Darn. Life happened and my learning progress got derailed

I was making good regular progress, half way through Grade 4 of the theory course. Then about a 5-6 weeks ago there was 3 weeks with 3 family emergencies, each about a week apart, and they took all of my mental attention without me even realizing. I came out on the other end exhausted from it. (Everyone is improving thankfully)
Then school started (I am a teacher) and I have been going full steam. Now it’s been over a month without real practice (where did the time go) and I realize how much I missed.

I gotta get back on track, it’s just getting over the hump of figuring out where to start again. Some pieces are still there but there is some mastery that is gone. It’s scattered.

Have you ever had to get back on track?


I’m on a trip away without my guitar (7weeks), and missing it🙁. When I get back I’ll start with a few songs I learnt well and enjoyed playing. That should get the chord /‘finger memory going😁


I’ve had a couple of major breaks through illness, I have Fibromyalgia and stress or extremes of weather conditions can make me have a major flare up where even basic living is hard; I am getting back on path but the current weather in the UK isn’t helping.
I really can’t play anything like the standard I used to be able to so decided to go back through the new BC and try to get my playing better, then came our heatwave and scotched that!
Despite my age (70) I’m determined to get back to a decent standard again despite my problems; with determination and patience I’m pretty sure that it’s achievable.


Im in a similar boat. 4 weeks off and due to work comitments likely at least another 4. Not too worried, ive experienced similar in sporting pusuits and found within a few months i usually surpass where i was.

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This happens to me as well. School is gonna start soon over here too and being myself a teacher, I can understand you and I’m aware I won’t be able to practice as much
as I did in the summer. What I try to do is being really focused on single items of practice. When the day is busy, I might happen to grab my guitar only for a 5 minutes finger gym…back to life duties… then maybe another 5 minutes for a strumming pattern for the song I’m learning…and it would be super if later in the day I’ll find another 5 minutes for some chord changes. It already makes 15 minutes!
In the Food for Thought section over the website, you find a “5 minutes miracles” article…that might be helpful. The main thing is keeping the focus, even for a short amount of time. Cheers.

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I can’t claim any major derailments, but I routinely feel a bit mentally exhausted after work and have trouble actually focusing enough to learn anything new.

In those times I remind myself that the guitar is my escape from all that, too.

I pick up the guitar and play some songs I know better and have been playing a while, or I practice finger picking patterns, arpeggio patterns, scales, or even just cord sequences. Anything that I just feel like and relax with. I need all the motor learning practice I can get anyway.

Sometimes I put the guitar down a couple of hours later.


I totally get it! I’m also trying to get back on track at the moment (life happened). And I’ve also just moved to a new city and got COVID just as I was meant to start my new job.
(I didn’t know anyone here but seem to have very nice neighbours who came over to check on me and brought me soup and oranges :slight_smile: )
Anyway, settling in and feeling better but also finding it a bit hard to re-focus and get back into a flow. I’m trying to stick to a routine as much as I can and also got a few tips from Justin’s Effective Practice lessons in Grade 3, including Andrew Huberman’s podcasts. They also have some great tips and information, if you’re interested.
Glad to hear everyone is improving :slight_smile:

WOW, thanks for sharing. I appreciate your story.

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Frequently when I restarted learning back 2012 and found Justin’s old Beginner’s Course. Hit a couple of points where my mojo just evaporated and I went a number of weeks not playing. Once I got my head straight I eased back into where I had been by slowly going over everything I’d learnt previously. That was a good consolidation exercise.

But I have pretty much taken a month out each Summer over the last 3 years. My family used to visit us from the UK to here in France 4 times a year but Covid put the kybosh on that, especially as my daughter was heavily involved in emergency planning with her area of the UK health service and could not take leave and ongoing issue compound that now, including the B word. So for 3 years her and the gkids have come over for 4-5 weeks in the Summer. She’ll normally have to remote work for a couple of those weeks but I pretty much stop playing while they are here. I certainly stop all development work and like this year may be just work on songs for the JGC Open Mic. But definitely improvements and learning new techniques are put on hold.

That said these days it does not take me long to get back into the swing of things but I do tend to take about a week to review where I was and ensuring I was back to the same level before I took a break. My advice ease yourself in and don’t try making up for lost time.

Hope the helps.



Yeah I had my cat bite my thumb when I broke up a cat fight and that set me back for awhile. I think everyone has times that they just can’t practice as much as they’d like to. The faster you get back to playing the more you will remember what you learned previously and then you won’t feel so behind. Just find the time even if it’s just 15 minutes stretched out throughout the day. :slight_smile: Good luck!!

My 7 year old son was injured in an accident at school where he fractured his skull and had emergency surgery to remove a cerebral hematoma in February. Thankfully he is making a full recovery.
I spent 3 nights in the ICU with him. Once we got out I don’t think I even looked at my guitar or anything for weeks.
Once he started to recover it was great to get back into it and I think it helped me heal a lot.
The break also gave me a new found enthusiasm and after a couple of days I was right back where I had been.


This year a medical procedure for myself and other life stuff that takes precedence have, is and will make me take breaks of my guitar playing and learning. The first thing for me is to take out the pressure. I can go at my own pace. If my next AVOYP is going to be later than I had planned is good. If it takes me longer to finish the Level 9 of the Beginner Guitar Courses [Classic] is ok. I know that I will be somewhat rusted after a break but I will catch up and advance farther when I start to practice regularly again. As others have said doing shorter playing or practice sessions can work better than waiting to have time for a longer playing or practice session and can help to gradually connect again if the connection is broken.

Good that things are ok for everyone who has shared the issues they have gone through.

Thank goodness your son is recovering @Eddie_09 ! That sounds horribly frightening and I would be derailed for a month (or more) as well! My thoughts for your son and continued recovery.

I think it is cool that you felt the guitar was something that supported your own recovery. I feel a little like it is therapy as well, although not for any specific trauma, just life and work.

I try to make it my little refuge where I am doing something I love and that gives me space for me. That actually drives me to it when I am spent from everything else life throws at me, rather than feeling it is yet another burden.

Thanks Joshua, really appreciate your kind words. Thankfully he is well on the road to recovery! He also started learning guitar at age 7 so maybe is well on the way to guitar hero as well. I wish I had started that young but better late than never!!

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