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  1. #51
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    NJ
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    111
    ^Skip's post is a much different perspective than mine, but it speaks to me about an aspect of quitting.

    I never had the experience of being a full-time pro. I taught briefly when I was college age, did a very occasional paying gig, but mostly just sessions for fun and lots of solo practice. In the last few years I tried to get more experience playing out. I've heard the horror stories about late nights, low or no pay, gigs from hell, trouble keeping a band together, etc. Thankfully that didn't happen to me, but I did learn that yeah, I'd be a better player if I played out more, but I'm glad I don't do it for a living. If I'd lived the dream of being a working pro, I think I probably would have quit playing by now- but at least I would know.

  2. #52
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    5,269
    Quote Originally Posted by Skip Ellis View Post
    I'm thinking very seriously about hanging it up completely. No gigs and no audience to entertain. To me, there's NO point in playing if you have no one to play for and no point in learning new stuff for the same reason. I've been doing this so long and I play well enough (IMHO) that it's easy for me to learn whatever new tune I want to learn if I have a reason to learn it, but I don't so maybe it really is time to give it up. I thought about working on some classical/celtic nylon string stuff but I doubt anyone wants to hear it, and once I learn a tune, I don't want to hear it any more so playing for myself is out and I'm not very social and would rather play solo so I'm pretty much dead in the water. Some folks get great satisfaction just from practicing and the enjoyment of being able to play something but not me - I know I can play anything I want to but it has to be for an audience and the dog died and my wife has been listening to me for 43 years so she doesn't even notice any more so they're out. I just don't think anyone wants to hear solo acoustic guitar any more. Maybe time to examine other pastimes that pay $$$.
    I imagine it's tough to be a long time jazz pro the way gigs and audiences have dried up. I go see incredible musicians in San Diego, some world class, and at times there is hardly anyone there listening. That has to be incredible dissappointing.
    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  3. #53
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Bradenton, FL
    Posts
    1,002
    Quote Originally Posted by fep View Post
    I imagine it's tough to be a long time jazz pro the way gigs and audiences have dried up. I go see incredible musicians in San Diego, some world class, and at times there is hardly anyone there listening. That has to be incredible dissappointing.
    I wish I was even a 'part time' jazz pro that's not happening around here. Neither is country, swing, or anything else - I even tried 'surf'. Around here, if you don't play electric blues or 'tiki' bar music, you don't play....period. I've sold a bunch of pedal steels over the years due to lack of work and there are no open mics that I know of (don't like them anyway). This area is just a black hole for music. One of the only live music venues around here was just bulldozed to make way for an auto repair shop. I really do wish I could enjoy playing for myself.

  4. #54
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    The Wirral Peninsular, NW England
    Posts
    2,819
    Quick story.
    A good friend of mine is a classically trained pipe organist. Watching his feet dancing on bass pedals while he's thrashing out chords and melodies is awe inspiring.

    For years he's been playing recitals, music director, organ trio and soloist for hire.

    One day, at the age of 53 he gave it all up and became a driver for NHS patient care.

    I asked him why he gave up playing out and he said he wanted a proper job, 9-5. He's just tired of chasing the money, tired of travelling 100's of miles for unappreciative audiences.

    Does he play at home? Nope.

    His equipment is packed away and he's happy.
    “When a wise man points at the moon the fool considers the finger.”

  5. #55
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Carolina
    Posts
    662
    I've played for over 50 years, seriously for over 20. I try to vary my practice routines, but practicing often gets boring, and I hit walls when I feel like I'm not improving. When that happens, I just stick with what I enjoy. I like improvisation, but I realized when I recorded, every song sounded like the same old noodling. So, I've found that if I spend a lot of time working out new ideas with old songs, that keeps me occupied and focused, and I really enjoy that. I don't care any more if my ideas sound "jazzy." I'm playing for me, and I play the way I play. Every song offers something new and potential for growth. If I have to work on a song for a month, I'll do it. When I'm done, I'll own it.
    "Songs are very interesting things to do to the air." -Tom Waits

  6. Adding components to practice routines can make them less boring. Boring = idle almost always. For example, opening the mouth and singing along something... anything, will help a ton to stop the boredom.

  7. #57
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    5,269
    What really gets the fire burning for me is songwriting and recording a song I wrote. I actually record and write the song at the same time; come up with a line, record it, come up with a chorus chord progression record it, etc. it all pieces together as I go.

    I believe it's the creative process and ending up with an end product, all that is what I like. That and I end up playing various guitar parts, bass, singing, percusion, keys. That all keeps it interesting.
    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  8. #58
    his would be a great thread: “what gets you excited and motivated.” 2 things for me.

