#1
Over the past week or so I have started down the path of learning finger style. My instructor has given me some song/exercises to start building the style and technique. I have found it to be mentally exhausting. I can practice for an hour, and I mean serious fully immersed practice and then wham my brain is done with playing and I'm mentally exhausted. Does anyone else experience that same type of mental fatigue?
#2
I get mentally fatigued from mental practice. :p
But seriously, it could be the amount of focus you're putting in.
#3
I've experienced it occasionally when I've been intensely focused on something for too long. Just remember to take breaks and try to remember to do it before you get to that exhausted state. Get up and walk around, stretch out, get something to drink, go outside, etc.
#4
Yes, that's normal. It is completely normal and healthy to get mentally worn down after an hour of intense focus. I've heard it said that if you don't need to stop after an hour, you aren't really practicing.

If you're trying to do more than one hour practice in a day, just try to break up your time into blocks and add variety so you stay fresh. I usually do stuff in 45-60 minute blocks, and work on different stuff with each session.
#5
Geez dude, it's playing guitar not telekinesis. Nah, it's important to rememeber to have fun with it. Usually when I let it get to me in that way, or just become frustrated I read a book to clear my head.
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#6
Totally natural man. Whenever I notice I'm starting to lose focus or become tired, I either put on a jam track and just improvise for a while to have fun, completely switch what I'm practicing for like 10-15 minutes (so if you're practicing finger picking, do something else like practicing chord progressions) or I'll go do something that doesn't require much focus like watching 15-30 minutes of TV.
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#7
That happens to me when I am studying some particularly strange electronics concept or writing music. It's amazing how exhausting it can be to sit in one place sometimes.
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#8
Yes, quite normal.
I like what cdgraves said - if you don't need to stop after an hour, you aren't really practicing" - but I'd put it slightly differently:
Keep practising until either (a) it starts to hurt (mentally or physically), or (b) you get bored. Then stop.

That might be after half an hour, an hour, or it might be hours on end (until you fall asleep maybe). Doesn't matter. The point is to stop at that point, because you learn nothing useful beyond that. Take a rest and come back.

If it happens after 5 minutes, then you know you're doing something wrong. (And that might be something as basic as "learning the guitar" )

You're also doing something wrong if you get bored before it starts to hurt.
Last edited by jongtr at Nov 17, 2015,
#9
Quote by bigrewards
Over the past week or so I have started down the path of learning finger style. My instructor has given me some song/exercises to start building the style and technique. I have found it to be mentally exhausting. I can practice for an hour, and I mean serious fully immersed practice and then wham my brain is done with playing and I'm mentally exhausted. Does anyone else experience that same type of mental fatigue?


That's perfectly normal - fingerstyle guitar is much more intricate than regular playing and when you're starting out it's mental gymnastics to keep track of everything going on. The good news is that eventually you will only get mentally exhausted after several hours of playing if you keep practicing. I recommend 15 minute minute breaks every hour.
#10
Burn out generally occurs at the 20 minute mark so as many have suggested 15 mins max for practice.

Understand there is a difference between playing and practice. Practice, the way I define it is concentration on one skill or goal for the entire time. The goal of practice is the improvement of that one particular skill to advance your playing.

Mix in the "practice" within the session of playing guitar. Gives you relief from the frustration!
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