19 June 2008

Do You Value Playing Guitar Enough?

Recent posts on IG blog and guitarflame discuss the problem of keeping up your motivation to play guitar. This is a common problem for those of us who play guitar for fun, fitting it around life's demands as best we can.

One recurring theme when discussing this problem is that the guitar playing gets left aside in favour of other activities that are deemed more important. Working, raising the kids, and endless list of important things get in the way of your guitar playing.

"I'll play when I have more time" you say to yourself, when the kids are older, when the job is less busy, and so on. But you know what happens don't you?

Groundhog Day?

That dreamed of day when you work only four hours a week and your kids don't need any attention never comes around. Instead you pass your life stuck in a kind of "Groundhog Day" while your dreams recede into the distance.

If you want to keep up playing then, you have to know that playing guitar is valuable to you. If playing your guitar is not a worthwhile activity then it will fall by the wayside.


So, how valuable is guitar playing to you? Do you value your guitar playing, or do you consider it a frivolous luxury?

It is easy to think of playing the guitar as a luxury activity in our society. Everybody is concerned with production, gain, work and other activities more important than playing guitar.

If you see playing the guitar as a frivolous pastime of little value then you are in danger of forgetting it as soon as other demands are made on you.

What Do You Value?

If you want to give importance to your guitar playing you must take some time to consider what you value about it. Only then can it compete with life's other demands on your time.

Start by clarifying what your guitar goals are. Dave Navarro over at Rock Your Day suggests a great tip for clarifying goals. Often when you write down a goal you only write half the story, the "what" of your goal.

Here's an example, "I want to play acoustic guitar."

Dave suggests adding an explanation of why you set that goal. Understanding the why behind the what forces you to think about why the goal is important. This makes you clarify your goal in terms of what you want to achieve with it.

Here's the example with an added "why", "I want to play acoustic guitar songs to sing along with my friends at the weekend."

The second example is a much clearer image. The value of guitar playing to you is clear, this goal will help you focus and keep your motivation high.

Write down your guitar goal and why it is important to you.

To help you get over the idea that playing music is a frivolous luxury make a list of all the reasons why music and the guitar are valuable in life. Here are a few ideas to get you started...

  • It is a great way to decompress and reduce stress.
  • It helps me pass agreeable time with my friends.
  • It keeps my mind agile.
  • Music is a fundamental human activity that has bonded people for thousands of years.
  • Your reasons here...
Don't fall into the trap of putting off your guitar dreams until tomorrow. Do something about them today, write down why playing guitar is important to you in the comments on this post.

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Anonymous said...

Indeed, you need a motivation in order to keep things going. From my point of view, I have observed that the highest motivation you can get is by being in constant contact to people playing guitar. If you meet other people, participate to shows, read magazines, etc, you get a continuous interest and your guitar playing will evolve.

Gary Fletcher said...

Hi Ovidiu,
Playing with other people is definitely one of the best motivations.

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