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Well, sometimes when I play my guitar, I got bored, it just like I'm too tired of playing the guitar (or any instrument, for this question).

Is there any motivation or suggestion or something that could bring my mood back?

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If this mood comes after hours and hours of playing, it might be natural. Music should be fun, if you have to force yourself to play, maybe you're not as interested in playing as you thought. Loving music does not necessarily mean you have to play it yourself... –  Meaningful Username May 26 at 7:32
    
Challenge yourself. I sometimes feel like that too, so I find a particularly challenging piece of music and do my best to learn to play it. Works wonders. –  Kramp May 26 at 8:52
    
Learn or practice a new technique on the same instrument... –  Chochos May 27 at 22:12

9 Answers 9

up vote 29 down vote accepted
  • Get a teacher

  • Try another instrument

  • Try some different styles of music

  • Play with others

  • Make a deadline to perfect a tune

  • Go to an open-mic night

  • Record yourself playing

  • Change the practice regime - 10 mins max

  • Learn something challenging

  • Use the syllabus for an exam - and take it!

  • Don't give up. It may only be a phase

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Brilliant points! I might print these out and put them in my teaching rooms! –  Bob Broadley May 26 at 8:24
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I would add: Listen to professional artists playing the kind of music that you enjoy playing (at a loud volume). Never fails to get me inspired. –  andreasdr May 26 at 19:45
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For me the best point is "Play with others". Sharing music is just so fun, you couldn't get bored when you play with some friends or even with strangers. Music is the only language that everyone can easily understand !! –  grattmandu03 May 27 at 7:47

Sometimes boredom is a disconnection from a sense of purpose. That is to say, maybe whatever it was that you sought in playing an instrument, you are not finding. Maybe you need to figure out what it was you went into music to do, and let that reorient what you're doing musically.

This can be a hard thing to do. A lot of people don't interrogate their own presumptions when they start in music. They aren't usually asked what they want out of music-making (a rant of mine for another day) and they don't think to explore the question. They have ideas and fantasies and hopes, but aren't wholly aware of them. But they're still there, and you can tell by a kind of disappointment one feels when one feels them not met. At first, when one is a beginner, one sets aside one's secret emotional ambitions because one knows one has no hope of fulfilling them until one has learned quite a lot of the mechanics and techniques of music-making. But then, at some point, and it's different for different people, if one's ambitions are not being address, that inner part of oneself sort of looks around and says, "Hey, uh, what are we doing here? When do we get to the good part? How much longer until the emotional payoff?"

Some of the things that commonly motivate musicians are things which aren't... decorous... things to admit aloud (or to one's self). For instance, two of the most venerable motivations for studying an instrument are "to be the center of attention" and "to show off". I think those are great motivations, but our society doesn't like them, so most people don't admit to them. The problem is that merely studying an instrument won't ever get you a satisfactory opportunity to be the center of attention or to show off: for those, you have to perform. If you have those motivations and are a pretty typical (classical, private) music student, you may find that you wind up living a musical life that centers around study, has few or no opportunities to perform, and is weirdly and, unless you realize within yourself your motivations, inexplicably disappointing and dissatisfying.

Similarly, if the reason you went into music was "to express myself", but all you do is play music written by other people, in the style determined by a teacher or a director or anybody other than you, you're going to wind up alienated from playing music. To express yourself, at the very least you're going to have to start developing your own interpretations of what you play, and you probably are going to have to start composing and/or improvising. And if your motivation was "to express myself to others", you're going to have to look into ways to get your original material in front of others, whether that's performing live, recording, publishing scores, or something else.

If your motivation was "to lose myself in an ecstatic rapture", you need to focus on either bringing your technical mastery up to the point you can trip out on the material you're working on, or bring the difficulty of the material you play down to where you can master it to that point. You need to work on fluency. And you need to ask if you're playing the right music. If what you want is to be is the second coming of Scott Joplin, and you're grinding away on Listz, something is wrong in your musical life.

tl;dr: Maybe you need to ask yourself, "Self, what am I trying to accomplish here?" and then figure out how to make your musical life more oriented to whatever that is.

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I like this answer. I also think that one must allow ambitions and goals to change along the way. Maybe I got into music just because I wanted to "show off", but this motivation isn't really there any more. When I'm in the occasional rut, like OP apparently is, I find myself having to "let go" of music altogether. "If playing music feels like boring, stressful work, then maybe I should just stop doing it - at least the way I'm doing it now". This allows me to approach music from a new angle, and re-discover it. –  pjaall May 27 at 8:02

It happens from time to time. The opposite is true too, you are doing something else and feel like playing :P.

You have to make your practice time an habit if you want to improve, and it may need some effort from you at first. Once it is part of your daily routine you won't have this problem.

