At the brink of quitting, again

Yesterday, I told my guitar teacher, who is now my close friend, that I was bored with the material and uninspired to practice. We had a long heart to heart during my lesson and it was worth every dollar.

Danny did exactly what I wanted him to do–tell me the blatant truth. I never realized that disinterest occurred because the material is harder and takes longer to grasp. I also didn’t realize I was complaining about scales, barre chords and other challenges I once enjoyed 2 years ago.  In fact, I left other guitar teachers because I wanted to learn music theory instead of cover songs.  So, it’s time to get real and be honest with myself.  And the most difficult truth is, I didn’t like the student I’ve become.  “I don’t like hearing these things from you,” I told him, “but I know I need to hear it.” He and I both got teary eyed.

In a concerned voice, he shared that my statements are typically said by music students right before they quit an instrument. I’ve learned and quit 6 different instruments throughout my 26 years of living.  Ever since I was 6 years old, I would abandon an instrument once the learning curve slowed down, requiring longer hours of focused practice.  In other words, when the going got tough… I switched.  I REFUSE to continue that habit.  “I don’t want to quit any more”, I told Danny..  “I don’t want you to either,” he replied.

My conversation with Danny evolved into discussing the discipline needed to put in hard work while doing something boring or frustratingly difficult. Honestly, I’m not sure if I’ve truly worked my butt off, day in and day out on something I didn’t want to do.  If there’s such a thing as selective laziness… that’s probably it–performing hard work when its enjoyable and convenient.

Sure, I’d regularly stay after class to get more help in undergraduate chemistry and physics.  I’ve solved math problems over and over before my statistics exams.  There was even a time when my father refused to let me quit softball after 8 years and forced me to watch DVDs about batting technique instead.  But to actually struggle with something and fight through it WITHOUT any outside help? Not to mention for no grade or any other incentives…. I can’t even imagine. I want to experience it though.  And I am positive it’s more rewarding than I imagine.

It was a well deserved wake up call. So naturally, I’ve been a bit addicted to practicing guitar since opening up to Danny.  I already have the foundation thanks to my graveyard of instruments.  I can read sheet music, I can hold a steady tempo, and have a knack for music theory.  I know it’s going to be a fight to “quit quitting,” but I am up for the challenge.  I need to break this habit before it becomes me.

Without a doubt, this blog is dedicated to anyone who struggles with keeping a hobby, continuing to practice, being consistent… these next 10,000 hours are for you.

5 thoughts on “At the brink of quitting, again

  1. Heh Kristen, thanks for following my w/p blog. I’ve been reading some of your blog. I like your honesty, A very important ingredient in self reflection and personal improvement. Though, I do think that is only the beginning in moving past those points in your life when you feel that urge to quit practicing your instrument.

    When those feelings come in, and that feeling to quit creeps in, it can be very over powering, especially if quitting is what releases that stress. Kind of becomes a catch 22.

    I ‘m glad you have been able to have a friendship with your guitar teacher, hopefully he can guide you through those times, when you need him to drag you out of those moments when you think its time to quit.

    When I reach sections of music that I find to difficult to practice, I try not to think how much practice is required, I tend to find the smallest amount of music I can handle practicing.

    Keep within your learning capabilities, use your education as a guide for how you learned to study and trying applying those methods to guitar. It may work for you,

    Do you write any original music? There is so much to learn about who you are as a person when you write your own music. You learn to bleed out musically and lyrically your emotions and thoughts and feelings.

    As far as a serial instrument quitter. I wouldn’t look at it like that. I would be rapt if I had dabbled in some of those instruments you mentioned. If you finally master guitar, which I don’t think anyone ever does, then maybe you may do some home recordings one day, and possibly reunite yourself with any one of those instruments, or all of them again as part of instrumentally building a song.

    Interested to see how things go for you

  2. Pingback: The woes & triumphs of finding a mentor | Quit Quitting

  3. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was curious what all is required to get setup?
    I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100% certain. Any recommendations or advice would be
    greatly appreciated. Many thanks

    • Hey, it’s actually not expensive at all. There are many different free blogging platforms available. Just google blogging platforms or blog websites and you will find a lot out there. Since you’re just starting out, I recommend sticking to something simple and easy to maintain and design. Good luck!

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