    1. the process of arranging solo guitar, not so much the end result.
    2. after shedding hard for about a month a few certain things, then i go to improvise and “unleash” everything and see a noticeable improvement
    White belt
    My Youtube

  9. #59

    yes, i did it, but recently came back!

    yes! i did give it up for 25+ years to be a mastering engineer, but recently started playing again!
    feels great to play for 2-3 hours everyday, do a handful of iphone videos to post on facebook & youtube.
    don’t know if i’ll ever get my right hand picking speed back, but my callouses returned to my fingers,
    as well as the fluid dexterity which coming along nicely as someone said.
    my advice to anyone it to NOT give it up, as it’s hard to get it back!
    cheers, JT

  10. #60
    I reckon the OP threw in the towel a couple of weeks ago.

  11. #61

    Check This Out! talent

    thing to make peace with are natural talent, and how much of it you got from your genetics, and environment, did you grow up in a musically enhanced situation.

    the person with loads of natural musical talent just picks up an instrument, and very shorty is playing the socks off it.

    those of us with moderate talent have to work harder at it, practicing & memorizing.

    and may ~never~ get to the same level as the natural born genius talent.

    and it’s ~ OK ~ ...not everyone gets to be Wes Montgomery or Albert Einstein in this life.

    examples come to mind: Eric Johnson, Robben Ford, Pat Metheny to name a few have all been natural born genius talents since they were teenagers.

    brings to mind that movie Trading Places with Eddie Murphy and Dan Akroyd.

    SRV might have had a little less natural talent, but he worked harder, and had more desire than anyone, becauase his brother Jimmie was, and still is The Man who has more soul in one note than most do with a hundred. Les Paul said Charlie Christian was the same.

    So accepting your level of natch talent + how much time you’ve got to pratice + how good is your ear + how good is your memory all add up to make the guitarist.

    Django had talent and environment galore....

    Best Regards, JT

  12. #62
    You're a kid and you see/hear somebody playing something ....
    It's like magic or something HUGE to you
    or gets to you , gets in you ....

    You say I want to learn how to do THAT !

    Maybe you get to be able to do that
    (and maybe it's enough ...)

    Maybe you discover other things
    along the way you like too
    So you go off into other things

  13. #63
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Tinton Falls, NJ
    Posts
    231
    As a beginner this read has been equal parts depressing and inspiring.

  14. #64
    whelp. i’m throwing in the towel. it’s been real everyone
    White belt
    My Youtube

  15. #65
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Tinton Falls, NJ
    Posts
    231
    Quote Originally Posted by joe2758 View Post
    whelp. i’m throwing in the towel. it’s been real everyone
    Geesh, what happened? Maybe I shouldn't askk...

  16. #66
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Hudson Valley NY. Grew up East of Cleveland but have liived here for 35 yrs now
    Posts
    73
    I’ve been at the guitar thing a long time. I’ve had successes and flops, did it for a living for two years in my early thirties and still get out there 8-10 times a year. I think one helpful key to music is to not be too rigid about what it means to be a musician. If it’s not bringing you any joy, just stress and frustration let it go and have no regrets. For me it’s too essential. I’ve struggled with a feeling of “what am I doing?” many times but have attempted at this stage of my life to relax and let it take me where it wants to go. I’ve decided to move away from performing in public and focus more on the simple joy I get from working up a tune, singing with the guitar and devoting myself more to trying to inspire that magic in my grandchildren that I felt so long ago the first time I heard someone play a guitar live, right in front of me.



  17. But the funny thing is, we, the musicians, invest many decades

  18. #68
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    East of Eden
    Posts
    5,611
    I used to do masonry work, but I threw in the trowel.

  19. #69
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Hawaii
    Posts
    33
    I've only stopped playing once and it was when I was young and trying to please a girlfriend who was jealous of the attention my guitar got over her.

    But I did consider quitting a few times. Mostly it was because I wasn't having any fun playing or writing whatever I was obsessed with at the time. I found that once I moved to a different genre, it opened up exciting new doors and playing became fun again.

    Being a guy who only played in one band and with zero seriousness, I've never been the type to care about what was popular or would sell. Music's my own and I think that's a big motivator for me. It's never been anything resembling a job.

    My advice is to try shifting to something else you enjoy playing and stop looking at it as a track on which to progress. And if that doesn't work, quit and do something else you love.

  20. #70
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    I used to do masonry work, but I threw in the trowel.
    I was offered work Farlow wages but I threw in the Tal.

  21. #71
    I took the whole summer off and did not pick up a guitar. I just did not feel energized about it.

    Once into fall I became interested in playing and have been back at it.

    Sometimes it is good to take a break. Playing guitar should not be like work unless you are a professional.

    Should you feel obligated to practice everyday? This can burn you out.

    Too often we turn things we do for enjoyment into drudgery.
    "As for me, all I know is that I know nothing." - Socrates
    “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” - Alan Wilson Watts

  22. I found that searching for inspiration and new things is as important as practice itself. The grown-ups ability of working for hours can work backwards sometimes. I mean, when inspired, we improve so much faster anyway and throwing-in-a-towel-thoughts aint really a thing then.

  23. #73
    I used to work in a hotel laundry room. I got sick of throwing in the towels.

