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I have issues while playing with an instrument.

  1. Sep 10, 2010 #1
    So i know instruments need A TON OF PRACTICE but the problem with me is that i get bored too fast to play instruments. I've been practicing on my guitar now for 3 months but man i can only play it for 30 minutes tops and then i get seriously bored and start going on the computer. I can't help it either. I love how the guitar sounds and love it when people play the guitar but i just don't have the patience. I tried playing the sheets i was assigned for homework but i got really pissed off i couldn't get it. Then i was really close to smashing my guitar.

    I don't want to quit either though. I want to atleast be able to play the guitar decently. But it's really hard to concentrate and not lose patience. Does anybody have any idea how to remedy this problem? My other 2 passions are math and brazilian jiu jitsu but those are really different from guitar. They're short spurges of fun and you feel really good after solving a problem or rolling on the mats with a partner.
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  3. Sep 10, 2010 #2
    You need to find a song that you really like and just sit down and learn to play it, when i was first learning to play guitar the one song i was determined to play was sweet child o mine by guns n roses, so i printed the tablature of the internet and then sat down and spent the next few hours working it out. Was abit out of my depth but after i while i mastered it and after learning that riff i found that alot of other riffs came to me quite quickly.
  4. Sep 10, 2010 #3
    But i'm learning the guitar by notes. I think my instructor would prefer it if i didn't get too ahead of myself.
  5. Sep 10, 2010 #4


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    The fact that you regularly get "seriously bored" after 30 minutes of practice suggests that guitar might not be for you. If it's not something that you enjoy doing (which it sounds like is the case), then don't do it.
  6. Sep 10, 2010 #5


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    There's so many different ways you can go with music though!

    1) Have you tried playing different styles or tried learning new scales? Try checking out the modes of a scale too (by actually modulating your current scale to have the same root note, NOT by just shifting the tonic in the same scale). The standard scales you should learn are major, minor (which are two of the modes discusses already). And then pentatonic and blues. The awesomest scale (<- bias) is the harmonic minor (whose modes you can study too).

    2) Have you tried writing your own music? Play around with some scale and chord combinations. Try writing different genres by changing your scales and techniques up.

    3) Have you tried jamming with somebody? When I first started playing, my room mate already played guitar and we jammed for several hours a day some weeks. Nowadays I don't play as often, unless I have somebody to jam with. Personally, I think it's necessary to really develop your musical expression.

    4) Two things you can always expand on: theoretical understanding and physical techniques

    some good guitar techniques to know:
    alternate picking
    palm muting
  7. Sep 10, 2010 #6
    Here's the thing with guitar and any new hobby i go into. I'm always alone. When i first got serious, nobody was there to help me. When i first got into bjj, nobody was there to help me either. Though brazilian jiu jitsu made me a ton of new friends along the way because it's suppolsed to be a partner thing. Same with guitar though. I have nobody to jam with and it's so boring.

    If i can find somebody to jam with, it'd be tons of fun.
  8. Sep 10, 2010 #7
    i don't see any reason you should practice longer than 30 min. your brain isn't just going to rewire itself overnight.

    but i like Andy's idea. do your instructor's regular work until you get bored. do something else for a while. then work on your piece at another time when you're fresh. probably best not to practice when you're getting tired and sloppy, anyway.

    and really, you expect great results in 3 months?! i was in band for 7 years, and i don't feel like i ever got good enough at my instrument to make money with it.
  9. Sep 11, 2010 #8


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    If the ability to play a musical instrument were within the grasp of the average person's level of discipline, then it would just be average. The world would be lousy with musicians. :smile:

    Only those who really want it will succeed.

    Do you really want it?
  10. Sep 11, 2010 #9
    No not really. I just want to be decent at it. I have no desire to be a "mozart" level musician or even 1/10 as good. I just want to casually play.
  11. Sep 11, 2010 #10


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    Me too.

    I'm trying to learn the fiddle. It's really hard to be disciplined.

    BTW, 30 minutes a day should be all you need, accoding to my teacher. But it needs to be every day, not, you know, a few times a week.
  12. Sep 11, 2010 #11


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    every day ..

    That is SO true ..

    BTW, I've always wondered - does a fiddle have frets like a guitar, or none, like a violin ?
  13. Sep 11, 2010 #12
    I believe that a fiddle is a violin. It just depends on whether the person playing it is insane or not. But seriously, I think they are the same but the tuning or something acoustic about it is different.
  14. Sep 11, 2010 #13


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  15. Sep 11, 2010 #14


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    Guitar can be a ton of fun. I never learned to play from written music (though I learned to play several brass instruments that way) but I worked my way through college in part by playing frat parties, etc, with a succession of bands, and supplemented my income later in life by hosting open-mike jams at local taverns.

    I wish I had learned to sight-read music for guitar, but really didn't have the money for lessons, or the motivation to self-teach that skill.

