being able to turn your thought forms into your guitar playing reality everyday, thus eliminating the frustration or those limiting or negative beliefs about learning to play the guitar. There are no guarantees, but for me quitting isn't an option. Be inspired to achieve your goals. It's worth every moment that you invest in yourself, I promise.
Til next time
Alien Guitar Secrets