Don ´t stop practicing

I think we can all agree on the fact that it is hard to become a master at any possible endeavour there is. It doesn’t matter if you want to master a new language or learn how to ride a snowboard or make beautiful photographs. Or record a guitar. Or become a “ good” guitarplayer. It takes hours and hours of practicing and playing to become a decent guitar player…

So that is why I am sometimes a little irritated with my students (and myself !) when I realize that everyone, including myself, is just hunting for fast results, shortcuts and immediate success. It just does not work that way. Learning to play an instrument is hard work. It takes a long time to become sufficiently good and a lifetime to become a master.

Sometimes a student that has been practicing a lot comes to the guitar lessons and I can see that she or he is in distress. The student has put in the work but it still doesn’t seem to make any difference. That is when I say: “ Who told you that it is going to be fun to learn to play guitar?”. Then we both laugh nervously and continue on with the lesson with a lighter spirit. The student and I are in the same boat now.. There is so much to learn and at times it can be overwhelming no matter for how long you have been playing the guitar. And then there is the story of the ice cube:

An ice-cube sits in a room and doesn’t melt. The room temperature is 25°F and nothing happens. Then it gets one degree warmer, up to 26°F. Nothing happens. At 27°F stiil nothing happens. Not at 28°F. Not at 29°F. No, not at 30°F. Not at 31°F. But at 32°F, finally,  the ice-cube starts to melt. ( I stole that story from https://jamesclear.com/atomic-habits, if you are need for some motivation you should buy it!)

It is the same thing when you practice. You have to stick to it. Even if you don´t see of feel the change your working for. But it is still happening. It is happening- be assured! The trick is not to give up to soon. ( one thing you can do to make your successes more visible is to record yourself on a frequent basis))

So don´t be haunted by the feeling that playing guitar should be fun at all times. It is hard work . To be perfectly honest, when I pick up the guitar I am not overcome by a feeling of joy or anticipation. It is seldom the case. Most of the time I even have to trick myself into picking up the guitar (I am promising myself to get some coffee soon!). The joy comes later.

One last thing! be careful whom you listen to. Try to listen to people who know what you they are talking about , who have made the same experiences , who have been in the ring so to speak. Chances are they get what you are talking about and support you on your way or at least understand what you are going through. Be clever and listen to the people who have been their themselves. It saves a lot of energy. That you can then use for practicing even a little more.