Hey, guys! I wanted to write you all a little letter of encouragement since I know it's really easy to get down in the dumps about your guitar playing. The biggest culprit to the discouragement?! COMPARISON!
Not only can it make you immediately doubt something you had loved only minutes ago, but it can also slow down your progress in moving ahead. When I came to Belmont as a freshman, I was coming from a small and very supportive town where I was able to play a lot with my dad and play out because of a lot of his connections. After about a week of being in Nashville amongst the extremely talented music majors, I essentially felt like I wasn't even a real guitar player. Being a female musician didn't help either because of a few stereotypes about girls playing guitar.
After college, I felt like I had missed a lot of opportunities for playing music out of insecurity and being too worried about failing. I still loved playing music though and started playing a ton with my husband and sister just for fun. There finally came a point where I started playing at my church with my husband and all of a sudden was like "I love this, and am I really going to let a fear of what other people would think ruin my love for creating music?" Not so! This was a really big breakthrough for me and helped me to let go of people's (possibly nonexistent) expectations of me. It was time to quit bein' whiney and get out there and have fun playing!
From there, I felt a huge weight lifted off and my motivation to practice came naturally just because I felt like it was fun to learn new things again. If I didn't pick them up right away, I looked at it more as an exciting challenge than an unreachable goal.
If you are in this place, I wanted to give you some tips that helped me get out of my guitar rut.
1. Play music outside of your house
You may think "but who do I play with?" but I promise you, there are other people who feel the same way you do. If there is a Facebook group you could join or anyone you know that plays, just let people know you WANT to play. It's easy to get in your head and think you aren't getting gigs because of something about YOU, but I promise, most of the time you just have to tell people you want to play. Just getting those words out will open up opportunities for that will force you to practice and get you out of your head!
2. Remember that no one can do things exactly the same way as you
People can get weirdly competitive with music and I don't like it one bit. You got your own thang goin' on and even though someone can play faster, knows more fancy jazz chords or can solo through chord changes better than you, you have totally different melodies and energy than they do in a band. Everyone can win when you are all working toward making a song better and taking the focus off of you and your playing and on to how you can communicate with music.
3. Get a cool teacher who will show you new licks
Learning new licks is more fun to me than learning new scales or techniques. You can immediately begin throwing them in, tweak them a little and they give you a boost of confidence! My dad is the king of awesome licks and every time he gives me a lesson when I go back home, I always come feeling more excited to keep playing. I think I may know someone for you who teaches guitar too... (!!!).
I hope these little tips help — the biggest thing I want to communicate though is you are good enough, and you shouldn’t give up playing when you get stuck. We have all been in this boat and it's really normal! If you know anyone who is super talented and needs a little encouragement, share this post with them and let me know any thoughts you have on this!