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.