Greetings GT!

So i quit my job two weeks ago, since i am taking the summer off before starting my studies at music school. Needless to say, since i am not working anymore i have had much more time to practice (instead of 1-2 hours i now practice 3-5 hours), and at first it was doing wonders for my playing, but now i have faced a problem.

Last couple of days i haven't been able to play well at all, my picking hand starts to feel fatigued during my warm up (which is now basically only those 1234, 1342 etc finger independence exercises), and i am not even playing up to tempo at all. Quite the contrary, i am playing at a very, very slow tempo to form good habits in regards to motions and fingering right now. I know this is not the result of tension or pain or anything like that, because i always make sure to practice with a very relaxed technique.

It's strange, because a week ago i could play the bebop heads i have been working on up to tempo but now i am down to half tempo.

Is it that i have been playing too much lately and need a week off? It is a bit worrisome since i know that i will be doing this sort of physical playing a lot when starting my studies this fall, and if i don't have the endurance to play 5 days a week i might not be able to keep up.

Anyone had any similar situations? Should i keep practicing at the very slow tempos or should i take some time off? I'm just afraid the time off will result in me taking two steps down the ladder of progress.

Thanks for your time.
Take a week off. The cause of this is most likely over-practicing at this moment, if you just out of the blue double your practice sessions it will be more demanding on your technique.

I am also assuming you are working more on your weaknesses now that you have more time, and sometimes working much on your weaknesses burns you out really quickly. It happened to me back in the day when i started focusing more on fixing my inside picking that was really holding me back, i got tired twice as fast as when working on outside picking stuff.

Just take a few days/a week of playing and focus on other stuff instead. You mentioned Bebop heads so i assume you are a jazz fan, start transcribing stuff with your voice this week and you will have tons of things to work on when you get back to the guitar. Or maybe make playlists with different versions of the tunes you are learning. Work on your reading skills. Take time to listen through that record you have been meaning to get to etc.

Take some time from the guitar and let your hand recover, you will also come back with more desire to play. Regarding the school thing, you won't be playing 5-8 hours straight when studying. You will have music theory classes, ear training classes, listening classes etc, so don't worry about becoming burnt out, your hands will be allowed the time to rest. And the teachers at those schools (in my experience) understands when you should and shouldn't play, so if you are feeling numb in one hand you will be able to sit out on a few tunes.

Take a weeks vacation, not only from your job, but from the guitar as well.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

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