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  1. #1

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    ...and this is going for months now.

    Interestingly my motivation to play like a pro, and my wish is pretty much the same, and also the general interest of music remained.

    However when even I thinking about practice or learn a new tune an instant resistance rules my mind, and in the rare cases I start, after a very short time I feel it so hard I can not continue. Must be some psychological thing. I can not explain it with external events, because nothing changed in my life since decades, well except the pandemic, but I do not think that would the main cause. I must workaround this, that is for sure.

    Anyone experienced this in its heavy form, I hope yes :-), because this case he may have found some method to work around this.

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  3. #2

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    Hi Gabor
    Yes I experienced this not long ago. After a couple of weeks of not being able to play at all due to illness, i started practicing again. Was doing well, the usual scales, arpeggios, chord patterns. Was OK for two weeks or so. Then it set in: total resistance to even the idea of grabbing the guitar.
    Loving Mrs JK said stop working and just play. So i did that, sat down, no practicing, just hanging making sounds. Week
    later, all good again.
    Good luck Sir!!!

  4. #3

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    It happens to me too - being disheartened with practice.
    Above all I would second what JK says about attitude - you can't be dead serious about it all the time, you need to find joy in having guitar in hands. Pat Martino said that guitar was his toy - a favorite one, especially during his recovery when he basically was learning to play again.
    That is one needs to balance boring but important activities with pleasant ones still connected with instrument-- it is difficult to say what they would be (I sometimes find myself stuck with a single quarter note making it sound nice or playing with a click something simple at comfortable tempos again and again). If something is too frustrating, do it a little and then move on to something else, rinse and repeat.
    Regarding moving on: sometimes we develop mental knots around things we initially found to be hard. We can keep tension around them even later when we already have enough capacity. I would just let go of them and move to other things.

    The second thing: it seems that it gets easier with time and practice anyway, so gentle effort and persistence pays off eventually (just don't push oneself too hard to the point it hurts).

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabor
    ...and this is going for months now.

    Interestingly my motivation to play like a pro, and my wish is pretty much the same, and also the general interest of music remained.

    Anyone experienced this in its heavy form, I hope yes :-), because this case he may have found some method to work around this.
    1. Is your motivation legit? I mean, is this something yo really want? Some folks like the idea of being a great player better than achieving it. Why is just having fun at just play the guitar, no matter how good you are not enough? Ever since i lost ambition, i enjoy the instrument more.
    All the things i am good at, i enjoy doing. I also enjoy things i am not really good at.

    2. I don't really practice. I play guitar. Learning a new song coulfd be decribed as practicing, but i enjoy that too.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabor
    ...and this is going for months now.

    Interestingly my motivation to play like a pro, and my wish is pretty much the same, and also the general interest of music remained.

    However when even I thinking about practice or learn a new tune an instant resistance rules my mind, and in the rare cases I start, after a very short time I feel it so hard I can not continue. Must be some psychological thing. I can not explain it with external events, because nothing changed in my life since decades, well except the pandemic, but I do not think that would the main cause. I must workaround this, that is for sure.

    Anyone experienced this in its heavy form, I hope yes :-), because this case he may have found some method to work around this.
    Of course it is some psychological thing, which often means it may be difficult to sort out. In psychology, there are some relationships that are observed so often that they become heuristics, One example is that when the issue presented is cruelty to animals, the first thing to look for is depression. The connection is not apparent, but this heuristic guess is almost always confirmed.
    Another example is feelings of guilt when one has done nothing wrong. Heuristics directs one to identify resentment toward some person or situation because the mind seems to abhor feelings of resentment, but can tolerate feelings of guilt; so the feelings of resentment are transposed in feelings of guilt. This connection is also not apparent and one can chase the source of innocent guilt feelings indefinitely without relief until the object of resentment is found.

    You may just have to stumble across the unapparent resolution by trying different things, perhaps something offered in this thread. I might suggest some ideas in a bit...

