Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A question of endurance?

A fella posted an interesting comment on one of my theory articles.

He saw the value in learning the stuff, but wondered who really had the endurance to do so.

I know how he feels! (Really!)

Theory, especially, can seem like trying to unravel Christmas lights after they've been in the attic all year. To know one thing, you've gotta know another, and pretty soon, you're wrapped in wire, jumping around hoping that the other half of the strand will finally light up. Frustration and boredom can quickly set in, along with murderous rage at anything else that you can vent your fury on. (And people think I'm always happy. Ha ha!)

Here's a few ideas:

1. Remember, if you're finding it hard, so is everyone else. Bingo, you've just found an edge in your field.

2. There's a zillion ways to learn something. It can, and should be fun. Now, it might not be a walk in the park with some ice cream kinda fun, but it can still be very rewarding. If your teacher is making it boring - talk to them, and if they don't shape up - quit! If your book is making it impossible, try another.

2b. This is not to say that you shouldn't be disciplined. No, sir! Just keep in mind that there's more than one way up the mountain.

3. Aim to lift what you can't. There I go again with my weightlifting parallels. But it's true. As Arnold would say "If you can curl 100 pound dumbbells, and then you go to 130 pounds, your biceps will get bigger." So don't practice what's easy! Practice to your weakness, and watch your skills improve.

4. Feel the burn. Hard can be really, really fun! If you're straining to understand a concept, just think how great you're gonna be when you get it. If a particular lick kicks your butt, keep practicing it until you can do it.

One more quote from Mr. Schwarzenegger to cheer us on our way.

"Is it not possible to do one more rep?"


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Anonymous said...

Progress is the biggest incentive to hang in there. I've also followed your theory lessons (which are excellent btw!), and once something clicks it feels great to move to the next challenge. But just like all things in life - some will make it to the end, some will not. But this time the choice is ours.


p.s. Thanks for the amp info.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE your analogies! (is that the right term/spelling?!) When are you putting out a book: "All I Needed to Know I Learned from Playing Guitar"?
Thanks for the thoughts and comments about endurance and how to apply them to all facets of life. :)

Anonymous said...

I love the Arnold quotes, they apply very well. I've improved my guitar playing quite a bit by discipline AND finding a way to have fun like you say... it can be done. When things get stale (like they are starting to right now), I have to find a new way to approach guitar. Keeping it fresh is a key from what I have found. This time it might be to concentrate on the acoustic/songwriting side more instead of plugging in the strat.