3 Tips to Solve Guitar Frustration
Guitar frustration is a sign
If you are brave enough to admit your frustration of guitar, I salute you. Being able to admit that you're frustrated is an incredible admission of your honesty. It's the first step towards solving problems that beginners often experience, perhaps needlessly.
Guitar frustration can occur when a guitarist is too urgently seeking to reach a new plateau, a higher zenith, a better view. It's painful to realize that you're frustrated and not getting anywhere with your practicing, that you're not achieving your goals. If, however, you are in the mood to challenge this frustration, you're in luck. The following tips come straight from what I do when I'm frustrated with guitar and want to quit (and yes, it happens to me from time-to-time).
Tip 1: Practice less, and stop short
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you'll know how much I adore the word momentum. When you have momentum, you can't go a day without practicing guitar. If, however, you have to convince yourself that you have to practice, you might have practiced for too long a period the day before.
I personally have a heretical view of practicing. I never do it to "get better" at something. For me, practicing is really about building the momentum I need. Often, I stop myself from practicing more. I'll practice for less time in order to get excited to come back on the next day. I stop short, and I leave unfinished business on guitar.
When you practice for short bursts of time, you'll be forced to stop in an unsatisfying place. This is on purpose. You'll feel cheated once your time is up, but motivated to come back to the guitar the next day. This can be called, stopping short.
What's the easiest way to employ stopping short in your practice regime? Set a timer for five minutes, deliberately practice the hard stuff. Just this one tip can totally revamp your experience and sweep away loads of your guitar frustration.
Tip 2: Get rid of some of your guitar goals
The only goals I have when it comes to playing music are to enjoy how it feels to practice and to watch my skills grow. I just about never compare myself to other guitarists or musicians. I don't allow myself to judge myself. I have no deadlines, and I certainly have no urgent reasons to learn. I prefer to enjoy the moment because where I'm at right now is more important to me than where I'll be in the future. Do you have some guitar goals that are getting in the way of your enjoyment of guitar in the present?
Chances are that if you've set some crazy guitar goals, they might be ruining your enjoyment of the guitar. What would happen if you were to get rid of some of them? What if instead of trying to be like another guitarist or being good at guitar, you simply worked on enjoying it? What if you threw out the deadlines and just relaxed into the day-to-day observation of watching yourself grow more skilled at playing?
Some types of goals can be unrealistic for beginners unless the goal is the get into the process of learning guitar. I'm not saying all goals are crap, but if you are feeling frustrated, please consider that you might be happier with fewer of them.
Tip 3: Temporarily rest your practice regime
If you are a beginner, guitar is not your life. You don't have to practice hard in order to pay the rent. So, is practicing harder giving you more guitar frustration? Chances are that it might be.
There has to be room for you to explore things that make you happy. You need time to spend with close friends and family. You need time. Guitar doesn't have to take over your life.
Resting, albeit temporarily, eases guitar frustration depending on the severity of your duress.* In other words, if you're mildly frustrated with guitar, perhaps a week of rest will do. If you're regularly involved with guitar and you totally enjoy it for the most part, give it a day off. The more frustrated you feel with guitar, the longer you may want to put it down.
In case you're wondering, I've put the guitar down on many occasions and still have successfully came back to it. I have fought the guilt I've felt over not practicing, but honestly, my enjoyment of life wins over each and every time. You might need a break, too.
*If you are completely 100% frustrated with guitar, I would suggest that you quit altogether and find a new avenue to pursue. There's no point in moving forward with something that you hate doing. Life is too short.