  7. #6

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    I have had motivational issues as well, so your post struck a chord with me. (pun intended-sorry)

    My way of overcoming this is to make a commitment that requires a certain amount of work gets done in order to fulfill that commitment.

    To be specific, I made a commitment to myself to post 1 video per month on the Practical Standards thread of this site. So far I've kept it up for 9 months, and at the very least I have learned 9 new tunes.
    This keeps me working and motivated knowing that my results will be heard by others.

    Perhaps you could do something similar as a motivational tool? Maybe commit to a performance? Maybe find a jam buddy and schedule tunes to get ready for the next session? I find if someone is going to hear you play, you want to do your best, so it makes you want to practice.

    Good luck!
    Alan

  8. #7

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    I have had motivation issues as well. What has helped me is finding a good teacher, and having both myself to be accountable too, as well as my instructor. I have also established routines for how I use my practice time and stick to it daily. I've found that if I treat my practicing like I would any other endeavor, meaning that it's not a choice I have to make regardless of whether or not I want to play, motivation is secondary. Some days or weeks I don't make the kind of progress I want to make. But I still practice every day because it's the only way for me to improve.

    My advice would be to stop treating it as an optional activity and treat it as an obligation. Make it part of your daily routine. I spend at least an hour before work every day practicing, and having made it just something I do has eliminated the motivation favor and turned it into part of my routine. There's no longer a thought about whether or not I feel like picking up my guitar. I just do it.

  9. #8

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    I've have it of course. I bet everybody has.
    I don't think its a motivational issue at all.
    I'ts absolutely the issue of expectations.
    ---
    I'm drinking wine right now so can't be in any serious discussions. But trust me, your motivation is fine.

    edit:
    When Chuck Norris gives a motivational speech, all the tickets sell out. The audience is treated to 5 minutes of silent staring by Chuck Norris, applauds, and everyone admits it was the best speech ever.

  10. #9

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    Jim Hall said: "I think it's more important to look at paintings than to listen to the way somebody plays bebop lines."

    Bill Evans said: ‘I never practise. But I play Bach: it’s necessary for my technique and for the quality of my playing, and that’s all that I need.’

    Don't underestimate the pandemic. It has changed all of us.


  11. #10

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    Bill saying he didn't practice could be one of the biggest falsehoods in all of music lol. Maybe in 1978 he didn't practice. You don't get to his level of proficiency without locking yourself in the woodshed for a decade or 2.

    I have had multiple burn outs. 1st was when at the beginning, I got discouraged how I couldn't play anything that representative of actual music on my only instrument, bass. 2nd was when I took up piano and got tired of it because I could only play art music like jazz and classical and couldn't rock. So 3rd I took up guitar. By this point I'm getting more experienced at music and it's starting to be more fun cuz I didn't suck. I tried to learn songwriting and recording. Failed at songwriting because I can't sing well, and I'm not in a band so no point in writing simple mediocre parts. At least I learned recording though. Decided I had accomplished what I wanted with guitar and learning music more completely. Was ready to go back and focus on jazz, but was kind of tired of guitar. Decided to go for it and make a mega instrument purchase to see if it would inspire me and I got the mega Hammond rig in my avatar. Luckily, I ended up being pretty pumped on it and that's where I am now. I'm always happy to go and practice on it because I love the tone, and you can get the whole tune going with bass, comp, and lead.

    So I guess my point is I decided it was worth it to change my course at the expense of getting set back a bit in favor of focusing on something which would motivate and inspire me more.

  12. #11

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    On the other hand:
    i don't care too much about motivation. If it is important to you: just do it. I don't allways feel the motivation to go running or biking, but that's not important. I go running or biking anyway.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabor
    ...and this is going for months now.

    Interestingly my motivation to play like a pro, and my wish is pretty much the same, and also the general interest of music remained.

