Any more introvert/non-creative guitarists?

Hi there,
this may be kind of weird question, but I still need to ask. Playing guitar or any instrument is art, and art is by definition something creative. It’s kind of strange that I ended in art (guitar) as I am introverted and non-creative type of person. My personality type is ISTJ according to 16personalities website and I do agree. I am extremely by the book and adore rules and following instructions! For sure, that something isn’t really associated with an guitar player and arts in general. I also lean heavily conservative in my worldview so especially as youngish person (30es) it’s really hard to even find any guitarist which is even remotely conservative. In church we have pianist and although our Reverend did mention I could join one day in our little choir, there is still issue of introversion.

As a by-the-book person I do love Justin’s lessons! He gives clear instructions what to do and what not, although now in Grade 3 I kinda don’t like that he is giving me more freedom (weird right?). I loved when he said: “practice x for y minutes”, “practice y for x minutes”. But now I am kinda getting lost. Most certainly I won’t do any songwriting (aside noodling around random melodies for my soul) as it’s primarily good hobby and stress relief for me, not professional endeavor. The sound of ACOUSTIC guitar is awesome and I prefer it as it’s simple (electric sounds, well, artificial and I don’t like too many options).

So my question is if anyone can relate and if yes, how do you go about playing guitar as such person? Do you just play your favorite songs or do you end up doing something creative in the end… I read some article that there is really very little conservative, introverted guitarists. Especially the combination of both and that their options are really limited. Mostly to worship songs and country, which I both love.

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I think this may be an issue for people who start learning to play an instrument with the intention of becoming professional (publicly performing) musicians and/or songwriters. The famous musicians we all know have become famous partly because of their extroversion and need for attention.

Personally, I started to play the guitar out of curiosity and to see if I was capable of learning anything music-related and applying it in practice. However, as I already have a job and writing music/lyrics is not a concern for me (though I’m open to the idea that sometime I may be inspired to write something original), I can afford to play the guitar for pure enjoyment without any pressure to achieve a certain goal by a definite deadline (e.g. to transcribe and learn a dozen songs in 2 weeks). Anything I may be able to learn is a gain for me.

Regarding practice routines, I think it’s reasonable to expect people to become more independent in the long run and to be able to judge what they need to work on and how much. But this goes for any regular activity, not only music. If you are in Grade 3, it means you have covered several essential topics (chords, strumming patterns, etc) that you can apply in practice or to know what area you need to work on more.

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Agree with this entirely.

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Que sera sera :wink:

I have similar personality traits so I can see where you come from. As this is a hobby and not your job, there is nobody to tell you what to do. You should spend your time doing what makes you happy. Just because you may never write a song, shouldn’t stop any of your enjoyment. As there are so many paths to take in Grade 3 and beyond, A lot of us have had to pause and figure out what our direction should be, and the answer is whatever makes you happy and picking up the guitar. If you want a detailed practice routine, figure out what skills are holding back you learning more songs and create a detailed plan for how to improve those skills, write it down and follow it as if Justin provided it for you. You may one day surprise yourself performing for others or writing a song, but don’t force yourself to do it if it puts you under stress and stops you loving your guitar. This is a very supportive place and has helped me a lot, even to the extent of performing at the open mics, which was never something I planned, but I did really enjoy and benefit from the experience. The mantra of learn songs, learn songs, learn songs is a great one to keep you playing and enjoying the journey. You are doing this for you and nobody else, so do what makes you happy.

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As an introvert myself, I can relate to some of your feelings. I also have zero interest in writing my own music. I told my husband that I would be perfectly happy joining a cover band. Although I am socially introverted, I still love to be able to perform. I come from a theater background and I do actually enjoy being on stage. However, once I’m done with any performance, I like to decompress on my own rather than going out to the inevitable after party.

As far as the guitar- do what you like! If you are only playing for your own enjoyment, then great! You do not need to be performing or writing your own music for it to make you happy. Please do not feel like you need to conform to what others expectations of a guitarist may be.

I also struggled a little bit with the lack of practice structure in grade three. Although, that said, I am also not following grade 3 in perfect order. I tend to jump in and learn songs that interest me and seek out the lessons that help me best with where I’m at. There is also a grade three lesson that talks about making your own practice routine based on your playing goals. Maybe take some time and figure out a bit more what you would like to improve upon and make your own routine based on that. Overall, go with what makes you happy!

It feels like you are over-thinking things a bit. :slight_smile:

Do try to just have fun with your politics, religion and guitar playing. These subjects are too broad to put into little paper bags. I will only speak to the guitar playing though. LOL

The sooner you can break off and become self-motivated, the sooner you will find your own voice on the instrument. I know that is not everyone’s goal here, and that’s OK too, but finding your own voice is the sweet spot. It unlocks your creativity and makes you less driven to try and sound exactly like someone else that did find their voice on the instrument. I would never pick up a guitar again (for love or money) if all I ever did was carbon copy covers, and in my case (and others) they would be subpar anyway.

