#1
This is a topic about a problem that I believe may be common among a lot of musicians, particularly those who haven't had success in establishing a career with music.

When I started playing guitar at the age of 17 I was very, very passionate about it. I'd play first thing in the morning, and then return to it throughout the day as soon as possible. I worked hard at a restaurant job I had, and spent my money to take lessons. Between that and constantly practicing at home, by the time I was 22 I could proudly say I was an advanced guitar player. I had amassed over $15,000 worth of equipment! I had Gibson guitars, Ibanez, Fender, all of 'em.

You know, I really, really loved guitar and music, man, and that passion was strong with me from 17 to 23. At that point, my life had changed dramatically. I lost my job, and I had to sell all of my equipment to have money to get by. Plus, my ex-girlfriend at the time was very demanding, and I didn't know any better when she told me I should sell my shit. Then I had some problems with drinking, which I've recovered from now but it was a damn hard time in my life. It left permanent marks on me for sure.

So, flash forward to now. I'm 29. I have a full-time career in management for a supermarket chain. It's a very demanding job, and I generally work 6 days a week, 50 to 60 hours per week. I'm in a committed relationship with an amazing woman, and we live together now. Much of my free time is spent with her and my family, whom I have limited time to see due to my job responsibilities. I've got bills, and I have to do grocery shopping, and I have to cook dinner, and ...well...

I have one acoustic guitar now, that I bought some time ago after not playing guitar for a long time. I probably play it three times a week at most, for about fifteen minutes. It seems to me that my passion for playing the guitar, and my passion for music in general, is still there somewhere. Some part of me still wants it. But at the same time... when I pick up that guitar, and start playing, I just don't feel what I did when I was 21. I don't feel what I did when I first started. Never mind the fact that I simply don't have time to play for hours a day like I used to. Hell, there's no such thing as weekends off for me where I can go out and jam. I work every weekend! Music, the music scene, the whole interest... man... it seems like a stranger to me now, and I don't know if I'm just being nostalgic about my early twenties or if I'm really missing an important part of me, but I want to get to know music and guitar again like I used to. I just don't think I can do it.

So, is there anyone out there facing the same problem with a loss of passion and/or a lack of time for guitar? Were you into it big-time like me and then faced similar life changes which diminished your passion? Did you go through a similar experience and then somehow find your passion again? If so, how?

Thanks for taking the time to read this! I'd be glad to hear other people's stories or advice on this situation.
#2
hum I don't know but the only time when I didn't feel like playing the guitar was when I was depressed.
if that's not what's happening to you here, you are probably giving away too much energy at work and are left tired without the will to do anything really guitar or anything else, I imagine that a lot of people who work a lot don't really focus on any other goals when off work, they are probably just tired and just want to relax and watch some porn or w/e. And this is wrong! your off time should be to work on your goals/passions, when you go to work for somebody else you are building their dreams, giving your workforce to help them reach their goals and ambitions and a lot of people forget their passions/ambitons in life at this point.
In your situation I get that it's hard working 50hours and having a social life but you can't have everything you have to make choices.
In school I had to chose between having good grades(never chose this one) ,playing videogames, guitar and social life. It's impossible to conciliate three of these unless you don't sleep.
when I was depressed at 17-19years old (for other reasons than guitar I think) there was nothing more I wanted to do with the guitar, I could play the songs I wanted, I couldn't find new songs to get into enough to go through the trouble of learning them. what got me back was that I worked in the summer and I thought fuck this I don't want to do this I have to find someway not to do this for too long and I started writing and trying to sing as well at this point which makes it harder to get bored, I can always write something new and learn great melodies I overlooked because the guitar parts where just some chords..
#3
Join a band dude, give yourself a reason to play.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#4
I don't have the drive that I used to either, but I've come to an equilibrium that I'm happy with. My band kinda fell apart a couple of years ago for various reasons (started getting harder and harder to get everybody together at the same time, loss of motivation, bassist/vocalist joined the military) and since then I don't actually pick up the guitar and learn songs or practice every day like I used to, just a few minutes here and there when the mood strikes me or I have an idea I have to get out, but for the most part I don't really play by myself anymore. However, a lot of my friends play guitar and whenever I go chill with them (probably once or twice every couple of weeks) I bring my acoustic and we'll jam some and have a good time, but it's not like it's the primary thing we're doing.

