Six Tools To Rekindle The Love

Probably the most common way people try to reignite their passion for playing is buying a new guitar, amp or effect box! I’ve been guilty of it too, probably there’s not a guitar player alive that hasn’t. Unfortunately, the passion is usually short-lived and we end up searching for the next guitar toy before we’ve even put the last one to good use.

So what can we do when we start to fall out of love with playing guitar? 

I suspect the most common reason that people fall out of love with playing is frustration and feeling like little progress is being made. You can only play that favourite riff so many times before it gets boring and it can be very hard to find your way out of the rut without the right tools. But luckily the right tools for this job are free and easy! 

Tool 1. Change things up!
A change is as good as a holiday, and this is usually my own preferred tool for maintaining my interest in guitar. If I start to feel like things are getting stale, I completely change what I’m working on. If I’ve been working a lot on blues (either for work or fun), then I’ll start digging into some jazz, or acoustic fingerpicking, or explore effects or try some new theory idea or try playing left landed… whatever it takes to fire up the passion again.

Tool 2. Refine your Goals
Long term goals should be fluid and flexible, and often if you find yourself in a rut, it’s worth checking in with your long term goal and see if it’s moved, changed or if you can try a different path to get there. I think having goals is a really great way of maintaining motivation, and if you’ve not seen the Effective Practice series on my web site, you might want to check that out.

I’ve found myself a couple of sometimes falling out of love with music, not just guitar and that’s pretty scary for a professional! I have heard many students over the years say that they find themselves struggling to connect, but again there’s a great and effective tool available!

Tool 3. Expand Your Listening Palette
Does it seem a bit obvious? Well maybe but it’s something very few people actually do, and with the advent of streaming services like Spotify and YouTube it’s never been easier or less expensive to explore new music - though finding a good curator can be tricky. Starting with an all-time favourite on YouTube and then checking the suggested videos can be a good place to start. I like the suggested playlists in Spotify too, or you can find me on Spotify and find some of my ‘favourite guitar music’ playlists!

Tool 4. Dig Deeper
If you really don’t fancy going too far away from styles of music you like, you can try and dig deeper into the music you do like. Try and dig deeper into your favourite artists. I suggest picking your all-time favourite and finding a complete discography and listening to the stuff you are not so familiar with. If you’ve already gone there, you might read a biography or find interviews and discover out who they like and try that. I found this route a really great tool for finding incredible new music that I would never have found otherwise.

I’ve often had students say that they just have not found time to play any more, work gets in the way or ‘life takes over’, but I think in truth that is rarely the case. It is much more likely that motivation is down – there’s always that 15 minutes you wasted watching rubbish tv when you could have been playing… and there’s a tool for this scenario too!

Tool 5. The Forced Five Minutes
Finding 30 minutes a day to practice can be tricky for many people but finding just 5 minutes to play should be achievable for the vast majority of guitarists and when I’ve used this tool myself the 5 minutes have flown by, and I often find that I play a lot longer because I’m enjoying it! There should be nothing set, the aim is just ‘to play’, and I mean play and as in ‘play around and have fun’ – the real meaning of play! I found this to be a great rut buster!

Tool 6. Take Some Time Out
It’s also fine to have time off – without guilt! I’ve often found that taking even as much as a month off seems to have helped things fall into place when I came back – however, do expect to need some time to get the muscles working again! 

Well, I hope these tools can be useful if you find yourself falling out of love or struggling to make time for our six-string friend. I think it’s quite normal to have times when you’re not practising as much, but it can be helpful to recognise it and have some tools to help you get back in the saddle when you want to. Safe travels my friends.

Food For Thought