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I think there are plenty of introverted guitarists - although I am not one.

Creative though… isn’t the art of music creative?

Perhaps you might not write songs, but exploring chords, melodies, rhythms, isn’t that part of being a musician?

Wow. I read the 16 pereonalities book years ago. I am the general in personality and a conservative in most thinking. However, the thought of performing to an audience again ( I did at one point in my musical journey) has absolutely no interest to me. There is a place a musician goes when they close their heads to all other senses snd just play. A wonderful place beyond true description. So I say, close your eyes and go to that place and just play. It’s your place. Enjoy it all as well as the journey to get there.

You do realize you are asking introverts to pop their head up here… I almost decided to skip by this one. We’ll see if I delete it or hit reply, I suppose.

I agree with the folks saying to do what gives you joy. Think about what made you pick up a guitar rather than something else, or even using your voice. For me, listening to music was not enough. I wanted to have a deeper connection. I considered harmonica, recorder, hurdy-gurdy (yes, truly), and guitar since these are frequently in the music I enjoy and something I can play solo. I spent a lot of time listening to either 60’s and 70’s radio or classical vinyl records as a boy. When I started, I knew that I could get a good deal of enjoyment from playing guitar, and I am not afraid to try some music on that instrument that was never intended for it. I still don’t what I am doing, but that is not required for me to have fun.

I too am not doing as well with Grade3 practice as I did before. In my case, there are so many things I have not perfected to my satisfaction that I cannot get to them all in one session. Yes, I really do prefer perfection before moving on and it fights with my desire to see new material. I have accepted that I am not going to be very fast at gaining some skills. I make sure to come back to those skills in practice. Sometimes ignoring something for a couple weeks and coming back to it really helps (ahem, Barre chords…)

What I have tried to do for practice now is to list all the things I am in need of improving greatly before I can attempt something I want to do. Some examples:

  1. I cannot make the stretch for a song I want to learn - this is a long-term practice item that will pay benefits after my hand adapts. i just stick with it. I plan for this to be a long-term practice item.
  2. I want to play something at tempo but I am too slow - I will practice 1-min changes, then the song just beyond comfort level a couple times a week. This is probably a short-term practice item for me.
  3. My technique is pretty poor in some place - I do this with brute-force practice. Start slow, gain the speed, and just do it very frequently. This is typically a medium-term item. Either I skipped by it too fast during lessons, or it is ‘good enough, but not great’ and just needs some dedication to see results.
    and more…

Most of these items are really obvious to me related to my own needs. I’ll bet yours are too for you. Tailor your practice around stuff you want to do, be it near term or long term.

Let’s circle back to introversion and creativity. Do those things really not occur together? I think you can find evidence that they are not necessarily connected. Someone I would consider highly introverted is Neal Peart, drummer for the band Rush. He was particularly adept at his craft and writing lyrics for the band, but he did his best to stay out of the public view. Introverted? I’d say so. Did it reduce his ability to play music, certainly not!

Do not consider being introverted a burden. Use the benefits of not partying every night to do what you enjoy with your guitar.

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Another introvert here. And I’m creative. I don’t think the two are exclusive.

Introversion is a complex topic…I’m in sales, which is typically considered unusual for an introvert until you weigh in an introvert’s focus on listening and understanding what my clients need. Contrast that with the “typical” extroverted sales professional who ends up talking too much and listening too little, just dominating a conversation.

In my role I often give presentations to large groups. It’s a performance, and I’ve learned to make it fun - even for an introvert. However, when I consider what energizes me, I’m typically exhausted after those events. I’d much prefer an intimate conversation with a senior executive with a lot of discourse and challenging thought than presentations to the masses.

With the amount of solitary time it takes to become good at guitar, especially as an older learner (kids are faster at this, right?), I bet there’s more introverts among us.

Book recommendation on this is “ Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain - great read about being an introvert in a world that generally values extroverted character traits.

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I’ve long self-identified as an introvert, but, I think that means a lot of things to a lot of people. One way I’ve seen introversion described is: while you may love interacting with people as much as anyone else, it drains you more quickly than it does other people, so, you need more solitude to recharge your batteries.

As some others have said above, I don’t think that introversion and creativity (or a lack thereof) go hand in hand. I’d like to think I’ve got some decent creative faculties. It’s part of what helped me excel in some areas in university, where friends who were as smart as I (probably smarter!) did not do so well. I’ve also dabbled in various arts, a favorite of which is ceramics.

A final thought… I don’t think that being an introvert is necessarily correlated with not wanting to be on stage. In this way, I am very similar to my father. He was a great public speaker and teacher, but was rather introverted when it came to one-on-one interactions with people. I’m rather similar in that way. In the context of many social interactions, I’m rather introverted. Yet, getting on a stage and speaking to hundreds of people doesn’t bother me at all. For me, at least, there is this separation, probably because the stage performance is less intimate.

So, I guess all of that to say that it’s a multifactorial problem; there are many and varied factors at play here, so, all of these various traits come out differently in different people’s lives. For example, like myself, you could be rather introverted, but enjoy creative endeavors and not mind being on stage.

