There are things that every guitar player goes through in his playing career. As within any of the arts, the road to musical proficiency is as littered with triumph as it is with self doubt. Between great gigs and productive lessons, there are plateaus where guitar players feel like they've stopped growing or even gotten worse. Here's some assurance and motivation to help you get through the things that every guitarist goes through.
Playing Every Day Doesn't Mean You'll Play Well Every Day
Writer's block exists for musicians too! Some days you feel like the music you want to create floats out of your fingers; other's you'll question whether you've gone tone deaf. There are times when it seems that the guitar creates for you, and other times that everything about the instrument seems foreign. I've experienced each of these twice in the same week before. The only way out of this conundrum is to pour yourself into learning even more. Putting more into practicing, preparing for your guitar lessons, band practices, and jam nights helps you experience these less frequently.
Improvement is REALLY Inconsistent, For Everyone
Plateaus Can Feel Eternal
As I just said, intermediate players really get the short end of the stick in terms of plateaus. The longest one I can remember lasted nearly a year, and what I came to realize nearing its end is that I had been improving consistently the whole time. Over the course of that year, it wasn't rapid leaps in my playing ability that made me better, it was slow, steady practice. Focus on technique, focus on new things, and learn some basic theory during this period. Keep your head up. You aren't doing nearly as little as you think you are.
Talent Isn't Real
Here's a trade secret for you, there is no such thing as talent. My students who do well are the ones that put the most into their guitar lessons. I have students who immediately fall madly in love with the instrument, and ten times out of ten they're the ones that improve the most quickly. It's not because they have naturally good rhythm, long fingers, or musical ideas from the heavens. It's because they love what they're doing and it compels them to play a lot. It's your motivation and your love for playing guitar that'll push you forward. If you're playing every day, you're getting better, whether you believe it or not.
That's a promise.
Brandon Giltz is a Bassist, Guitarist, Flutist, Composer, and music teacher operating in New Orleans. He works with students of all ages, plays in a number of classical and contemporary ensembles, and has scored music for trailers and games.