How to keep motivated.

trevorus

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Here’s a link to a Music Theory primer I wrote, for anyone who may be interested:




Thanks for the primer. I saved it to a document on my iPad since I use it for practice a lot.
 

OmegaWoods

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My .02 is to keep your hand in, play for fun and to get better. With a super full plate, seriously focusing on guitar to get good would be nice - but doesn't seem like you've got the time.
So keep playing, keep thinking. Learn one thing, retain it and move on.

You posted:
I play at a church gig, but the music is stagnant, and when it gets something interesting going, it's outside my skill set.

That's where I'd focus first, figuring out what you don't know about that, and then going after it. It sounds like that's your low hanging fruit. It's arguably a stable situation, and your already in it. My thought (I've never played that type of gig or music) would be to think about it like a record producer and try to see what you can add beyond what has you feeling stagnant. Think about being in (for example) a one hit wonder band -you'd be playing the same song the same way every night for 50 years! I'm guessing that with what you're doing there's at least some seasonal variety.

Finally I agree with @GreatDaneRock that things seem to be cyclical, and eventually your path with cross with like minded players. Keep your hand in and work to retain your current skills and move incrementally in directions you need to develop. Like this: My coordination between hands, dexterity with the left hand, just bad.

That part is wood-shedding for sure, 30 minutes a day of some focused scalar and interval exercises (with a metronome!) will get you in better shape in no time. Concentration, progress, and developed focus will help your ear, internalize your clock, and give you ideas.

Quitting is for quitters! This too shall pass.
Lots of great advice in this thread. Don't quit but do prioritize. If you don't like the church gig, stop doing that. Spend 30 minutes per day improving one thing you want to be better at. Focus on that one thing until you have it then go to the next thing.

If you quit, you'll regret it when your life slows down then it'll be a lot harder to get back into it, not to mention expensive.

Whatever you do, don't sell out and give up. Please.
 

Dik Ellis

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It takes a certain type of person(ality) to stay motivated without threats or the promise of $$$.

You can call it passion, persistence, desire, love or whatever... it's all interconnected and all the same.

Don't approach it with any expectations.

(Personally, I never had a problem with it.)

How to keep motivated?

Look ahead and not back.

And, have fun!

Good luck!

imo.
As I like to say, "I only look back when I need a laugh."
 

getbent

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you are busy. but, I'll bet you have 'your chair' and where you sit in the evening when things do quiet down, have an electric guitar, unplugged by your chair all the time. while you watch the news or a show with the kids etc, play. If you work in an office, have an acoustic. when you are on long zoom calls, listen, of course, but play.
 

Beachbum

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I'm 73 and I no longer play in bands and with a world full of germs lurking around I don't even do garage jams any more but I still play an hour or so every day figuring that it's just practice for the next time around.

About that here's some lyrics I just wrote:

Don't bring flowers to my wake cause I won't care
You can pry my eyes wide open and you'll see that I'm not there
I'll be out among the stars looking for a place to land
And playing my guitar in a Hill Billie band
 

Happy Enchilada

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I'm quickly nearing 40, and the more I think about it, the more I realize how I slacked off in life. Right now, music is one of the big ones. So, I decide to buckle down, start doing fundamentals. Metronome practice, dexterity exercises, learning about chord structure, trying to learn songs I've always wanted to...

But, it's been kicking my ass. My coordination between hands, dexterity with the left hand, just bad. Trying to understand theory is like trying to understand Japanese with no guide. Why am I still doing this? Why do I own these instruments if I'm not really progressing?

Lessons? Sure, I'd love to, but with family, kids in sports, full time job, making meals, keeping up a house... I do all the things, get everyone to bed, then I sit down, plug in some headphones, and try and work on it. I don't get started until near 10PM. If the wife wants attention, then of course that takes precedent.

Find a gig that makes you want to play? Yeah, that would be nice. I play at a church gig, but the music is stagnant, and when it gets something interesting going, it's outside my skill set. I play with some guys in the garage... When they don't cancel or just don't contact me for months at a time. ****, they don't even have to bring anything. Guitars, bass, drums, PA...I provide it all. I even print chord sheets when we want to pick up a song.

Any of you fellow guitar players experience this? I just feel run ragged, and trying to play some guitar to help unwind has turned into boring crap because I can't really play anything new. I hit the wall and can't seem to climb over it.

I'm trying to resist the urge to sell all of it and forget I ever picked one up, but that thought has been more and more common recently.

Hell, even if you don't have any solutions, I appreciate the place to vent a bit.

Relax - you're perfectly normal. I have gone through phases in my life where I'm playing a LOT, and others where I'm NOT. Family and work should be higher priorities than bangin' on your six-string, so go with that for a while. Keep the guitar and amp and a few pedals, but realize they'll be gathering dust for a few years. When your kids are more grown and doing their own things, you'll have oodles of time to noodle. I'm 63 and my "kids" are grown-ass men. So I have time to futz with building and modding guitars, playing, etc. Playing at the church is fine, but I made the mistake of doing that for several years when I should have spent that time with my boys. Luckily, the pastor pissed me off and I quit, and then became a Scout leader for 9 years. Today I have two great sons who are both Eagle Scouts, so I believe that was a better use of my time. You can always spend time with your guitar - but your kids will only be your kids once. And when they fly the coop, you'll be confident they are good adults as well. What's the song say, "Teach your children well ..."
 

teletail

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Your family has to take priority, but there is no reason that everyone can’t give dad a half hour or hour once every week or two so he can take a guitar lesson. Work with a teacher, set your goals and start working towards them with the time you can spare.
 

trevorus

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I did just get a hold of a teacher locally, and I'm starting next Monday. Treated myself to a Fender Mustang Micro to make practice anywhere easier, like breaktime at work and the like.

