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This is a problem that I have been facing for a long time. I get bored playing the same songs or styles on the guitar very easily. As a result there are times I dont practice at all. That affects my guitar playing negatively.

It would be great if you people share your views on how to NOT get bored and how to take guitar playing/practice forward.

Looking forward to your suggestions and comments.

Thanks, Shounak

  • I answered a similar question a couple of years ago, but can't locate it. Help! – Tim Oct 14 '16 at 11:21
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    I've never had this problem, which is why I'm a guitarist and not a cellist or pianist or clarinetist, etc. Perhaps don't play the same style all the time and learn new things always. Or switch instruments. – Todd Wilcox Oct 14 '16 at 11:37
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    I dont get your point..Why are you a guitarist and not a cellist or whatever? How does that relate to the point here? Any musician can get bored man.... – Shounak Chakraborty Oct 14 '16 at 11:46
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    Check 'Bored when playing instrument'. – Tim Oct 14 '16 at 11:46
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    If I got bored while playing guitar, I wouldn't keep playing guitar, and I wouldn't be a guitarist. I guess for me the causality is reversed. I became a guitarist because I never got bored with it. I didn't decide I was a guitarist and then run into the boredom. – Todd Wilcox Oct 14 '16 at 12:28
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Practice should include more than some pieces. You should be working on scales, chord sequences, picking speed, and so on. Further, study music outside your genre, both to learn new skills and sequences and to widen your musical horizons.

If you'll pardon a bit of bluntness: if you get bored with practising, you may not like music as much as you think you do. The amateur and semipro musicians I know (including myself) practice like mad and at the very least enjoy it as part of "the eye on the prize."

  • Thanks Carl, I do practice scales and stuff and right now i am concentrating on learning a bit of Jazz improvisation. Now lets talk about not liking the style of music... Maybe thats the case..I grew up listning to rock music and tried to play that..now as i said a little bit of jazz.. – Shounak Chakraborty Oct 14 '16 at 11:44
  • How do you think people just switch styles? – Shounak Chakraborty Oct 14 '16 at 11:44
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    I think your bluntness is a little misplaced. Real, dedicated practice is hard work, that's how you get good at anything. Playing the same scale or tricky phrase over and over and over until it's ingrained in your muscles is not something most people enjoy, but they enjoy the rewards. Many pro sportspeople do not enjoy all the training, that's the job... then the competition is the fun part. By comparison you can view performing your music (to yourself or an audience) as the reward that makes all the practice worthwhile. Of course some people DO love the practice but you don't need to. – Mr. Boy Oct 14 '16 at 17:41
  • Okay, but you can achieve that by interleaving pieces—ergo, with less boredom. I got to learn to play chords by playing them a lot in songs. Except for would-be professionals, that's a perfectly fine approach. – Mihai Danila Oct 16 '16 at 3:19
  • @Mr.Boy Your comment here - as well as your answer are spot on in my opinion. – Rockin Cowboy Oct 16 '16 at 18:26
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This is a fairly common complaint, not necessarily related to music practice. Humans need motivation.

For music, this can be from the pleasure of playing, completing a new tricky piece, learning challenging chops, playing to a crowd, earning money, you name it.

You need to work out what your motivator is - what gives you the rush? How can you get that when needed? Not all the time, as the effect fades, but when you are flagging, what drives you?

There are quite a few questions on this topic on Productivity Stack Exchange.

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Easy, smoke weed! No, seriously! That is what did it for me. Weed makes things much more interesting because you don't play mind games with what you are wanting to do.

The problem is that you don't find guitar interesting enough to practice, not that it isn't interesting. Things are as interesting as you make them.

"Boring" is just a word that has no meaning. What does it exactly mean? If you think about it, the reasons you don't practice is not because it is "boring" but because of a whole host of reasons.

e.g.,

  1. You play the say material repeatedly and don't find the material interesting any more. (which you can then list the reasons why you don't find it interesting)

  2. It is technically difficult to practice and you can't seem to get passed those issues with practice.

  3. You have no reason to learn the material.

  4. etc..

  5. You don't have the time to practice.

So, in your mind, there are many issues you have with practicing and these issues are what keeps you from actually practicing or enjoying it. When you smoke weed, you will find that you are able to simply let all that stuff go and be part of the music or practice process. You realize that everything works together to be what it is. e.g., Practice is required to play better. So if you want to be a guitar player, you must practice... and then practicing becomes a thing in and of itself that you simply do... like breathing. There is no more fighting it just like you don't fight to breath.

So, while most will give you generic meaningless answers, the truth is simply that you have to decide what you want to do. Do you really want to be a guitar player? If so you better start liking the guitar and practice as much as you can. No amount of tricks can change that. You don't need weed ;) But it helped me get beyond the mental games that I realized I was playing after the fact.

