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Impatience

 

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Impatience & Frustration

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One of the most common questions I get is based around some kind of imagined timeline that the student is comparing themselves to. "How long will it take me to get good at this?", or "Shouldn't I be better than this after X amount of months?" Let's talk about this topic for a bit!

At the core of this question is impatience, and impatience is our greatest foe when it comes to learning guitar. There are two reasons why impatience is so problematic, and the first one is that it breeds frustration. As we talked about earlier, we make the most progress when we can stay in a motivated and determined headspace. Impatience is toxic to that!

The other reason, is that impatience defeats the whole purpose of what we're doing. There is no getting there when it comes to learning music. That's the whole beauty of it. Most days I feel like I just started learning, and I've heard absolute virtuosos say that they feel like they're just getting started and they don't know anything at all.

All we have is right here and right now, trying to learn whatever skill or technique is next on our agenda! And the reward is the joy we get from all the little victories along the way.

If we were to say this with a cheesy metaphor we'd say that there is no mountain top, but there are lots of pretty views along the way.

Right now you might be thinking "Yeah, that's all well and fine, but I wanna learn to play a certain song or a certain style," or whatever your goal is. And it's great to have a goal, but there's no way to say how long something is supposed to take. All you can do is to cultivate motivation and put in as many hours as you possibly can with your guitar! If you're watching the calendar or the clock you're only breeding impatience. Instead, focus all your attention on doing whatever you're in the middle of the best you possibly can.

I hope some of the ideas in this tutorial will be helpful to you. I've played guitar my whole life and I've experienced lots of highs and lots of extremely frustrating lows. I see it all the time with my students, and I can't stress enough that the only secret to success is cultivating patience and motivation. It's supposed to be fun to practice. Maybe not laugh out loud kind of fun, but it's not supposed to feel like a chore. If it starts to feel that way, maybe you need to reset your motivation by listening to some music that inspires you or setting a goal that feels exciting and motivating, like performing a song for someone in your life. Hopefully you'll hear these words with more gravity than ever before: have fun with it!