As suggested by other people you can try new instruments, singing, challenging pieces, learning some music theory or about your instrument, etc.

There are some "games" to improve your playing too. In the case of guitar there is Rocksmith. There is an indie game i have not tried but seems to be pretty decent for basics of several instruments named songs2see.

As anything in life, if you want to improve you will have to make an effort but as someone mentioned already, you don't have to play music yourself to enjoy it.

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Get a looper pedal (if this is an electric guitar). Immediate fun and increasing skill very fast. You'll deal with the root of music : rythm, harmony and creativity.

Perhaps better than a band because when you put some rythm guitar layer in the loop, the looper won't turn bored to play always the same notes. And you can just soloing for hours (I did).

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This is a really fun way to practice. I even use it with a piezo mic on my banjo and ukelele. –  Lyle Aug 26 at 22:50

All very good answers. To which I would add: When you play the guitar, play with the guitar.

You're playing the guitar because you enjoy it, I hope. So when the joy leaves, you should invite it back.

Take drills for instance. I hate drills, so I make each drill into a game.

For example for chord substitutions, I'll set up a melody on a looper and then start harmonizing with different chords on each pass.

Another example is scales. For scales, I'll either play a tune in that scale in all playable positions or I'll arpeggiate the harmonized scale in all playable positions. Or I may lay down a chord progression on the looper and start improvising melodies in the scale I'm learning.

I only get tired of "playing" this way when I get physically tired.

Life is short, take joy in everything.

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Everyone's mind will start to wander after playing for a certain time. Depending on how good you are and how much fun you're having. An easy pit fall is to take a break (which is great!) but then to watch a movie or something. It's a total buzzkill. Take a short break and then get back to it, preferably on something you haven't just been playing for 15 minutes. Here's some other great things I've noticed through the years.

Challenge your self, learning theory actually helps to break out of the box. As soon as I learned (some, there are so many scales) the rules I became excited with bending them and still sounding good. I basically learned the classic and blues scale and then augmented them with notes from other styles and my own trials to create different sounds. So you can play in the pocket blues and then make it sad, sinister or beautiful. It's The Best! Also watch live performances on a screen or even better in person and then play. That always pumps me up. Also exercise before playing. Real impassioned playing is exhausting and intense so it's good to have your blood flowing. That's enough for now so I'll leave a quote from a real legend.

"You don't burn out from going too fast. You burn out from going too slow and getting bored." Cliff Burton of Metallica

Hope that Motivates

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To elaborate on @Tim's 4th point:

Find a band/orchestra/choir or whatever kind of group is suitable to your instrument/style.

After having let music performance lie dormant in my life for many years, I recently joined a local choir. I have found this to be challenging and enjoyable, but definitely never boring. As well as the great fun you'll have during group practice, playing with others can also give you extra motivation during individual practice to "not let the team down".

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Some very good answers posted, so I can't contribute much, but I think that every serious musician has such periods. Practicing, repeating things over and over etc just gets boring - it's only human.

And in spite of all the good suggestions, when I used to play (Gave it up after many years - too many to reveal - but I decided I'd reached an age where I had to put other things first) sometimes I would just have to hunker down - GRIN AND BEAR IT, keeping in mind "No pain, No gain". It's just part of what we call "paying your dues" - a prerequisite for getting somewhere in the music world - something all the greats have gone through.

Somehow, I think the ability to do that goes a long way towards making you a good musician - a pro. When you keep it up even when it's boring, that's when it becomes reflex - and then you'll be able to do that piece or that riff or that part without thinking about it - it will become part of you.

Of course, this only works if you are seriously motivated and are willing to suffer through the boredom. As others have mentioned, you don't have to play guitar if you find yourself getting bored a lot of the time - not everyone has to play, or is cut out to be a serious musician. (Maybe you should try a different instrument? ) Personally, I loved playing (mostly 5 string bass) and played passionately, worked hard for years, jammed a lot, played a good number of gigs too, back in the day. But now that I don't play, I find that my ears have opened up in new ways, because I can relax and just listen, without thinking about playing what I'm hearing, etc.

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All good answers!

I would add...

  • Find a new piece and see how quickly you can learn it at a level where you'd be comfortable playing it in public.
  • Record yourself. Listen to where you'd like to improve.
  • Find an excuse to play in public. Regularly.
  • Find an artist whose style you like and study them, copy them. Become friends with them. Compare notes.
  • See if you can take an existing song and make it your own. Take it as far as you can. (I'm thinking of the transformation from Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" to "Joyful, Joyful" in Sister Act. ...or "Born to be Wild", as sung by the Pentatonix.)
  • Teach someone else.
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