The first few years of playing were the easiest to stay motivated - even without a band or anyone to play with I would still practice every day, usually for many hours. Then for the 7 or so years I was with my band that was what kept me going. We had the extra push to get better because of the desire to be able to keep up with everyone else's progress. There was always some song or riff one of the band members had come with to learn and seeing all the stuff they're coming up with motivates you to come up with your own stuff, and it all turns into a positive feedback loop where you're motivating each other. Without other people to play with multiple days a week and a practice to be looking forward to and songs to be worked on all the time the drive just faded away. It's turned into a fun thing to do with friends instead of a driving burning passion, and I've come to a point now where I'm ok with that. In the future I may end up joining or forming another band, my passion may be reignited, but I'm not really concerned about it. I have other priorities right now, and music will always be there for me when I come back to it.


So basically, I agree with Alan 100%. Having other people to play with is a huge motivator. Finding a band or at least some friends to jam with will light a fire under your ass, but you have to be able to make the time for it.
#5
i went through a lot of the same stuff and i'm honestly glad i dodged the bullet. i spent so much money on equipment i never really intend to use. at best i'd like to join a shitty punk band and play weird stuff for free with some friends once i finish my degree and start teaching

music is a sinkhole. it's good to have an art, but you know your priorities by this point

it wouldn't hurt to play live again or just meet some people, jam out, and get involved in your local music scene, but i wouldn't recommend taking it too seriously.
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#6
This my opinion but I agree with AlanHB. The only time I didn't play much in the past 40 years was when I wasn't in a band and out playing gigs. Sometimes I get so busy with work (40-60 hours a week) that I don't have the mental energy to go out and play the gigs we have lined up but once I am there and playing it all changes and I still have a great time and enjoy it. The driving, the set up, the load out still suck but sandwiched in between is a great experience. As an example today is New Year's eve and I am playing 9:00 to 1;00 tonight, four 40 minute sets. Today I have been working my normal job since 8:00 this morning (just got done). To be honest right now I am not looking forward to playing but I know by the time we get started and the crowd gets going, I will be totally happy and into it.

If I didn't have a gig tonight, I wouldn't be sitting home playing guitar. There would be no need. I play because I am committed to doing it and I play with people who also feel the same way. We are committed to each other and we encourage each other. That is a commitment to myself and to my fellow players and is my motivation to keep playing. Nine times out of ten, I still love playing gigs and it keeps me wanting to play. (and pays for all the gear I buy.)
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Dec 31, 2016,
#7
^^^ I feel exactly the same way. If I wasn't in bands, I wouldn't play.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#8
Well, this has been pretty much the story of my life so far. I am also 29, started playing when I was 18, was really passionate during the beginning, even auditioned for Berklee, and then life happened, got involved in studies, job, marriage. My current job in management consulting eats up 50-60 hrs every week. Though I have Saturday and Sunday's off, I have household chores during the weekend. So, my motivation levels are not very high. But, I have picked up guitar again, and now I see myself as taking guitar 201; basically relearning things in a more correct manner and from a more mature perspective. I plan on covering Jody Fisher's Jazz Method (all 4 vols), in parallel learn Jazz Fusion instrumentals, work on ear training, in the hope that when am 35 (maybe 40), I am a decent Jazz fusion player. Playing in a band doesn't sound fun to me anymore; I look forward to learning advanced guitar/music-concepts and then find like minded players to jam with, and if there is motivation to form a band (we are good enough to write music that is world class), maybe I will. But as of now, am totally focused on reinventing myself as a guitar player. I plan on taking an hour out daily to practice. Will be spending more time over the weekend. Hopefully, will start going out and meet some players as well. Additionally, http://www.jazzadvice.com/ this is a great blog, which will answer many questions you might have. Cheers!
Last edited by rover99 at Jan 1, 2017,
#9
Great responses from every one. It seems like a common motivator is having a band to play with or gigs to attend. I can see how that can create a sense of responsibility or obligation, which is definitely a motivator. I've never had much luck in the music scene, most of the people I played with were crappy people with drug issues, or people who just didn't follow up. So I suppose it's going to take some hunting to find good people who are also willing to deal with my tight schedule. I think having other musicians in my midst might change my perception. I don't have "friends" that I "chill" with like I did when I was a younger lad... sort of moved on from that stuff! But if I had friends who were musicians, well, might be a different story. Thanks everyone.
#10
Great response. That is exactly how I feel about it. Yes, when you start or join a band it often (very often) includes some players who are more interested in the "rock and roll all night and party everyday" mentality and to them the music takes a backseat to the party attitude. Over a period of time you will make more connections and find the more serious minded players. The serious minded players are also looking for someone like you.