    However when even I thinking about practice or learn a new tune an instant resistance rules my mind, and in the rare cases I start, after a very short time I feel it so hard I can not continue. Must be some psychological thing. I can not explain it with external events, because nothing changed in my life since decades, well except the pandemic, but I do not think that would the main cause. I must workaround this, that is for sure.

    Anyone experienced this in its heavy form, I hope yes :-), because this case he may have found some method to work around this.
    I’m finding it hard to get motivated too. I’m practicing a lot of classical stuff instead. I will never be a pro at that but it gives me pleasure.

    I do basic mechanical drills etc for jazz guitar - scales, voicings, rhythm stuff, running bop heads etc - that requires pretty much no emotional involvement but I’m not feeling inspired to go all in on it atm and learn much new stuff.

    My jazz playing doesn’t seem to be suffering… if anything I feel more creative on gigs. sometimes it’s good to go in a different direction. I also like Jim Hall’s quote about paintings. Art is not a linear ‘put thing A in and get thing B out’ process.

    Sometimes practicing can actually get in the way of your creative process, or at least that’s what I’ve found.

  14. #13
    If it's not fun, you're not going to get any precious endorphins and you can get them so easily from YouTube videos. ...Two hours later you've got to go get groceries, and... you get the idea.
    Practicing doesn't seem real. Listening to good music is real.

    Some things that make it real for me
    - Find someone, anyone at any level, to play with. Too many reasons why, but in short, you'll listen more and you'll be motivated to love hearing yourself improve.
    - Develop deeper listening skills when you put music on. Relate to their own process and learn to hear the things that you're practicing.
    - Listen to music -critically- before you practice. Put your ears and your fingers in line with what you're doing.
    - Break your practice time into focused areas: Finger skills, aural skills, navigating skills, making chord skills, melodic phrase skills, reading skills. And limit the time on any 1 or 2 areas in a session. Put aside the myth of the 6 hour marathon work out after which you emerge a super player. Work on a skill, 15 or 20 minutes and STOP. Relax. Process what you did. And move on. You will make real progress if you can get real awareness from each segment.
    - Keep a journal. Goals. Aspirations. Inspirations. What you've done. What you want to do. Looking back on past goals and realizing that steady sporatic spurts of progress DO happen; that's gold.
    - Know that progress is NOT linear. You may go 3 weeks and not feel any improvement, but one day you're totally at ease with something you thought you'd never be able to do. That's how it works. And you're ready for the next plateau. It feels GREAT!
    - See live music. Not streaming. Not some special on YouTube or a concert on Netflix, but get your ass out and see live music. You'll feel it.
    -Play for fun. Experiment. But don't confuse this with the sacred time of practice. Experiment definitely is an essential part of practice if you're an improvisor, but doing something you can do well and having fun, that's not so productive in the time you have to practice.
    - Challenge yourself. Make a goal, like a tune every 2 weeks after which it goes on a list that's your own set list. When you have 4 tunes, make a mini concert and record yourself. No stops. Just like a concert. Yeah it's a challenge. It's also a reason to practice.
    - When you don't feel like practicing, focus on something different, but relate it to your long term goals. Don't fight your natural ups and downs. Work with them.
    - Practice BEFORE you log onto the forum. This is community. Practice is you being serious with yourself.
    - Acknowledge that different times of the day will give your different results. Imagination is more acute when you're NOT dead exhausted. Finger fluidity needs warming up. Fresh morning time is good for clarity in some people. Find your circadian rhythms and insert your practice into them.

    Just some ideas that have helped me. Of all of these, having played or practiced with other people has given me the most mileage. How about you?
    Good luck.

  15. #14

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    Ok this has a very simple solution:

    1- Find a very good jazz musician (on any instrument) or a high level jazz jam session in your town. If not, hire someone for lessons (again any instrument).
    2- The point is not to take lessons, blah blah ...
    3- In preparation pick two tunes you think you know well. One blues, one bebop standard for example. Shred them.
    4- Go to the lesson (or jam session) ask to play these tunes.
    5- Get your ass handed to you.