It is all in your mind, once you realize that the world opens up. Because it isn't guitar playing that is stopping you, but you are stopping it. (e.g., insecurities, environment, etc all get in the way and you allow it to happen)

So, simply sit down, decide what you want in life. If you really want to be a guitar player(or anything), you have to do it and do it as much as you can.

Once I actually committed to playing, everything changed for me. I stopped wasting my time. I'd practice 5 mins if all I had. I learned the things I know I needed to know(how to read, how to learn songs, etc...). Of course, I'm still learning and I realize that it will be a life long process... but because I enjoy music for music(not for fame, money, etc) it doesn't matter. It is just something I do now, again, like breathing.

So, the point is, ultimately you have to figure it out because you have a unique set of problems that no other human being has. What I am telling you may or may not work for you. But what is at the root of all our problems is making the decisions to do what we think we want to do rather than just thinking about doing it. Most "guitar players" want to be great guitar players... but most "guitar players" don't actually want to be great guitar players. Same goes anything in life(great long distance runner, great actor, etc). The reasons are simple, it requires a lot of work, a change in mentality and personality, a change in life style, etc. Most humans don't wanna commit to such things because they are secure in their current situation.

But if you put guitar playing above everything else, you will achieve what you want, simple as that(not 100% absolute, but say 95%+).

I never get bored playing guitar or doing anything musical any more. While I still do quite a bit of mindless noodling/improvising, I enjoy that part greatly. I tend to work on my weaknesses because that is the obvious thing to do(people that say work on your strengths are idiots... you end up unbalanced and their is the law of diminishing returns). Since there are so many things one can work on one should never be bored.

e.g., learn some other styles(Jazz?, classical, R&B, Indian raga's, etc...?). Practice technique(learn all your scales in all keys, learn your arps, ornamentation, riff playing, phrases, learn all the notes on the neck, etc... (learn = KNOW instantaneously... not just that you "could" do it if you had to)). Go play with other musicians, learn another instrument, etc.

The world is infinite, so if you are truly bored then either you know everything or are actually confusing boredom with decisions.

Boredom is really simply not making decisions to do... In our modern society, with so many things to do(and many we are forced to), the decision making process is more complex than it has ever been. Boredom is really just the process of trying to figure out what to do. Most people don't like doing that because it wastes time but get trapped in it because of the large amount of choices that have to be "searched"... generally the result is doing "nothing"(being lazy).

See, it is very easy to do something once you know exactly what to do and why to do it. Figure those things out and you will solve all your problems(either specific to guitar or to anything including life itself).

The reason why you are not where you want to be is only because of you. Realize that and get out of your own way and you'll be where you want.

This is easy to prove: Take any reason you have for not being a better guitar player. e.g., say you have to work to pay the bills. Now realize that their is an alternative that will allow you to become a better guitar player. e.g., Could go live on the streets with no bills and play guitar all day long. So, a decision has to be made if you want to do that. The point is that it is not the work or the bills that are in the way but your decision to choose a shelter and food over guitar playing. It's all about decisions, and the cool thing is, once you decide that something must be(e.g., you wanting to be a professional guitar player = you can work and pay your bills AND play guitar simultaneously) then the decision making process gets easier because not you have removed a whole host of other possibilities(be a milk man, piano player, garbage man, POTUS, etc) and you now just have to start finding out how to transition from where you are currently to where you want to be(which you now know).

It's very easy(just time) to walk to your destination if you know where it is at, and impossible if you don't. Start walking...

  • Voted up! I can play for hours during a session. – blusician Oct 18 '16 at 1:06
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    That was really cool man..i cant say it helped me as I am the one who can help myself..but yeah..thanks for telling me how you think about this... – Shounak Chakraborty Oct 18 '16 at 13:31
  • @blusician Yeah, Weed is a pretty powerful tool. Too bad most people waste it ;/ – user2691 Oct 20 '16 at 16:34
  • @ShounakChakraborty Well, there is a lot of common overlap between people. Many of the same issues I face/faced you and everyone else has to some degree or another. The main thing to get out of it is that you are the driver and have complete control of your destiny. You can't change things overnight but if you give in to the fact that it will take as long as it takes and your job is simply to do the best you can, then will get where you are suppose to be. It seems kinda hard but, in fact, it's pretty easy since it's just a mindset. When you change the mind everything else follows. – user2691 Oct 20 '16 at 16:37
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Although you can try to make your practice more interesting and you can be practising with a certain motivation I want to play this piece for a girl/I have a gig/I have an audition, I think there's also the sense of accepting you sometimes will be bored and doing it anyway. Hard graft is not always fun at the time, but discipline is important if you want to be really skilled. Being able to play some tricky piece you always thought was crazy difficult makes all the hard work worth it (if it doesn't don't do it).

Wax on, wax off.

  • Wax on wax off..... I completely agree. – Unknown Oct 17 '16 at 3:31
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Shounak, I personally believe that your issue may lie with not having a great guitar educator helping you become a better player!

The truth is that great education produces great musicians!

