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October 2013 Article - 7 Things to Do When You Feel Stuck!

Thursday, October 17, 2013
stuck-smEver feel frustrated and stuck in your guitar learning? There is nothing more disheartening than the feeling like you’re just not “getting it”. You’re working faithfully in your learning but you just aren’t making the progress you would like.

Here are a few practical tips for getting yourself un-stuck and back on track with your learning.

1) Relax.

Nothing works right when you get uptight - especially learning. Don’t take the “stuck feeling” too seriously. Chances are nothing is terribly wrong. You’re just in a plateau. Just keep doing what you are doing - whether you feel like it or not and evaluate it again in two weeks and see how things have progressed.

2) Take a Short Break. 

Sometimes after beating your musical head against the wall for a considerable amount of time with decreasing amounts of progress, sometimes it’s just good to take a break for a few days, put your guitar in its case, and come back to it after a short time. BUT, don’t forget about it and break for too long or you will start to lose ground. Two to three days are a good amount of break time.

3) Practice Something Else for a While. 

There are many ways to get the job done and guitar skills tend to interconnect in various ways. If you’re stuck on barre chords then work on something else for a while and come back to barre chords again in a couple of weeks. Often times this mental break has a magical quality to get you out of your stuck dilemma.

4) Put Yourself in a Playing Situation. 

Nothing shakes loose the cobwebs of learning better than getting out of the practice room and into a playing situation where you are applying those skills.

5) Get Some Fresh Musical Inspiration. 

Go to a concert, or go hear some live music, buy or download that new CD from your favorite band, or get a new piece of gear. Getting new musical inspiration doesn’t need to be expensive - it just needs to excite you and musically engage your heart again.

6) Be a Student of HOW You Learn. 

Stop and think about the things that help you learn and those things that hinder or distract how you learn. Things like… when during the day are you the most mentally engaged? Then, try to practice during your more productive times. Analyze the feelings you are having.

Would practicing in longer, more focused times be better or would breaking your practice time up into shorter bursts of learning fit your style better? Think about how you learn and adjust your practice times to make them the most effective.

7) Above All Else, DON'T STOP! 

Take a break if you need to or press on if you need to. Try several different things, but whatever you do, don’t listen to the inner voice that says “Well, I guess that’s it. That’s as far as I can go as a guitar player.” That little inner voice plays the same message in all of our heads and it just might be lying to you. You can accomplish great things if you just keep going.
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