I think that might be a big help to give me some direction.
 

Oxidao

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Here’s a link to a Music Theory primer I wrote, for anyone who may be interested:




Thanks, I’m through this actually.
 

Call Me Al

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My 2 cents is to focus on the joy of the music. You’re probably psyching yourself out about what you can’t do, and you should focus on what you can do.

I’m very busy myself; Young kid, small business. If I can sit and play 15 -30 minutes every day or every other, it’s a win. The small bits add up over time.

If the theory, scales and drills don’t bring you joy, de-emphasize them. Just a few minutes then move on to fun stuff. Find material that brings you joy. I’ve really liked the original compositions on ActiveMelody. I’ve been on there about 18 months and (finally) seeing progress. YouTube covers are fun too. I like JustinGuitar and Marty Music; but there’s tons of options out there.

Brian just posted this one, and seems apt:
 

Oxidao

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God only Knows… and you hopefuly.

I may be wrong but:
You already should know why you play guitar, but it doesn’t looks like you being too excited with those ‘jams’. Leave'em
Use the minutes or hours you got on what you want to really do. Nothing?. Ok. Nothing for a while,
but keep a handy place for any eventual unplugged playing.

Unload yourself first, breath... and get 'back to basics'.
Change heading. Studing Theory is an engaging process for me,
much more than learning songs or being famous. LOL

start doing fundamentals. Metronome practice, dexterity exercises

Anything you do must be having fun now, if it isn't, look for that or let it go for a while.

Through life, it is normal I guess... You'll be back.
 

Flat6Driver

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I'm taking a bit of a break right now. Too much going on...so I know how that can be.

I'd suggest a Boss GT1. You can get a ton of great sounds. Play it with headphones and plu in music from your PC or iPad. I wish I found this years ago.
 

buster poser

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This will sound obvious and maybe someone's already suggested it, but I think we all need to be able to succinctly answer a pretty basic question, especially if we see the guitar as something about which we ought to stay motivated. The question is...

"Why am I playing guitar?"

Nebulous concepts like "personal enjoyment" and "helps me relax" are fine for small talk with the normies, but in your internal monologue, you have surely thought a lot about this question on a deeper level and your answers are hopefully more specific. Why are you doing it at all? And as tangibly as you can define, what does "being good" at guitar mean to you if you're not yet where you think "good" is? That will help motivate you to fill in gaps... and I think that's what it's all about... seeing enough "improvement" to keep going; and to see those improvements, you're gonna need to have measuring sticks.

Do you want to be able to play along with [your fave player]'s killer solos or instead want to play flamenco at an open mic? Maybe both? Obviously there's no single answer to the question for any of us, and asking here... you're gonna get a lot of different suggestions.

I will offer that you can pull up a level and examine approaches to learning itself versus looking for specific waypoints from people. One approach that has worked well for me is to just pick one thing I don't know on the instrument and see where that takes me. Even better if it's a known-unknown skill shortage from where I want to be. This approach has thrown some doors wide open for me too, put me down a path of all-new unknown-unknowns.

And sometimes I just learn the one thing, but trying to "boil the ocean" as the corpospeak goes is a path to disappointment imo. Managing things in digestible, little chunks helps motivation too. You don't have to climb the mountain, you can just make the next ridge. I promise you, it adds up. Software development is another analogy, the "Agile" vs "waterfall" project management approach if that's familiar to you.

As an aside, technique work never hurts anyone and it's easy to work on. Only you know whether what you need is shred work, hybrid picking, or rhythm/timing, but it's always time well spent and will bear fruit.

Just keep playing is the best advice I can give. Putting it down is easy.
 

teletimetx

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I think I learned more in my 50’s than all the previous years - started when I was 14. Many, many phases, deep ruts, etc. But always just loved playing. As many a dinosaur has said, back then, not quite as many learning resources.

As others have pointed out, sounds like you need to sort out what you want from playing. Somewhere in there, joy should figure into the equation.

I try to keep in mind one of Ray Wylie Hubbard’s lines:
Any day my gratitude exceeds my expectations is a good day indeed.

To have a family to care for is a blessing.

Huge leaps in progress don’t happen instantaneously or overnight - little by little, step by step, keep playing and looking for joy in just that.
 

sax4blues

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For me music is an escape, my goal is to play, not achieve. I do get better, I do perform with/for others. But most of the time I’m just playing stuff that I know and that’s ok.

Kind of like my golf game, I play because I enjoy playing even though my skills are about the same as 20 years ago.
 

P Thought

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I'm quickly nearing 40, and the more I think about it, the more I realize how I slacked off in life.
I'm approaching 70. I've come to that same realization several times--it hurt my feelings to see myself as a slacker--and now a new one, which is: so what? Whether we're chairmen of the board, fry cooks, or street people, our real significance is limited, both in scope and duration. "Success" is an illusion, and "motivation" is folly, but it's all fine if you don't hurt anyone.
 




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