I need help!

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I need help!

Postby Pete » Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:35 pm

Hi all,

I'm suffering from an extreme lack of direction and I don't know what to do about it!

Here’s a little bit about me to put that into context... I've played (electric) guitar for the last 20 years but only discovered the Principles a couple of years ago. I can play at a beginner-intermediate level, which is a level of skill that was mainly developed through luck more than judgement, due to the lack of self awareness that became evident once reading Jamie’s books and articles. I’ve made some progress in terms of developing self awareness of my mind and body and have seen that, with correct practice, my playing has improved.

I now understand the amount of effort that playing the guitar in the correct manner requires. The size of the task doesn’t put me off, as I realise that everyone has got to start somewhere and that everyone will always have new things to learn, but something is now stopping me from playing, let alone improving.

After a fair amount of reflection I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that I don’t have fun practicing the guitar…

I’ve tried to identify where this problem is coming from and the best answer I’ve come up with so far is that I don’t know what I want to achieve. There are few sides to this problem:

- There’s no particular song or style I long to play that it drives me to practice
- I’ve tried convincing myself that just focusing on technical exercises will allow me to have more fun improvising and although that is true, without knowing what I want sort of music I’d like to improvise, the fun quickly disappears
- I’ve tried just picking a few songs to learn, in keeping with Jamie’s good idea that every player should have a repertoire, but when having to practice these song(s) at slow speeds for so long, they simply lose their musical appeal and turn into another form of technical exercise. I know this seems short sighted, as I know any correct practice will produce progress but the fact of it is that I get bored doing the same thing for even a short period of time (say 20 mins) and swapping one exercise for another isn’t enough to keep my interest
- I’ve tried to find a band to join but there are none that are close enough (or play music that I’d be interested in) to make it viable
- The thought of practicing anything just for the sake of technical progression, i.e. with no fun attached or any end goal in sight, seems unfulfilling to me

The only time I seem to get any pleasure is when I’m noodling around searching for sounds (a sweet chord or lick) that I like, i.e. when I’m not really paying attention to what I’m doing on a physical level and just enjoying the emotions that certain sounds can create. Whilst this gives me some pleasure it still frustrates me as I know that without using (or attempting to use) correct technique I’m wasting my time if I ultimately want to progress. But then I’m back to the same problem of what do I want to progress towards? It’s a vicious circle. I don’t practice because I don’t have fun and, when I do have fun, I’m not practicing correctly which frustrates me enough to stop me playing!

Basically, I’m screwed. I need to find the inspiration that’s going to put me on the path to falling in love with playing the guitar but I’ve no idea where to get it.

I’m looking at my guitar now and I know that it could offer an endless source of pleasure, if only I knew what I was trying to do with it!

Any words of wisdom (or a spare helping of inspiration) would be most welcome…

Cheers

Pete
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Pete
 
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Re: I need help!

Postby Stan » Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:18 pm

Hey Pete!

First off - considering this is your first post - there's a very good chance you're practicing incorrectly. Incorrect practice result in very little, if any, improvement and becomes that very uninspiring thing that you have to FORCE yourself to do... killing any NOTION of fun :roll:

I thought I was doing it correctly... then I took a lesson with Jamie and it really SHOCKED ME how my practice was nowhere near a CORRECT practice. In order for Jamie and others around here to be able to tell whether that's the case with you - at the very least post a video of your practice - regardless of how good - or bad - it may seem to you. That's the first step towards improving.

Now - on to the FUN part. I believe the first commandment of the guitar (if such things were in existence) would be - THOU MUST NOODLE WITH THE GUITAR :lol: :lol: :lol: It does not matter if you're doing it RIGHT or not. Just have fun. Otherwise why the heck do it at all?...

As for practice - once you start practicing CORRECTLY and CONSISTENTLY - you only need to force yourself to do it for a week or two. After that you will start noticing improvement in your practice... and improvement in your noodling... and improvement everywhere. And once you start noticing that - you won't have to work anywhere near as hard at making yourself practice :lol:

Personally - I am almost excited these days about the practice because I see it as means of getting steady progress and being able to do MORE and BETTER when I noodle :D . These days I find - or make time for practice anywhere from 5 to 7 days a week.

And don't be afraid to learn a song or two "not the right way". You're not wasting time (well, not ALL of it, anyway) and you're not ruining your chances of becoming a better guitar player.

Also - read the site, check out some vid's in the "Listening forum" - maybe something there will help you get motivated ;o)
Start where you are,
use what you have,
do what you can.


Arthur Ashe
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Stan
 
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Re: I need help!

Postby Pete » Thu Dec 02, 2010 8:00 am

Hi Stan,

Thanks for the quick reply and for the guidance. I think posting a video sounds like a good idea so I'm going to have a think about how I can manage that. I've got a song that I can play through to the end which should hopefully be a good starting point in terms of getting some useful feedback.

Thanks again.

Pete
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Pete
 
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Re: I need help!

Postby Stan » Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:06 pm

Pete wrote: I think posting a video sounds like a good idea so I'm going to have a think about how I can manage that.


Webcam's the best option, though shooting a video with your digital cam or smartphone cam and then uploading it to YouTube works too.
Start where you are,
use what you have,
do what you can.


Arthur Ashe
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Stan
 
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Re: I need help!

Postby Pete » Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:07 am

Thanks. I'll give it a try :)
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