It’s the easiest thing to start something. Every new beginning starts with hope and is full of possibility. But after some time, the interest starts to diminish, practice feels like a chore, the overall energy goes down.
Guitar players also fall victim to this. Everyone starts learning guitar with vigorous enthusiasm but gradually starts to lose interest. Some players outright quit, some put off playing for a while, then promptly forgets. Learning how to play the guitar isn’t easy but sticking to it is harder than that.
So, how to stick to learning guitar when you’re a beginner player but on the verge of quitting?
Well, the trick is to find the reasons that are causing you to lose interest. And then search for the solutions so you don’t lose the spark and love for your guitar.
5 Common Causes to Quit Playing Guitar
Reason 1: Time Management/Lack of Time
I don’t have time to practice…
If you feel you’re stuck with your guitar and not happy with your progress, you need to ask yourself – are you practicing enough?
And a major reason for not practicing tends to be a lack of time. That is most players don’t find the time to practice playing on their time. But if you’re willing to learn guitar, you have to make time!
You don’t need to practice for hours a day, just focusing 20 minutes on playing daily can work wonders. Of course, not everyone needs the same amount of time for practice.
Some players need to practice for days, while some catch up in mere hours. You need to set the pace yourself and decide how long do you need for practice.
Set aside an allotted time and stick to your schedule. And don’t get distracted by the outside world, focus on your guitar instead.
Reason 2: Boredom/Lost Interest
I’m sick of playing the same thing again and again…
When practicing feels like a chore and you dread playing the guitar, there is definitely something wrong here! Playing music is supposed to be fun and you should enjoy the experience, not hate it!
As a beginner, playing the same chord and learning scales can be dreadfully boring. But a good instructor should know how to make practice engaging despite your skill level.
Practicing the same song can become repetitive fast and put you out of playing it. So, stop playing the music you find boring and play something you have wanted to try. Even if the song is out of your skill level, there’s no harm in trying to master it.
Also, sometimes certain songs are too difficult to learn and you don’t feel like going back to them. In that case, take a break to learn something short and easy. Then go back to learning the difficult song with a fresh mindset.
Reason 3: Self Doubt
I’m not good enough…
One of the most common reasons that people drop the guitar for good is the lack of skill as a beginner. Thinking there are not good enough even after practicing and playing for months. This comes from a combination of self-doubt and classic learning frustration.
But beginners are supposed to lack skills! Nobody is born a musician. If you have a genuine desire to learn, you have to hone in on your practice. Although, natural ability and the amount of time you have played certainly plays a huge part, that’s a conversation for another time.
Don’t beat yourself up thinking you’re not good enough. Try recording yourself to hear how much you have improved. You’ll be able to compare your progress yourself. You’ll notice how much you sound and feel better each time you play your guitar.
Reason 4: Mismatched Expectations
I didn’t expect…
Learning and practicing should be fun but sometimes expectations don’t match the reality.
Beginner players try their best to learn to play guitar but get frustrated by how much time and how long it takes to learn even a small piece of music.
As mentioned earlier, you can’t expect to become a rock god overnight. You need to be patient and persistent. And you have to put in the time and effort to reach your goal.
You should adjust your expectations. Not saying to lower it, because you shouldn’t settle for anything less than stellar. Just keep short-term goals and try to achieve them. One by one keep accomplishing your targets and set out to reach your long-term goal.
Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint.
Reason 5: Comparison with Others
I’ll never play like them…
Be it the musician you idolize or someone you know in real life; you have probably seen them play and think wish I could play like them. It’s normal to get inspired by other players. However, don’t compare yourself with others and think you’ll never reach their level.
Comparing yourself with others will put unnecessary pressure on your shoulders.
Don’t sell yourself short. Guitar learning is a gradual process. Moreover, everyone learns at different rates and it’s completely fine to go at your own pace.
Remember, the legends of today have been rookies too. And they didn’t stop learning, rather they’re learning still. Instead of looking at others, focus on yourself and keep rocking on.
10 Tips on How to Stick to Learning Guitar
Keep Practicing Daily
If you’re learning to play guitar, you need to keep practicing daily. If you want to improve your technique and progress your learning, there’s no shortcut to it.
However, it’s better to maintain a consistent practice schedule. Rather than picking up your guitar whenever you have time or you feel like it, set a specific time for practice throughout the week. That way you’ll be mentally prepared and looking forward to it.
So, mark your calendar and stick to it.