  24. #74
    I've considered throwing the towel at someone before :-)

  25. #75
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    North Coast Pennsylvania
    Posts
    3,129
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    I've considered throwing the towel at someone before :-)
    Better a towel than a cymbal. Those things hurt!
    Best regards, k

  26. #76
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Collingswood, New Jersey
    Posts
    77

    Wow: What a timely thread!

    I am continuously amazed at how timely this forum is. It seems to reflect the myriad of things we all go through as musicians, regardless of our ability level. So here's my story and I hope it helps others. I was first introduced to the guitar at age 7. I had two uncles who played and when we did family visits, I immediately went to the room where the guitars - an old Kay Stella and a 17 inch archtop resided. I was hooked from that point on. Within a year or two, I was taking lessons and took to music like the proverbial fish takes to water. I loved to practice and can never recall my parents telling me to "go practice." By the time I was 13, I was teaching beginning guitar and playing in what would become known as a wedding band. My father had to drive me to gigs until I got my drivers license. I continued to study with a variety of teachers for the next decade. When I was 14 or 15, I hooked up with a teacher who led me to jazz. And then I was really hooked. While my musical contemporaries were playing Beatle songs ( I did some of that too,) I was learning Satin Doll and other jazz standards. At 17, I saw Duke Ellington and his band. Its like I saw Jesus. I remember being fascinated with reharmonization and improvisation. Unlike virtually all of my musical friends who played guitar, I could actually play a 13th chord and had a decent understanding of chord substitutions. It didn't both me that I couldn't play most of what my musical friends were playing,but I could do a whole variety of chord substitutions to Girl From Ipanema and Satin Doll I know it sounds weird, but that was me as a teenager.

    But when it was time to apply to college, I had the choice of being a music major or following my other passion, history. I chose the latter and never really regretted it. But the guitar continued to haunt me. I quit several times over the next twenty or thirty years, only to come back to it with the realization that I was a recovering musician. I needed to do music in order to feel alive, to understand that part of myself that at times was not always explainable. So when I hit my 50s, I returned full circle to the world I thought that I had left behind. I practiced like crazy, perhaps trying to make up for lost years. At 60, I realized that I needed to get serious about studying jazz. I was fortunate to find a jazz virtuoso who was also an excellent, but demanding teacher. He focused on my technique, musical theory, etc. He also introduced me to classical music - as a jazz student. So for years, I played and continue to Bach sontas. Chopin, Beethoven and others, written obviously not for the guitar and not played as a classical guitarist would approach each. Frequently it would take me several months to learn each piece. Learning how to do it for the sake of doing it was what made it a challenge and fun.

    Last month, I tuned 70...and I have to say, I get as excited to learn a new piece now as I did when I was 7. Most of what I play, I will never play out. But that's not why I do it. I play because I have to play; it satisfies my soul like nothing else. It fills a need like nothing else. When I go to church, its the music and not the sermon that moves me.

    But having said all this, I get frustrated with my self, my playing, my aging brain and fingers. There is SO much to learn and remember. I define myself as a student of music, trying to master an instrument that even with three life times, I will be unable to do. Like most of us, I am pretty critical of myself as a guitarist. There are days when I sit down to practice and I feel like I don't know or understanding anything about the guitar. I seldom miss a day of practice, but some days, its a real struggle. The Jim Hall quote cited by on of the folks here is dead on right.

    But while I get frustrated and have thought about quitting, I know that I can't really quit again. I tried that several times and have always come back. Getting frustrated makes me want to work harder, for the sake of learning the craft and the satisfaction that music brings to my life. I get frustrated a lot, but not discouraged. When I have a lousy practice day in which I feel like the village idiot, I know that the next day or the day after, something magical will happen to reignite that spark. Maybe it will be a new voicing that I stumble upon, or I finally figure out how Chopin wanted that particular measure to sound, something will happen to encourage me to keep moving forward.

    I don't play out as much as I used to...and I miss that. Playing with others has always helped me improve as a musician and reinforced that bond of music that players across the various musical genres share. So for those of you who are thinking about quitting, ask yourself the question that has been posed here by others: if I quit music, how will it affect my life? Will it make a difference in my day to day journey? We all get frustrated with learning our craft. That's only natural. How we respond to that is different in each one of us.

    I read this forum every day. I seldom post because I really enjoy benefiting from the wisdom and experience of others. So I hope you all will forgive this long post and I truly hope that the ramblings of this septuagenarian guitarist will help and encourage some one who reads it. For in the words of that great musical philosopher - Keith Richards - "I ain't old. I'm evolving." Hopefully, we all are evolving, too.

  27. #77
    I can't say that I am always having a good time playing and practicing. However, I do know if I stop for any length of time, the world starts to look very very dark. It's a place that I really do not want to go to.

  28. #78
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Collingswood, New Jersey
    Posts
    77
    This is great. What do jazz players and nuns have in common? They both take a vow of poverty.

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