    Now, for the fun part. Learn some standard scales and play along with some music that you like. I had great fun playing along with the Allman Brothers, because their songs were structured so that you could play major runs (Dwayne's parts) and minor pentatonic runs (Dickie Betts' parts) and swap back and forth between them. That way you get a good feel for how those "flavors" mix and relate to one another. The next KEY ingredient is to learn barre chords. Don't let yourself get stuck playing root-position chords or reaching for a capo whenever you find yourself accompanying somebody in an unfamiliar key. You can transpose to about any key easily on the fly if you will learn to use barre chords. With simple skills like these, you can accompany people who show up wanting to play songs in keys other than the one that you might have learned the song in, or accommodate a vocalist who finds your choice of key a bit out of their range.

    By all means, do your sight-reading drills for 1/2 hour every day, but make time to "cut loose", improvise, etc.
  16. Sep 11, 2010 #15
    I'm not ripping on reading music, but if your bored and thinking about quitting, then what is worse, quitting because your not having fun, or not loving guitar enough to have a reason to read in the first place. Any instrument is hardest to have fun right in the beginning. Sooner or later you break a barrier where you can branch out and learn for your own and have a lot more fun. Learn songs and build your skill playing. You can always go back and learn reading later. But I definitely recommend to learn theory.
  17. Sep 11, 2010 #16


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    That is an aweosme quote! I will share that with my teacher at next class.
  18. Sep 12, 2010 #17


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    Ah, thanks. I thought they were a bit smaller too, but looks like not. We rarely hear the term 'fiddle' here, across the pond - only in American stuff like 'Devil went down to Georgia', John Denver 'Thank God I'm a country boy', etc.

    Whenever I here a fiddle like that, it reminds me of a very old Greek instrument my grandad used to play almost half a century ago called a ... vgeloomi .. or something. It sounded exactly like the fiddle, though I always thought it had frets - thus the nature of my question. But now I see it obviously couldn't have.
  19. Sep 12, 2010 #18


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    Some possible points of ambiguity:

    Violins/fiddles have several variant sizes: 4/4, 7/8, 3/4 and 1/2 (even all the way down to 1/32). (These fractions do not represent scale. While a 4/4 has a body of 14", the 1/2 has a body of 12".)

    "Fiddle has a more generalized meaning than violin. Whereas violin refers to a specific instrument, fiddle may be used to refer to a violin or any member of a general category of similar stringed instruments played with a horsehair bow, such as the Hardanger fiddle, the Byzantine lira, the Chinese erhu, the Welsh crwth, the Apache Tzii'edo' a 'tl, the cello in the context of a Scottish violin/cello duo ("wee fiddle and big fiddle"), the double bass ("bull fiddle" or "bass fiddle"), and so on."
  20. Sep 22, 2010 #19


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    I was under the impression that fiddles also had more curvature to the arch at the bridge so that the strings were more separated in angular degrees, so that you can bow faster without smudging other strings.
  21. Sep 22, 2010 #20
    I want to learn to play a banjo, but I don't want people to make fun of me.
  22. Sep 22, 2010 #21
    I thought Fiddle was the Hebrew for Violin...

    Motivation is always a good tool to promote practice:
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  23. Sep 22, 2010 #22


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    Learn to play as well as Steve Martin. He makes millions when people laugh at him.
  24. Sep 22, 2010 #23
    What kind of music do you like? Learn that, expand your musical horizons and PLAY. Play around with things, if your teacher gives you a melody to learn or a scale, take it and twist it around, morph it, play with the rythem the harmony everything and just get a feel for the sounds.
  25. Sep 22, 2010 #24
    Drop your lessons. If you still want to play you will. Lessons turn something fun into a chore.

    Ps. I was a professional musician for a while. I have met very few pros who learned from an instructor. Most were self taught and simply love to play, or completed formal training after they were already proficient.
  26. Sep 22, 2010 #25


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    I think I can add something to this conversation. Besides my physics career, I have two main hobbies. I practice the guitar, and I train in Judo. So, I'm probably about as close to your situation as one can get.

    The guitar does not have to be learned in a note by note, learn scales, play "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," rinse and repeat, way. You can learn a few chords, learn some strumming patterns, and quickly be able to play a good number of folk songs (Bob Dylan, Neil Young, OCMS type stuff) or punk songs.

    Then, you can play some simple, real songs and have a bit of fun. Combine this type of practice with the formal training your instructor is giving you.

    Trust me this is the way to learn guitar. Everything will be so much more fun once you start being able to actually play some songs.

    Let's relate this training method to BJJ:

    Do you spend years learning every choke and armlock known to man before you go out and roll with your friends? Of course not. You learn a bit of technique, and then grapple with people much better than you. Of course you'll get choked, armlocked, and (for Judo anyway) thrown all over the place. However this is integral to the learning process as much as formal technique training. (And makes it so much more fun!)

    Thus, lets make the following analogy:

    Formal Guitar training = Grappling Technique

    Informal, learn some chords, play some simple songs = Sparring/Rolling
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