Relax, enjoy and make music!

Whilst working hard, with focus, awareness and purpose and all that, don’t forget the most important thing of all – having fun and enjoying making music! Surely, this is why we started playing the guitar in the first place?

I can become all too easy to get caught up in the technicalities of playing, the mechanics of moving the left hand around the fretboard (or right hand if you’re a left handed player) and the right hand around the strings, getting the notes and phrases sounding as you want them. Sometimes we can be working so hard that we can forget to enjoy what it is we’re doing. Sometimes we can be working so hard at our practice that we can forget we’re actually playing music, which I’m sure you’ll agree is most definitely something that should be enjoyed!

So remember to stop and take a look around once in a while – kick back with your favourite piece, cut loose with the piece you’re currently learning, play for the sheer heck of it, play for friends, check out how far you’ve come so far, enjoy the experience.

And enjoy the journey. It’s not about getting to this level, or that grade, or this performance or whatever. It’s really about now, about today, about the journey and what you’re learning as you travel along. After all, you spend much longer on the journey itself than at your actual “destination” (whatever or wherever that may be).

Take a break from time to time

And do take a break from time to time. Taking a break, be it a day a week or longer, away from the active guitar playing and learning, can help us to take stock and see the woods for the trees. This, of course, can have a fantastic impact on our approach to guitar playing, music and learning.

Stepping back and gaining some or at least a different perspective can give us some much-needed rest and relaxation for the brain and body – allowing any physical niggles or injuries a chance to sort themselves out and take our brain away from the daily practice schedule and rigours of active learning and reinforcement. It allows some of those subconscious elements to do their thing in the background whilst you’re doing other things for a while.

In those moments of repose we can ask ourselves are we doing what we really want? Are we learning in the most effective way? What do we want to do differently? These moments of repose can also help to refill the creative juices.

It can also help you put a different spin on things – perhaps that tricky bit wasn’t quite as tricky as you thought. Perhaps you were putting too much energy into one particular element of your playing or practice that you can transfer over to other elements of your playing (or other parts of your life!).  Perhaps you’re over-thinking some elements that you should just relax with, let go of and just “feel”?

I’m not saying totally abandon your structured practice sessions and your hard work for kicking back all of the time, but just like a balanced diet it’s good, nay healthy, to mix it up.  So relax, enjoy and make music!

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