Time and time again, it would seem many more folks are quitting music than they are starting it back up. Usually, it's not even because of a lack of time or focus or energy. They give in to the temptations of not playing or not practicing because of other reasons which, to many who can't actually play (health reasons as the main part of that), would infuriate those same folks who want to play but never can. I myself have fallen victim to a few of the following reasons.
5. "It's too difficult"/"It's too easy"
Many come across a song that sounds incredible to play. It's fluid; it's dynamic; it's calming; it's got the insane solos and rhythms and lyrics. It has everything they could ever ask for in a song, even. But then comes a major dilemma: what would the sheet music or tab for the song look like? Or what would it sound like if I tried to play it?
So they get an instrument that will work for the song or they get their own that they have had at least for a short time. They get so excited and pumped up to try the song out. Then they get to actually playing the song. They realize, it's not as they had thought. For some, it's the solos which end up messing them up.
"Who uses tap solos for this song, anyways?!?" in the case of a guitarist colleague of mine. Consequently, some might feel that the verses and chorus, as it turns out, are too easy for their tastes. "Why bother learning a song I can always remember because it contains a simple E-C-G-D chord progression?" as same colleague suggested.
4. "There's not enough time to learn more"/"My schedule is too full"
This one comes up plenty more times due to the simple fact I am at the College I am at. It's known for writing, business, the sciences, the maths... But its music department is insultingly on the low end of the totem pole. As a result, the vast majority of members of the College don't focus on music a lot, and the ones that do always seem to be busier than their music will allow.
Of course, I could branch this out to a much bigger spectrum of, say, the whole state or nation or even planet. These folks feel that because so much is on their plates, they cannot begin to focus on music at all even if it's their career choice. There are quite a few that have the valid reason of that as enough to not be able to do music, but for the rest, it simply comes to a case of poor timing and planning.
3. "I'm too (old, injured, inadequate, horrible, etc.) with music"
I have trouble trying to truly justify this one in a lot of cases. On the one hand, some of these folks have so many complications and issues that they truly can no longer learn or do music at all, and that is fine. That is to be expected for some. However, for the rest interviewed or asked about, what the majority told as their reasoning really came down to either a lack of confidence or a case of laziness or both.
"I'm not getting any younger! I have so little time left, and I don't want to waste it doing what I did when I was your age" I get told a lot. Same with "I would definitely continue music if I was able-bodied like you, but my fingers are not exactly of optimal condition to do it." Many of these folks fail to realize there are some that will never sing or talk again due to permanent damage to vocal cords or even cancers. Some will never be able to play piano again because they have extensive arthritis/osteoporosis or their arms and hands were blown off or smashed or crushed or destroyed and prosthetics don't play well compared to actual limbs. Some can't play drums because of the combo of broken or deadened limbs and so much time spent away from it. All that is being said is, the excuse of being too off from music should not be used so much.
2. "Music wasn't fulfilling my means, so I went for something else"/"Music doesn't pay nearly enough to keep me"/"Who wants to do music when it won't get you noticed?"/"I want to be a famous musician when I grow up"
This reason alone makes me cringe and sigh with despair. I remember to be grateful to grow up with a time where music was still solely about fun, passion, and just doing it for the privilege of doing it. So many nowadays do it for all the, seemingly, wrong reasons. They see some up-and-coming musician be successful and rich in the monetary sense, and they give up trying to do music for more "purer" reasons.
A main example I give on this is my best friend, James, and his cousin who is a bit younger than him. James has been playing music for over 20 years, but never once went for a record label or for fame or fortune. Overall calm and collected dude that garners respect in a different way.
Now enter his younger cousin, Brady. Brady wants to do music not because James has done it. Oh, no; he wants to do it because he saw, and I quote, "Justin Bieber being surrounded by women and money and everything I wouldn't mind at all." Brady did not continue music after a year of playing it. Why? Because he noticed no one was paying attention to him. He kept on going for power and greed, and it cost him.
Now, I am not saying that one shouldn't quit music if it isn't doing well for them, nor am I stating that they should give up their dreams with music if they don't suddenly become famous for it. I am solely stating that going for music JUST for fame or fortune is a very bad idea.
And the grand reason most who decide to try music give it up overall is:
1. "I don't want anyone to make fun of me for it"/"I will get bullied if I do this ever again"/"So many have put me down for music. Why bother anymore?"
It truly breaks my heart when others are messed with for their tastes in music when they are just starting out with it. Plenty of friends and family just gave it up because too many criticized them and ridiculed them and shunned them because they went for music. For quite a few of these folks, that has only ended badly. It's caused the ending of lives, the ending of relationships, the start of pain and misery and woe, the lowering of self-esteem, the wanting of a way to make it right, a needing for others' support which they will never have.
I myself remember going through guitar and music before and getting picked on for it. I remember all those times of actually crying myself to feeling better, and if that didn't work, music was there for support when no one else was. I remember feeling so much negativity and anger and grief and sorrow that I almost did give up music overall. But what pulled me out of it? What pulled me through it? Music did. Music brought back old friends that had moved away; it brought family closer together; it brought all the hecklers to reconsider and just move past it all; it brought peace of mind and happiness and self-esteem and the ability to take criticism well. Music has done so much for me, for everyone around me, for anyone really. That is its magic, its saving grace: it heals and helps.
With this list, there are many exceptions to the reasons that are legitimate or decent to have. All that is to be taken from this list is, there is always other options. There are always more chances, if one looks hard enough for them. There IS a light at the end of the tunnel, and it looks to have songs and music with it.