Having played guitar for many years I occasionally have these moments where I realise I am taking it all too seriously. Although these moments are rare they seem to have a tendency of creeping up on me. It usually comes in the form of frustration with a new skill I am attempting to master or a performance I am preparing for or even a song I am composing. Its in these moments of frustration that I suddenly realise it may be time to take a break.
Lighten up for best results
Whether you are a guitar student or the parent of a guitar student its important that you don’t take learning guitar too seriously. There is nothing wrong with creating big goals and pushing yourself but when you find yourself frustrated or emotional you have probably gone too far. In actual fact I am going to argue the opposite and say that when you lighten up and make it fun the results are even better. In a research study done on company performance they found that fun among staff members was one of the common traits shared by successful companies. Laughter has also been shown to help improve the health of patients in hospitals. A good example was portrayed by Robin Williams in the movie ‘Patch Adams’ which was based on Dr. Hunter Doherty “Patch” Adams.
Stress and practice
It is now common knowledge among health professionals that frustration which is really just a symptom of stress and can result in restricted blood flow. When you are learning to play guitar the last thing you want is restricted blood flow because when you are learning something mentally and physically demanding like guitar you want to ensure as much oxygen rich blood to the brain and hands as possible. For more information the following article may be helpful. Anxiety restricts blood flow.
So in short ‘Lighten up and have fun’. When you feel yourself getting frustrated remember this is not helping. Take a break and come back to your guitar when you are feeling better.
David Hart – Program Director
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