How To Overcome Musical Frustration


Have you ever been frustrated with your guitar playing and musical progress? Ever looked with envy at other musicians who play guitar the way you want to play it? Does reaching your greatest musical goals sometimes seem out of reach?

Just about everyone has had these thoughts go through their mind from time to time.

There are several common causes of musical frustration:

Musical Frustration Cause #1: Inability To Play Guitar At Your Best In Real Life.

It’s frustrating when you consistently play below your maximum ability when performing for others. Your frustration develops from knowing that your actual skills are much higher than your ability to display them in real life.

This video shows how to practice guitar for real-life playing situations:

Musical Frustration Cause #2: Slow Musical Progress And Long Plateaus In Guitar Technique And Musical Creativity

Common examples of this frustration include:

• Practicing guitar technique exercises over and over, but seeing little increase in your guitar speed and cleanliness of your playing.

• Trying to improvise and being frustrated with the expressiveness of your guitar solos.

• Trying to write songs and feeling like you are out of new and creative ideas.

Musical Frustration Cause #3: Feelings Of Inadequacy

Comparing yourself to other musicians causes you to feel bad about your own guitar playing. This can damage your self-confidence and hurt your motivation to practice guitar (more on this below).

Causes Of Musical FrustrationThese strategies help you manage musical frustration the right way:


Musical Frustration Solution #1: Realize That You Are Not Alone

You are not the first person to face musical frustration. Many of the greatest musical masters have been frustrated at times with their musical abilities. Here are four examples of famous classical composers who were frustrated just like you:

  1. Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827) worked for long periods of time on his compositions before completing them. He revised his pieces over and over again, reworking them, doubting his original efforts. This was almost unheard of in Beethoven's time.
     
  2. Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was so frustrated with his songwriting abilities that he spent 21 years composing his first symphony! He felt that he could never compose a symphony as well as Beethoven.
     
  3. Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) revised his symphonies and other works after having doubts about what he had composed. Mahler kept revising his works until his death.
     
  4. Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) actually stopped composing for about 30 years because he felt that he had run out of new musical ideas. He worked on writing new songs during that time, sketching his ideas during the day and throwing them away every time. That is some very serious frustration!

Lesson for you: No matter how frustrated you feel, know that you are NOT alone.


Musical Frustration Solution #2: Turn Frustration Into Inspiration

Frustration can help you or hurt you, depending on how you deal with it.

When I was a teenager, some friends of mine (all guitar players) and I went to see Yngwie Malmsteen perform in Chicago. After the concert, some of my friends felt depressed. They were so envious of Yngwie’s great skills that they talked about wanting to quit guitar.

I used my awe for Yngwie as a massive positive inspiring force. I was so inspired that I went straight home and practiced through the night until I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.

Lesson for you: Don’t seek to avoid frustration. Use it to your advantage.


Musical Frustration Solution #3: Focus On Yourself

Many guitar players don't reach their musical potential because they feel they can't measure up to other musicians . This is a mistake. Music should not be thought of as a competitive sport. All that really matters is how well you are able to express yourself.

Kurt Cobain (singer/songwriter/guitarist of the band Nirvana) is someone who did a good job of expressing himself in his music. I say this as someone who has never liked or respected Kurt Cobain or his music. Although Kurt’s musical skills were very limited, his personality could be heard through his music. It didn't matter that:

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  • he was not a good guitarist
  • his knowledge of music theory was probably close to zero
  • he played out of tune
  • he had an absolutely sloppy guitar technique

…his musical goals didn't require any of the skills that are necessary for most musicians.

Kurt Cobain probably wasn't very frustrated with himself musically, because he wasn't trying to be a better guitarist, songwriter or singer than anyone else. He didn't make those types of comparisons between himself and the rest of the music world. He focused on the one thing that mattered most to him: expressing himself.

Lesson for you: stop comparing yourself to others. Set meaningful goals for yourself and pursue them with relentless passion. Seek out the tools and resources to reach your goals as quickly as possible. Don't worry about other peoples’ goals - focus on yourself.

Learn how to easily express yourself and play guitar with emotion.


Musical Frustration Solution #4: Improve Your Guitar Practice Methods

Musical frustration melts away when you make consistent progress in all areas of your guitar playing. Frustration builds quickly when your progress is slow and inconsistent. Use frustration as feedback that tells you what isn’t working in your guitar practice. Then take action to improve your guitar practice methods and advance to the next level in your playing.


Action Steps For You:

  1. Remember that no one is immune from some amount of frustration…not even the best musicians in the world.
     
  2. Stop comparing yourself to other guitar players and musicians. Set specific goals for yourself that inspire you to practice guitar every day.
     
  3. When you feel frustrated, identify what specifically is causing your frustration. Identifying the correct cause of your frustration helps you manage it the right way.
     
  4. Use the right solution to manage frustration in an empowering way.

This eGuide helps you to play guitar with emotion and express yourself with your music.


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