Of course, there are those who are able to learn the guitar without outside help, but I am firmly of the opinion that you need to find an excellent coach who can help you become better at playing the guitar!

You will be more inspired to practice and you will enjoy playing a whole lot more!

Give it a shot - it can make the difference between success and failure!

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I can see how it could become boring to play or practice the same thing over and over. I believe you must be motivated by the desire to accomplish a goal. You need a "why". Why do you practice? What is your goal? What do you want to accomplish? These are things every musician or student of an instrument must answer for themselves.

For me, the primary motivation that prompted me to pick up the guitar after the age of 40 after giving up when I was a teenager, was that I was going through some challenges in my personal life and I found playing the guitar to be relaxing and therapeutic (it took my mind off the issues that caused me anxiety).

As I played more, I saw my skills begin to improve so I started to rekindle my childhood dream of becoming a rock star. In reality I know it's too late to be a rock star, but performing as a local musician for small audiences in restaurants and pubs and private parties was certainly realistic.

I started playing out at some local open mics and that reinforced my vision and desire to become good enough as a musician to perform for others as an entertainer. I made it my goal to develop the ability to play guitar and sing, to provide entertainment and enjoyment for others.

Now that I had a set goal in mind, I decided that the path to accomplishing that goal was to expand my repertoire (number of songs I could perform) until I knew enough songs to play a 3 hour gig. So I started learning songs that I thought I would enjoy performing and that I though my chosen audience might enjoy hearing.

I never get bored with learning new songs. Learning a song becomes a mini goal in and of itself. The process of learning the song can feel a little like work - but the sense of accomplishment I get from learning a new song and adding it to my every expanding repertoire is very rewarding.

This concept is similar to what one of my good friends does with jigsaw puzzles. Her goal is to accumulate a large collection of completed jigsaw puzzles that can be framed and displayed like "artwork". She enjoys the process of putting together each puzzle. Although some of the puzzles can be very tedious and challenging and time consuming and brain wracking - it's the sense of accomplishment that motivates her to stick with it until it's finished. Then she can look back and say to herself "wow - look what I did". And as she expands her collection, the sense of accomplishment builds.

The same satisfaction and sense of accomplishment can be enjoyed by a guitarist by expanding his or her repertoire by learning new material.

Bottom line is that you must have a goal that once reached, will provide you with a sense of pride, accomplishment and joy (in other words be rewarding to you). You must possess a true desire to accomplish that goal and decide on the steps you must take to reach it. Accomplishing each of those steps (learn a new song, learn a new scale, learn a new picking pattern) becomes an intermediate "mini" goal with it's own reward because it puts you one step closer to your ultimate goal.

Keep your eye on the prize and continually move towards it. When you get there - go for an even bigger prize and start the journey anew.

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There is a classic bit of advice for this sort of boredom while practicing: "Don't wash clean dishes."

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I'm a guitar player since I don't know how many years. I left school at the age of 17 to start my own path in life. Especially in music.

To speak about the subject, I don't agree with you up there... I mean, practicing isn't what you want to do with your guitar as an Artist. Sure that if you want to be someone like a modern Jazz Man, ensemble musician or work as a musicien in a recording studio, you will have to see your guitar neck as a calculator.

If you choose an Artist way of playing, even if you need the basics like right hand rythm, how to place and move your fingers, left hand technics or basics chords, the way had to be more personnal. Here it is more aboud finding your OWN way of playing. If guys from Motley Crüe would have done too much exercice, the all damn story about Sunset Strip would never had existed. Can you imagine the Punks Heads without all these naughty sounds ?

Myles Kennedy from Alter Bridge said : "Slash and Mark are guitar players. They can bring themselves out of the amp. Me, I play the song like it have to be played."

I think this way is the hardest way (Airbourne "There is no way, but the hard way).Not about the technicals, more about what other ones thinks about it. Everyone is playing high speed note, speaking in another language than yours. Telling you that you will never do a thing if you don't learn all their sh*t or that you have to worship Steve Vai (The worst guitarist ever. He totally lost all the pieces of his heart. You can feel how much he was thinking "It's too less technical" when he was writting his music). At the end, you become an artist by standing those people look.

Creating is hard. But the day you finally connect your guitar to your soul. It's so amazing.

Music is no mathematics. Before scale there was nothing. If a man from a very far past could find his own scale and write it, you can find yours. Notes are what you want them to be. There is no false or dissonant or anything else. If you like the sound. Play it.

I found my way of playing now. It took a long time, but now I love playing guitar during all nights.

Music is one of the little free thing left. Please guys, don't put it in school of logic prison.

  • To find your own way round guitar playing - it's called practice, isn't it? – Tim Oct 16 '16 at 7:07
  • I don't know, Tim. JP has a point. I think that searching for honesty in what one plays is quite different from drilling scales. Asking, do I care about this? Is this the right sound, the right note? Does it matter? Soul searching is a different sort of practice. – Phil Freihofner Oct 16 '16 at 20:56

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