Yeah, I’m having one of those “what am I even doing trying to learn guitar” days. Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of concept, technique, and theory out in front of me that seemingly will never make sense whatsoever. Feeling overwhelmed that even 30 minutes of practice a day is not enough time to practice everything, and I am only on Module 9! Feeling worried that if I don’t practice everything, something will fall through the cracks. Feeling discouraged by my lack of skill and difficulty in building skill. Feeling discouraged by having short fingers that feel like a detriment, with nobody to tell me its OK and that I can still do this, and show me the right ways to fret for my short fingers. Feeling confused between proper thumb placement and bad wrist position where doing one thing causes the other. Feeling concerned that my technique is terrible and I’m just getting good at terrible habits. Yeah its definitely one of those blah guitar days.
I know that feeling!
But, you CAN do this. It is ok to learn slowly, it is ok to struggle with difficult tasks. There is no one you need to compare yourself to, especially not to any idea of what/where you “should” be.
You “should” be a beginner, you should have to work for this. Anything worthwhile requires hard work. Enjoy the work, enjoy where you are, enjoy the process.
I think the beginning, where you are, is the hardest time. When our idea of playing guitar crashed into the reality. You have learned enough to see the bigger picture. But that is an accomplishment, as will be persisting.
You CAN do this!
Thank you, that is all very encouraging. And are easy things to forget.
After all these years I still have the odd day like that and where most others might say pick up and play a bit, I’d say put it down for 24 hrs. Take a deep breath, regroup and just chill. Then have a think about how far you have come since you started, may not be that long but think about what you can now do compared to when you first started. Take another deep breath, have a good night sleep. Then start all over again refreshed.
It’s often at these frustrating times that major breakthroughs are made. So you’re probably right on the cusp of a leap in development. Seriously, exciting times ahead.
Yes, that’s true. I can pretty much play the Wish You Were Here riff, and a few months ago I could only play the D and A chords and nothing else. I have no idea what I will be able to play next. I just want to know that I am learning things in such a way that they look right to an experienced player. It looks so easy, but it’s not.
I hope so! We’ll just have to wait and see. The suspense!
You’re only looking in one direction:
How far there is to go.
None of us will ever get there…
Stop for a second and look where you are now. Enjoy those 30 minutes a day.
Also, look back every now and again and see how far you have come after setting out.
I think I recall someone saying:
I am having a lot of fun and can’t believe just a couple of months ago I couldn’t have made a single pleasant sound come from a guitar. So excited to move forward in the lessons and could just hug Justin and everybody else here for everything!
Hang in there Stacy! We all have those days (that for me are sometimes longer than days ) , and then it all clicks back into place again and you realize that you are making progress.
I watched a documentary recently about Keith Richards who still says that “there are days I feel like smashing the damn thing off the wall” , and he did ok!
Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m at about the same level as you, and I’ve been feeling this way for a few days.
Just a few minutes ago I decided to play a song I’d been working on a few weeks ago, but hadn’t touched recently. I had to review the strumming pattern, and confirm the shape of a chord I don’t frequently play. But I started playing and it just began to flow! That made me smile and realize I’m making progress after all.
Thanks to Brian - his quote reminded me why I’m on this journey, and how great this community is:
Hey, we all have those days, sometimes your fingers just cant seem to go where they are supposed to… Some days your G string is just not staying in tune to save anything. Go play something fun for a day , them get back to learning and your struggles. You can do this and everyone in front of you has had the same feelings ( Including Chet Atkins) .
My cat got all sideways the other day while I was listening to Justin scale theory and intervals. Justin said a good way to remember the the half tone intervals was " Big Cats Eat Frogs" … The cat heard this, stood up and gave me a look and stopped off . ( little humor there ).
Ah they happen Stacy, at this point I’ve learned / realised that if part way into practice it’s just not working then to sack it off for the day and go and do something else. On the flip side there are days when everything works, every change is perfect, strumming is completely on point and your guitars in tune when you pick it up. Both of those types of day are the extremes so recognise them, curse one and bask in the other! in the middle of those two extremes are our normal slow and steady progress days. Don’t worry, be happy as someone once said
Part of this great tapestry I suppose. Chin up, we have definitely all been there with this one!
Ah, that sweet summer child, with her hopeful and positive attitude! Haha. Seriously though, thank you for posting that. I do still feel that way every day about this community and this journey. That definitely put a smile on my face.
It is interesting to get some insight into our guitar heros’ struggles, isn’t it! It’s one of the things I like learning most about famous people. Yes they have talent but more so they have discipline.
Judi, that’s wonderful that you noticed a big improvement! Thank you sharing that, it’s a good reminder to keep persevering. Also, thanks for sharing that you were feeling the same. I knew I couldn’t be the only one.
Yes I was hoping those wiser than I would remind me of that! It’s nice that we all share the same struggles, so there’s lots of ppl to understand.
Stacy don’t worry all of us are going through those days at some point. On top of what other wiser people did say I want to add this - if you learnt something to heart like how to play a C chord and you can use it while playing songs but then decide to work on other chords you feel less confident with just skip C chord off your schedule. Or anything else you are comfy with now. You see your brain is quite a clever little bugger who tends to remember stuff sub consciously even if you think you forget (after all we use only less than 50% of it’s capabilities). If you decide to go back to C chord one day you will see it takes lot less time to relearn it rather than learn it from the scratch.
We all have those days Stacy. I’ve had a few of them recently. Had one yesterday actually. I’ve been working on a song and I just can’t get it fast enough accurately, one of the riffs goes to a complete mess. I was hoping to have it good by now but it’s taking way longer to build the speed. I think I’ll have to get to grips with what I thought was a couple of month endeavour might be a years long one (this speed thing).
I went and just played some easier stuff. Learnt a new song that was easily within my capability… and got it straight away.
When you’re feeling a bit down about your progress, do something simple and fun. If you still feel like playing guitar, just make good sounds come out of it. Play some songs you know, chords you know, make up a song or riff… get some good vibes.
Very true! I have dropped off some of the earlier stuff. The concept that we cannot master hardly anything is so hard to accept, but I know it’s the truth. We just have to come back to whatever it is later or trust that we will build it as we go.
There’s nothing more frustrating than when you’ve memorized the notes in your mind but the fingers don’t work. It’s like you know you can do it, but somehow you can’t do it, and it takes a long time for your fingers to get the pattern. Urgh! I know what that’s like, with piano. I’ll do what you did, ease off and do some fun practice in the meantime.