Uninspired, no motivation to practice

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by Kzin, Jan 10, 2020.

  1. rawkguitarist

    rawkguitarist Member

    Apr 14, 2004
    Best thing for my playing and motivation in *a long time* was starting lessons with Paul Gilbert on Artistworks. There's not only my personal lessons, there's the literally 8,000+ other videos to learn from. Every day I have about 5 of these lessons open. I also keep track of what I enjoyed in my practice journal. I almost never get bored with *practicing*.

    SO - start taking lessons. Doing it online at your own pace is a great way to do it. You're not limited to local teachers and can often get lessons from your favorite musicians (like me).

    Next -
    If you play rock, learn some country
    If you play country, learn some rock
    If you don't play jazz, learn some
    If you don't play slide... start
    Learn how to play some basic drum grooves on your son's kit. (If you have a son and he has a kit...)

    Start playing outside your trite repertoire. Lately for me its been as simple as learning to play ton's of phrases over major blues and dominant chords. Its taken my live improve to a new level.
    musicman1 likes this.
  2. musicman1

    musicman1 Member

    Dec 20, 2006
    If you can find time maybe an on line real time lesson or two w a teacher that can give you realistic goals to work on even if it involves playing music other than what you normally do. Working from books and videos is frankly boring and uninspiring. And a lot of the materials suck. Same with videos. You dont want to go back to school days but maybe just need some new direction. Many name guitarists offer these lessons. They dont always come cheap but i could see a value in this.
  3. Mickey Shane

    Mickey Shane apolitical Silver Supporting Member

    Nov 24, 2005
    Denton, Texas
    It's (always) all about priorities. If practicing is tenth on your list it's not going to happen.
    8raw likes this.
  4. sertshark

    sertshark Member

    Aug 27, 2018
    Ok, motivation check here buddy (and we all need it once in a while). Loving a thing or a person is all in your mind. Sorry to be so cliche. Sometimes we put too much on playing the guitar by forgetting that even the simplest of things can be very satisfying, even though many of us strive for more than that. Some interests/hobbies in our lives come and go, and maybe playing the guitar is just one of those things. If playing the guitar is really that important to you, something tells me you will find love playing again, but in my humble opinion, it is a choice. Maybe, in a sense, you are looking for the guitar to do something to you and for you, when the reality is maybe you should be thinking the other way around. You give the guitar love, it doesn't give it to you (or that would be kinda weird, no?). Every note you play is an opportunity for you to hear the most beautiful sound in the world, created by you, if you choose to hear it that way, and if you choose to hear it that way you change your attitude about playing. Being in love with it is a choice, and your dedication to it fuels that feeling. You end up feeling the way you are acting. We "choose" to be dedicated to it's craft, which is much, much different than just being "interested". To me, a person who is "interested" in playing the guitar can still get a lot of enjoyment out of it, but it often doesn't last long, or they don't become really good guitar players, which is perfectly acceptable, to some people. People who are exceptional at it, or even other things, might have some type of predisposition or aptitude for it, but they also possess an uncommon drive to work harder than the next person. They have a drive that overcomes the discomfort involved in breaking through physical/mental barriers. While most people make excuses to avoid the discomfort of trying to master something, exceptional attitudes say "Bring it," and that is why some excel beyond others. It is a choice, and being "in love" with a craft is fed by a dedication to it. From muscle builders to marathon runners to competitive cross-fitters to whoever, they will tell you they must set time aside for it. During that time, there is no TV, there is no hanging out with friends, no drinking beer, no surfing the internet, no chasing girls/guys/girlfriends/boyfriends, and no distractions. Even military/LEO/competition shooters, if they are serious about what they do, must set aside practice time, even if it is simply to conduct "dry-fire" drills in their garage, just to practice the precise nature of a proper trigger press, over and over and over and over and over. That is, if they truly want to be exceptional at their craft. Being "interested" is simply not enough for them to break those barriers. Action fuels love. You give to it, rather than it gives to you. Think about all the guitars out there, hidden behind jackets, in the back corner of closets, because people were kind of "interested" at one time. It seemed like a really good idea, but it just ended up being too damned hard. The secret is: enjoy the ride, and see every single note as if it was the most beautiful note you ever played. And strive to be better, constantly. Seek your own voice with it. Dedicate energy to it, like you would dedicate with your wife, girlfriend, child, dog or horse, because no different than those "loves" in your life, what you give is what you get, and you can lose them, if you want. Falling in love is by chance, but staying in love is a choice. People who "kind of want to play the guitar" will pretty much "kind of play the guitar." It's pretty much that simple.
    cycler and spencer096 like this.
  5. rwe333

    rwe333 Member

    Aug 17, 2002
    Canada's Capital
    A little theory goes a long way - the better you know the fretboard and the basic building blocks of music, the better you know how to eliminate "ruts".
  6. Rob G

    Rob G Member

    Sep 9, 2010
    Los Angeles
  7. guitarwrench

    guitarwrench Silver Supporting Member

    Aug 23, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    Some ideas:
    Not knowing other factors, it almost sounds like you have too much on your plate. Scale back a bit.
    Leave your guitars out and everywhere.
    Start playing a new instrument: mandolin, banjo, harmonica, bass, piano
    Listen to old songs you used to listen to as a kid and actually start learning them. Definitely pick songs outside of your current band genre.
    If these don't spark more interest, someone mentioned seeing someone as you may be depressed.
    Good luck and Happy 2020!
    monty likes this.
  8. guitartony

    guitartony Member

    Jun 25, 2019
    Here's a few tips that might work.

