by Matthew Chanway
With the popularity of online guitar content these days, it's common for people learning to play guitar to watch videos on YouTube in awe, part of them enjoying the content they're watching, and part of them feeling as if they are never going to reach their goal of playing guitar the way. Achieving small victories during the beginning stages are a great way to keep the momentum going and motivation high. However, many students, for varying reasons, feel the need at some point to “take a break” from studying guitar. In this article, I will highly several reasons why this is not a good idea, if you care about reaching your goals.
Reason 1: Your Motivation Will Decrease
Our motivation to play music and better our musical skills, is like a burning flame. It's a flame that needs to continuously be kindled, and this is best done from a variety of sources. Listening to new artists, seeking out expert guidance, and collaborating with other musicians are some of the best ways to keep motivation high. However, when we “take a break” from one of these things or worse, take a break from guitar all together, a funny thing happens. We lose touch with the small victories we have been achieving each week (if we have been learning correctly in the first place). Without constant positive affirmation in the form of progress and sounding better each day, your motivation to play music will dwindle, that two-week break will turn into a month, and into two months, and so on and so forth.
Reason 2: You Will Be Frustrated When You Start Playing Again
Although it's normal for our motivation levels to fluctuate, one thing is certain, if you have stuck with the guitar for any substantial length of time, you have a passion for music, and something about this instrument resonates deeply with you. Guitar is an instrument that is notoriously difficult in the early stages, and the fact you've stuck it out this far is probably no coincidence. It's inevitable that at some time down the line (even if your “break” ends up being several years), you will get inspired again and pick it up. However, that time away from the instrument will have caused your playing to regress substantially, and getting back to sounding like you did before taking a break (which let's face it, probably wasn't perfect) will be a task. It will be frustrating – no different than a fit person deciding they need a “break” from their healthy lifestyle, gaining pounds of fat, and then trying to jump right back into their old fitness routine.
Reason 3: You Will Not Reach Your Full Potential As A Musician
Regardless of your reasons for thinking you need a break on guitar, at least a part of you still wants to sound like that awesome guitar player you dreamt of being when you picked it up. We have a finite amount of time in our lives to dedicate to becoming who we want to be, and any length of time “taking a break” is time away from reaching that goal. When you consider that time away from studying guitaractually makes your playing go backwards (it does NOT just stay the same until you are ready to start playing again), think carefully of your choice and if it could mean sacrificing the achievement of your musical dreams.
So, if you're still feeling like you just need a break from guitar lessons, or just guitar in general, think long and hard of what reasons you may feel you need this break. Are they personal, financial, or do you just feel overwhelmed with information? The way to reach your goal on guitar is steady, consistentaction – even a little bit every day is much better than taking extended time off. Consider talking to a qualified guitar teacher near you and explaining how you feel. With the right mindset, odds are you can overcome your challenges and stay on the path to being a great guitar player.
About The Author: Matthew Chanway is a professional guitarist and teaches guitar lessons in Surrey, British Columbia.
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