Set Short-Term Goals
Setting targets helps motivate individuals to finish and result in a sense of achievement. Short-term goals normally take less time and you’d feel accomplished sooner and more often. You’ll be more motivated when you have short, clear, attainable goals.
You should also try to make your practice effective. Focus on what you need to practice vs. want to practice. It’s ok to practice something fun now and then, but prioritize learning the basics first.
If you feel pressured with a time limit, there’s no need to rush. Set your targets and keep reaching them at your own pace.
Reward Yourself After Achieving Goals
After setting those short-term goals, it’s equally important to define incentives for reaching those goals. Even though it’s yourself you’re setting up the goals for, the stick and carrot approach will be great for motivation. You’ll be motivated to continuously learn and advance towards your goals.
The goals don’t have to be grand or outlandish to produce results. They can be small or something personal part of your daily routine. For example, you can go see your favorite band perform, or go to a restaurant for live music. You can even get new gear for yourself or take a day off from practice.
Remind Yourself of The Benefits
Playing guitar can expand your perception of music and you’ll be able to understand music theory concepts better. Moreover, it improves patience, mental discipline and provides escapism from the mundane routine. Sticking with playing guitar also has physical advantages like finger flexibility, coordination, ambidexterity, etc.
Thinking about the benefits will give you a huge source of motivation to succeed and keep persisting. Make a list of how playing guitar will benefit your life and keep reminding yourself constantly of them.
Connect with Other Musicians
Practicing by yourself at home for hours can be a lonely experience. Sharing your own learning experience with others can actually improve your playing in many ways. If you have someone more experienced than you, they can help you correct mistakes and show you the right one. You can learn new techniques simply by watching them play.
Not just pro musicians, having jamming sessions with other beginners like you can be fun too. You can have a friendly competition, help each other when struggling with exercise, or vent your pent-up frustrations to a fellow struggler. You can even join online communities to jam and be virtually connected.
Challenge Yourself Musically
Sometimes we get bored when we don’t think outside the box and don’t spice things up. Maybe you want to try new things but are afraid of being bad at them. Or you want to be better at things but you can’t bring yourself to practice them. So, you keep playing familiar songs again and again that you’re already pretty good at.
That’s why you need to challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone. It doesn’t mean you have to force yourself to learn something you don’t like musically. Rather you should try to find something you have never played or heard before. It’ll help to broaden your musical tastes and open you up to a lot more experiences.
Keep Your Guitar in Sight
Surely you have heard of the proverb “out of sight, out of mind”. This is more apt for romantic interest, but your guitar shouldn’t be less worthy of affection! These lines perfectly capture the sentiment. Because having your guitar in sight will provide a vast factor in motivation. You’ll be constantly reminded of your need for playing.
Set Long-Term Goals
Setting short-term goals is integral in establishing your fundamental learning. However, you have to think beyond your short-term goals and focus on what you want to achieve in the long run. As you keep practicing and progressing your learning, you should ponder what to reach next. When you understand your long-term goals, it’ll be easier to develop an appropriate practice routine to reach your vision.
Take Rest from Practicing
Just grinding out chords and riffs on and on eventually reaches a point where it’s no longer effective anymore. Practicing relentlessly without proper rest can lead to burnout. And burnout is dangerous as it can encourage you to leave guitar forever. This is a scenario anyone would want.
That’s why it’s important to take a rest from playing guitar now and then. If you are feeling the early stages of burnout, you should take a short break and return to your guitar later. It’ll give you time to clear your head and enjoy other things in life.
Taking a rest or a break doesn’t make you a quitter. After taking time off for doing other things, you’ll come back to your guitar refreshed and ready to rock instead.
Go Back to The Roots
Even after trying all the methods to get out of the funk, you’re feeling discouraged or dissuaded. What to do then?
Go back to the root of all and think back to why you wanted to learn to play guitar in the first place. What was your incentive and what motivated you to pick up your guitar and start playing? What do you love about your instrument, your music when you’re playing? Think how fun it was to start learning your first chords. How wonderful it was when you were able to strum your first song. The feel of the polished wood, the grainy texture of the strings, everything will take you back to the time you felt alive about playing.
So, think back about all your reasons and stick to learning again to keep going.
Learning guitar can be hard, no question, but it’s also one of the most rewarding experiences. Sometimes it gets hard to continue going forward, but there’s so much more to it. You don’t have to be rocking stadiums to feel that sense of accomplishment. Just mastering your first chord can bring you an immense level of unbridled joy!
Don’t forget, it’s never late to learn to play guitar. If you’ve put your guitar down, remember how to stick to learning guitar, and give it another go.