Ever felt like quitting the guitar instead invest your energies into something else?
But let’s face it, you didn't decide to learn guitar because you wanted to become bored and frustrated. Let's discuss 7 of the most common reasons that could frustrate you into throwing your guitar into the attic and, more importantly, how you can eliminate them.
This is common in the start. Musicians are, in most cases, their own worst critics. And while this can help push yourself to be the best that you can be, it can be fatal if allowed to take hold too early in your guitar playing journey.
In the right quantities, self-doubt can be good. It will mean that you accept that you have limitations that you need to overcome. However, know that it should not become a permanent state. You will have to gradually gain confidence in your skills, lest the whole endeavor becomes an endless drag that ultimately forces you to quit playing guitar.
The best way to get rid of self-doubt is to figure out what makes you progress faster. Once you start progressing you will start to build confidence. It may be something simple like trying out, for example, interleaved practice.
Practice leads to a deeper love for playing music and will convince you that you indeed possess a skill that’s worth training. The assumption that great talent is a prerequisite for music success is a big fallacy. No one is born a musician.
Even those that seem to have a natural talent for the guitar have had to invest hundreds of practice hours to be as good as they are.
Confidence itself can be a curse if not properly channeled. Accept that your skills will not be that great at first, and that, to correct it, you need to work hard on your craft.
2. Lack of motivation
Why are you playing guitar? It may be worth pausing and figuring out the honest answer to this question.
There should be something that motivates you to play, something that pushes you to set aside time for practice, and that which makes you sacrifice money buying gear and equipment. Without a burning aspiration for something, it may be impossible to be any good at anything.
If you cannot sight a personal motivation for playing guitar, chances are you are living someone else’s dream. And it may be time you found your own. But the fact you are reading this right now means you do have the desire.
Research your favorite guitarists and learn what makes them tick. How did they get to where they are today. You may be surprised to learnt that felt exactly the way you feel did early on in their careers. Discovering how they got around their struggles can spark the motivation that you have been lacking.
3. Feelings of stagnation
Let’s face it; learning becomes pointless if it cannot result in quantifiable progress. But how do you measure progress with something like the guitar. This is especially problematic when the only judge whose evaluation you will trust is yourself.
It may feel that you are stagnating sometimes, but at times this feeling may just be a product of pushing yourself to master too much too soon. It is possible you may not even have stagnated. Sometimes we set unrealistic demands on ourselves and fail to give ourselves credit for the progress that we make.
Try to regularly record yourself. Labeling the recordings for their date and its particular point in your training will help you play back and gauge how much you have improved. It is a verifiable evaluation system that can even produce positive energy to drive your learning efforts.
4. Poor goal setting
Goals are important for measuring progress. Without them, your guitar learning will be like driftwood that goes anywhere the tide takes it.
There is a movement that now advocates for not setting goals and to just do it. It may work for a few but, for most of us, clearly defined goals are necessary to keep us on the straight and narrow.
Decide clearly where and when your guitar lessons must take you. As long as the goal is realistic and reasonably challenging at the same time, a sense of victory that will only motivate you to even greater success will be achieved.
5. Practice environment
A cluttered environment will suffocate your training routine and sap your creativity. It will present too many distractions that will make it difficult to concentrate on your practice. Preferably, all the furniture and trinkets in your practice room must aid your practice. If it does not, chances are it will be a distraction.
Try to create a clean and organized environment. This is basic housekeeping which works for any trade. You should make it the first thing you do before you start your practice sessions. With that, you will see that your practice sessions will become more ordered.
6. Bad teachers
Your choice of music teacher can mean the difference between becoming a good guitarist and quitting as another frustrated learner. Finding a good teacher is the first step to establishing a viable learning process. Choose a teacher who shares your passion.
Usually, a practicing guitarist, who just happens also to teach, is your best bet. There are a lot of those around. But when it comes down to it, you have to find a teacher who you will be happy to take hours of instruction from.
7. Practicing the wrong songs
This is probably the fastest route to quitting before you have even started. Playing guitar is a passion. You have to practice with the songs and music genres you enjoy listening to.
There are many reasons why people quit playing guitar. Even though it may be easy to say that you were not cut out for the challenges of learning this instrument presents, most of the reasons they people cite when they quit playing guitar could easily be fixed with minimal effort.
About the Author: Joseph Evans
My name is Joseph Evans and I am a guitar playing, freelance writing, online teaching music lover based in Seattle, WA. Growing up in a musical family naturally lead to obtaining my Bachelor of Music (BM) in Composition & Music Theory degree, after which I taught and traveled my way across Europe for 7 years before returning back home to settle in beautiful Seattle. On a typical day, you would find me playing my guitar, pottering around in the vegetable garden, going on long hikes, reading and/or writing.