5 December 2008

Playing Guitar Is Useless

Today I want you to celebrate with me. We're going to celebrate the fact that learning and playing the guitar is a useless, unproductive activity. Yes, that's right, I said useless and unproductive. And we should all be celebrating that because, well, useless is in fact useful.

The Importance of Useless

Our bustling modern world is obsessed with value, productivity and profitability. In rich countries people have never before had so much material wealth, so many objects. Yet, many are unhappy and stressed by the constant pressure to be clever, productive and efficient.

Our leisure activities are no exception. They have to be meaningful and important. We should be "winners", always striving for even more achievement. But what about the simple enjoyment of simply doing something for fun? You’re your hobby really have to be about achievement?

No Pain No Gain

Rocky Balboa believed that no pain meant no gain as he pounded the streets on his way to becoming a boxing champion. But does your guitar learning have to feel like you are hammering those hard cold streets every day? Pushing yourself to your limits and beyond?

I bet nearly all of you started to play the guitar because you thought it would be fun. But the fun is often absent in a lot of learning material. It's all about better, faster, more, and fun seems to take a back seat.

It feels like everyone is pushing you to become a world champion guitar player. There's little encouragement for the player who's happy strumming simple arrangements of his favourite songs with just two or three chords.

There's even a lot of this here on Not Playing Guitar. Sure, if you want to learn guitar there are plenty of hints and exercises. But many of you might just want to play a few simple songs for pleasure. So feel free to ignore lots of the advice and just strum for fun.

You don’t have to learn all the tricks of the guitar masters. A few simple chords and some songs you enjoy are all you need to have fun. It’s alright to be way behind on your practice schedule, or even to have no practice schedule at all.

Now I'm sure that some of you avoid practicing sometimes because you feel guilty about stuff you didn't learn, or didn't practice. Or simply because you feel your playing isn't "good enough". There's no need to. Remember, whether you are just beginning or are already a guitar hero, playing guitar is just a frivolous waste of time. So lighten up on yourself, and enjoy.

Celebrate and have fun

Playing guitar is useless. It really is just for fun and that's why it's so great. Let's all celebrate that today. Pick up your guitar, quit feeling bad about all those things you didn't get around to practicing, and simply have fun playing your guitar.

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