    See if you still have problem practicing
    Last edited by Tal_175; 09-01-2021 at 09:07 AM.

  16. #15

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    ^ Checks out lol.

    Another thing I've found, which Christian touched on, is create an easier agenda for your practice session. Things that take less emotional involvement. Some of the time focusing on these smaller things can lead to as much progress as working a larger regimen. Work on 1 or 2 tunes for a while, only work on riffing through 1 scale that you need for the song in different positions, only work on voicings for the tune, or only 1 specific area of the tune, only work on playing the head perfectly in time, only work on embellishing the head well, make up 1 or 2 ideas that you like for the solo, etc. Anything to get you practicing.

  17. #16

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    Feeling reluctant is sort of a decision too. And based on some quick strong imagination.
    This happens to me when I've done some practicing for a few days in a same way. Same routine.
    Then I feel if I'd start over, I'd end up exactly the same place where I am now.. only a bit more "spent".
    Thats the most common in my case. But sometimes it's hard to tell if feeling "spent" or just being lazy

    Anyway. Change the sessions. Do something different. Add stuff that give you the feeling of progress.
    Um, last time this happened I checked my usual list of exercises and felt numb just by thinking of them.
    Then saw one that never came up before and yeah, got excited again. Some rewarding improvement and happy again.
    And it was just an exercise. The difference was it was a fresh start to something.

    Oh, and a cool one. Decided to break my solo practices like 5 min soloing, 5 min reading a book.
    That was a whole free day spent without any exhaustion by the end. And those little bursts got better, so I noticed - that was the cool part.

    Just change things. Often. Change focus, routine, add and toss out exercsises, do different things when learning tunes.. etc.
    So your quick judgment processor wont be able to tell you whats gonna happen before it does.

  18. #17

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    I also struggle with having a strict practice routine. When I do, I still play a lot, just not in a structured way. I may run through scales while watching tv. Or take my time going over new chord voicings, while really watching my finger movements for accuracy while moving from one chord to another. I'll do some ear training games, rhythum games, etc. BUT, when none of these work, I break out my Tele, Pedals, and my Punk/Rock CD's. After an hour or two of ear blasting fun, I'm usually back on track and my neighbors are happy that I play mostly Jazz now

  19. #18

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    I'd say take a break for a few days or a week then watch an interview with your fave player

  20. #19

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    do you play out ?

    if not , get a gig , any gig even busking
    on the street ....

    you will be motivated to practice

  21. #20

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    I didn't play guitar hardly at all for maybe 15 years. That pretty much came about when I was no longer playing in a band.

    Much of that had to do with my new career that had long hours, but more relevant to this thread I had no gigs and or even a band to rehearse with.

    I'm not interested in giging or getting in a band, so, the answer for me regarding motivation is to create something. I've gotten into songwriting and recording my tunes. I've also hooked up with a friend who I played in a band back in the 80s, we collaborate on recording tunes. This has given me a sense of direction, created more depth and variety, and added motivation.

  22. #21

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    I have been there. When I stopped telling myself "I NEED to learn -whatever-", it went away. I used to have lesson plans for myself, scales for a warmup, then learning new chords/inversions, then work on a song, etc... but it never happened that way. I am not a professional musician (and never will be), but yes it is a life goal to play like one, but of course that journey never ends- it's not a goal, or a destination, it is a journey that never ends.

    But when I realized this- and stopped worrying about "did I get any better TODAY", I realized playing for me is really all about JOY. I love to learn the things, and oftentimes THAT gets me out of a rut, but sometimes just playing what I know and "making sounds" brings me great joy, and in the end, this whole musician thing isn't about progress, it is about JOY. Without joy, why bother at all?

    Just relax and play. There's a saying in zen culture: "Let go or be dragged." Another good one is "Relax. Nothing is under control."

    Searching for flow (being "in the zone" or whatever you call it), is the easiest way to NEVER find it.