Oh, and, you also made a point about being conservative. I think this also means many things to many people. Assuming you mean something like… having some sort of traditional, religious or cultural values, I would just point out that a whole lot of music over the millennia of human civilization has been made by those of religious faith. So, there wouldn’t be anything particularly unusual about being a musical creative and being conservative in that way.

The ultimate take-away: Enjoy the journey of learning music. If your journey is not like those of other people, that’s okay. :slight_smile:

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I guess I know from where it comes from, Justin’s course is aimed at people who like to sing and play with others, learn how to transcribe and write songs. If don’t fit to this you are a bit left out.

Everyone is a creative person, we create different stories everyday. I used to be visual creative for several years but I don’t feel I would like to write any music anytime soon, perfectly fine playing covers. I don’t sing and don’t play with others, I’m interested in instrumental music and learn mostly on my own. Even the music I’m interested in is far from what folks here enjoy.

But I’m glad to be here nonetheless, there is a lot of great people who threat others with kindness and respect regardless of their music fascinations and personal believes.

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Really interesting topic, I think generally I’m introverted until I feel comfortable within a setting / scenario and can begin to flourish. I am however quite self-doubting and relate quite strongly to imposter syndrome.
To bring it to the guitar / music setting, unless you’re desperate to be front and center on stage, the true “frontman” I don’t think it particularly matters. Creativity, I take as in song writing, I don’t think it matters, in fact in some ways it can probably lead to some interesting directions in style. Every personality matters and counts and plenty of people will relate to each other imo.

I’m not entirely sure I agree with this Radek, I’d say Justin’s course is aimed at people who want to learn to play, whether for themselves alone or others. There’s plenty of times he references things that may not be “right” for you and to follow your own ambition.

Maybe I wasn’t precise enough, every beginner should go through the 1-3 grade because it is elementary knowledge. This part is absolutely brilliant. But later on, if your interests are not aligned with the course (let’s say you want play fingerstyle solo) you don’t have much to do. You can find bits and pieces that can be interesting but nothing like the guided tour you experienced before.

This is all perfectly fine, you can’t make everyone happy. If majority is happy it is good enough for this business model. It’s just I found myself on the crossroads when I finished all the beginner grades and discovered I have to look elsewhere to continue.

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Ah ok, understood Radek. I’m a fair way off those crossroads in my learning!! :wink: :rofl:

Interesting conversation. I’ve never been a fan of psychology as a discipline. The scientific method in general I think weakens itself considerably with its insatiable need to cut things up in order to understand them - often at the expense of then again returning to the bigger picture. The world is a much messier and paradoxical place, and us funny little creatures are inherently a complex, and inconsistent lot.
Dominant personality traits don’t necessarily mean its opposites are missing. They may simply be in a state of potential, and may flourish, given the right circumstances. So the artist and the analytical, structure-driven introvert can, and certainly do exist.
I am starting to see music, at its core, as a highly structured, mathematical system. I think the real trick though is to get this system progressively embedded into the subconcious , and away from the analytical mind in whatever way you can - analytically, visually, aurally. The artist can then begin to emerge to subconciously manipulate and break these structures to create interesting and moving music.

Cheers, Shane

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Then you are in a happy place and I’m bit jealous :wink:.

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Thank you all for giving great insights and ideas of which I didn’t think of before! Glad that many could relate. Yeah, I guess it really is to just enjoy guitar and not break my head too much about it. It really is special as some of you mention to go to that happy place by just closing eyes and playing guitar. That is the reason probably it intrigued me so much and even tho I’m getting older, I wanted to see if I can really play some instrument and not just listen to music. And correct, even noodling around with chords and notes is creative… I never thought about creativity in such broad sense. :slight_smile:

Tnx once more to all for giving nice insight and encouragement. Nice community here indeed :smiley:

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Yes huge introvert here and one of the least creative people on the planet. When I think about creating something or generating an idea, my brain goes completely vegetable. Like
the big cloud of nothingness from the book The Neverending Story starts moving through and just nothing comes. Nothing! People who do any creative art amaaaaaaaze me. Like how they have ideas in the first place, how they have confidence that their idea is good, why they want anyone else to see it or hear it, and how they translate it from mind to life. It’s incredibly fascinating to me.

I’ve played piano over 30 years but can’t learn a note without sheet music. Same will be for guitar. I will need the tab. Not that I can’t play by ear and memorize, I can, and the memorize part I do 100%. But I want to play a song “correctly,” and the only way to do that is to know the exact notes to play. So improvising and being creative will never happen for me. I don’t want it it to, and can’t do it anyway. It’s killing me not knowing very many notes on the fretboard. It’s killing me that tab is visually messy and hard to read. It’s killing me to practice the introduction to improvisation lesson in module 10. I just want to know how to read guitar music, know the chords, and get to playing some songs properly but only in the privacy of my own home with my hubby and cat being my only audience members.

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