Are You Where You Want to Be?
I was getting frustrated lately with my progress, or I should say lack of progress. It just seems like I practice a lot but don't get the return in the way of improvement I'd like to see.
I do have to say that I'm playing a lot better than I was 6 months ago, but I feel like I've kind of hit a plateau in my guitar playing skills. Thought I'd be in a better place considering all the effort I'm putting in.
Do you all ever feel the same way? Got any tips as far as moving forward, and how you handled it?
Me too! I play all the time. I think I have too many irons in the fire. I do scales about 45-60 minutes. I do string skipping, arpeggios, strumming etc... for about an hour. I do CGO, Ultimate Guitar, Yousician, plus a few more. I’m not trying to perform or sing. I’ve improved and getting theory base down. I’ve self taught myself all my life. I know I’m old and batty and my recall isn’t what it used to be. I’m stuck on the Great Plains.
Try playing with others it will push you out of your zone and you will learn some too
Good 💡 idea!
We've been looking for others to jam with for awhile now. The whole virus thing isn't helping matters any though.
I've experienced the same Susan. What saved me (for the moment !) was to oblige me to play whole songs and not only to repeat endlessly licks and technical exercices.
I also avoid to spend to much time on youtube because I become easily jalous and discouraged when I see such gifted players around there 😆 😊
When Im tired of working on a specifif kind of music, I switch. These days, Im playing country, fingerstyle blues (which I find very very very hard and discouraging) and gypsy jazz (whose special rythm, "La Pompe", I love so much). Thus, I can be proud of a little thing I did before falling asleep.
Either way, I try to have fun and don't push myself too hard. I don't want to be famous and I know it's to late to become a youtube-virtuoso as we see so many. I just want to please my family and entertain my kids with cool songs 😉
I can relate for sure. And, because I’m so OCD about whatever activity I’ve decided to “be good at...” I read incessantly about approach, technique, experience.
From what I’ve read, hitting various plateaus is the norm for sure. While I do scales and exercises a bit, for me it’s really about developing a catalogue that I’m comfortable performing. When I started, these were simple chord progressions and fairly simple strumming. But they had to be songs that I truly liked. That gave me the motivation for sure. But, whether or not I’m a decent singer, I always sing. I find that skill while playing is very important. I think it’s helped when I’m in ensemble play even if I’m just accompanying. Or, in Bluegrass, because of the chordal nature of the guitar, I’m much more able to sing harmony than I ever was before.
Through CGO it feels like that portfolio is becoming much more varied with the flat picking, much more interesting strumming, bass walks, a few fills, etc. But songs that I’m “working” I start slow and steady and literally play them many times each day - for weeks! For example, RockyMtnHigh is now in my portfolio. It took me a week to even kinda sorta play the repeating verse rif that JohnDenver uses. Then another week before I had a chance to add vocals. Literally I was working on that one song for probably 3 hours each day - for weeks!
Each intense skill lesson like that one then helps me build a base to where some of the flat picking and cross picking is coming easier. I think it was the time spent learning my state song!
Lately it’s been WhiteFreightlinerBlues. I’m totally enamored with MollyTuttle so I’ve watched her instruction video on that like 30 times and use Devin’s lesson to build the base of it. Ok, I’m not playing it at Molly’s tempo or improvising the fills but it’s getting there. Copying a fill or two from Ultimate Guitar Tab to have a full song performance that eventually will sound good. But tons of repetition until it’s memorized and that I’d be willing to play for people.
It’s hard work for sure but it feels so gratifying to me. The key to me is getting to that “gratified “ level. Whether or not I’ll ever perform them for anyone other than my dog, I guess I don’t care as much.
Anyway, you’re already so far past the 90% level of most that try to learn the guitar. So you’ve already succeeded!
Take the Journey...
@k2kwiatgmail-com Thanks so much for this reply, it actually made me feel better about where I'm at! I do have to practice the same song over and over and over again, but I do eventually get it. Maybe not perfectly but pretty good for me. And you're right about CGO - it has helped me add variety to my playing, too.
I thought plateaus would be normal, but it is frustrating all the same. Not giving up though.
After re-reading my verbose answer above, my apologies.
Yes, definitely feel the fits and spurts.
But, I’m betting that all of us are making so much more progress than most. And, given what you’ve posted before Susan, I have no doubt you’re especially progressing!
(But we all can learn from JerseyChic’s discipline).
I have no discipline what so ever!! I’m trying to learn every lick I run across, watch 1000 videos, belong to 100 groups plus!! Lol!!
@jerseychicadee What other groups do you belong to, if you don't mind me asking?
I joined Active Melody because I liked Brian's lessons on YouTube but the music is a bit of a stretch for me, even more so than CGO. Also joined Ultimate Guitar for the tabs. They have a ton of music on there and you can transpose with the click of a mouse if the chords aren't to your liking. That site has so much on it that I haven't even used yet but I've printed a lot of music out from it. It's well worth the subscription price. So is CGO and Active Melody, really.