    1. Listen to different types of music on the go. Spotify have a discover playlist that they tailor for you and there could be some inspiration in some new songs they send your way.
    2. Try learning different styles of music to push you out of your comfort zone
    3. Watch old rock and roll documentaries - This might sound silly but I love the stories how musicians get started started in bands, how they got inspired to write certain songs etc. This could motivate and inspire you.

    Just a few ideas. Good Luck.
    monty likes this.
  9. jackson

    jackson Member

    Oct 2, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA
    Quit one of your bands. That will give you more time for your other activities.
  10. JPR101

    JPR101 Member

    Jan 31, 2018
    Denver, CO
    I've hit the wall a few times in my playing/practicing and I typically follow the advice I heard George Lynch give in an interview a few years ago. Basically, if you aren't feeling it, it's ok to walk away from the instrument for awhile (days, weeks, even months..) and find something else that gets your juices flowing (you have to figure out that part..). Having defined goals also helps.
    The Captain likes this.
  11. woof*

    woof* Member

    Dec 4, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Take lessons with a real person. Forget internet video.
    With a real teacher one on one.. you can’t be lazy
  12. The Captain

    The Captain Member

    Dec 5, 2007
    Nope, you can’t stay on top of everything all the time.
    Things ebb and flow.
    Your music is ebbing while your martial arts flows.
    That’s ok, go with the flow for now.
  13. John Quinn

    John Quinn Member

    Nov 9, 2019
    It sure reads to me like you are burnt out on music. I think it happens to most of us or at least it's happened to me. I just took a break. The break lasted about 9 months or so - and when I came back to music it was nearly like being a kid again. I no longer worry about it nor pressure myself nor feel guilty about not servicing the 'thing'. That's my advice and you of course may
    feel differently about stuff.
    The Captain and JPR101 like this.
  14. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

    Dec 29, 2009
    Compose solos? We improvise solos.
  15. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

    Sep 20, 2005
    under the stars
    For me it can be an answer to “work through it” kind of force myself to do just even a minimum when I’ve got the doldrums. Also if we have a band practice, often even when I’m not in the mood, I quickly do get in the mood when we start rehearsing.

    I’ve been struggling this last year with severe fatigue which has hindered me in doing many things that I actually do want to do.

    But other times it also has worked out nicely to take a good break, just don’t practice, play, or even listen much to music for a while. Often when I do this, and then pick up a guitar, I get new directions, enjoy simpler things a chord ringing out, a new or old phrase...I hear it better after a rest and enjoy it more.

    notice too that when I am a demon at practice, really playing a lot, I can tend to dismiss the simpler, so I have to guard against that.
  16. 8raw

    8raw Member

    Jan 10, 2013
    upstate ny
    I've always thought as long as you are playing you are practicing. If you play a 6 string electric in the bands, try off ramping to acoustic slide, or finger picking on a nylon string. I was stuck for awhile, finger picking really opened things up. You might also bring some new things back to the electric. Having guitars for a variety of genres and styles helps quite a bit.
  17. themannamedbones

    themannamedbones Member

    Oct 27, 2013
    Find a few students and start teaching. I don’t know what it is but teaching even just one student a day puts a fire in my learning and playing.
  18. Coiled

    Coiled Member

    Sep 27, 2019

    Good tip here. I started finger picking on my acoustics and electrics and it’s amazing what extra fingers can do. I wish I had started finger picking years ago. I’m using truefire lessons.
    ant_riv likes this.
  19. buddaman71

    buddaman71 Student of Life Silver Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2008
    OKC, OK
    After 36 years playing and gigging and recording, when I get tired of playing, I just stop for awhile unt I feel the desire return. If I ever get to the point it doesn’t return, I’ll sell my guitars and do sinething else that brings happiness and satisfaction.

    Honestly, over the years, many of the best live shows I’ve played were after periods of rest, or last second fill in shows where I just play intuitively for the love of playing.

    I just don’t like to try and force myself to want to play.
    Shiny_Beast likes this.
  20. Shiny_Beast

    Shiny_Beast Member

    Apr 27, 2009
    Ottawa Canada
    This probably won't help. I hardly practice at all.

    I hate practicing and hate band rehearsals. I go through phases where I play a lot, or don't play much at all. Usually if I'm playing it's because I want to learn a song or check out new gear.

    When I do "practice", I like to be moving forward on something, not just playing some mundane passage over and over to keep my chops up. Honestly I don't feel like I lose a whole lot when I don't play, in most ways I actually get better if the break isn't too long, which it never is; maybe it helps that I'm not that great a player in the first place :).

    I guess my point is maybe practice should have a purpose other than burning you out. I say pick a new song to learn.
    buddaman71 likes this.

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