This may seem like a strange analogy but it's my personal observation. I have studied martial arts for 20 some years and I realized years ago that what I enjoy most is that while I am at a class and training my mind is totally focused on what we are doing. I don't think about work, home life, bills, my kids, nothing else. For that brief time, my mind is focused on the training. It's like a mini vacation from reality. I also have become very good friends with many of the people who I have known since I started my training. These are people that I would never have met or become friends with if I had not started or kept up my training. Often when I am hesitant about going to a class, I think about my friends who will be there and it motivates me to go. The same thing holds true even more for playing music with my band. When we are playing a gig I can often get lost in the music. It's like a form of meditation to me and when everything is sounding tight and the planets align on a musical level, it's the best drug in the world. While I am playing and singing all my concentration is directed to the music and my fellow players and them sending it back to me. It's another mini vacation from my day to day reality.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
#11
Mud Martian Again I agree with Jerry. The first bands you play with are generally made of amateurs like you. As you play more gigs and make friends in the music scene, you'll meet people who are talented and committed. Eventually it gets to the point where you make bands only of people already on the scene, people you know can do the job.

The upper echelon of any music scene is made of the same people in different configurations.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#12
The problem here is the dream of music as a profession: the idea that unless one can "make it" in the "business", there's no real point in noodling away on your own.

There is a happy medium though: playing with other musicians whenever you can, e.g., at local open mics or jam sessions. Entertaining friends or family, as informally as you like. Music is a social activity, and it's recreation. You don't have to be in a band, dreaming about "making it", going through all those stresses. If you can make money out of it, that's great, but you don't need to. (And there's a downside to music as a career anyhow; you've heard the saying "he who pays the piper calls the tune"... Be thankful you can play exactly what you like, whenever you like. No more, no less.)

Think of it like sport. It takes real commitment and passion to be professional. But you can still have a lot of fun as an amateur - still playing with passion! - and that can be rewarding enough. As Rick says about martial arts, it's a "vacation from reality" - immersing yourself in an activity that's totally absorbing, but nothing to do with making a living!

In fact - with music anyway - it's a different kind of "reality", arguably a deeper and more "real" one than "normal life". And - like I say - it's social: there's a meaning in playing with or for other people. It can be light-hearted and fun, but is still profound in a way. It matters. That's why we feel it so passionately. There's something music can do that nothing else can do. We seem to need it more in adolescence than any other time, but maybe that's only because other stupid stuff gets in the way later in life (trivial irritations such as work, family, etc... .)
#13
I'm th child of a music teacher. The moment I showed aptitude, it was settled that I would learn at least one instrument. Currently, I'm pretty proficient at voice, cello, guitar and can do a few things on my fretless bass.

I'm a lawyer, now, so free time has become a bit of an endangered species.

I still play, though, because for me, it was never about a career or even playing with others. For me, music is about self-expression and it's a refuge from pressure. Not that I play every day. Sometimes, a month or more passes without me getting to play. But I always do return.

Also, see here:
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/features/overcoming_guitarists_block.html
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#14
Quote by jongtr

Think of it like sport. It takes real commitment and passion to be professional. But you can still have a lot of fun as an amateur - still playing with passion! - and that can be rewarding enough. As Rick says about martial arts, it's a "vacation from reality" - immersing yourself in an activity that's totally absorbing, but nothing to do with making a living!


tbh i think becoming a musician actually made me less social. at least in the dallas scene, it's all weekend warriors in leather jackets getting shitfaced and playing shitty metal music

compound that with the fact that i've grown to not even really listen to music and i kinda regret that i ever took it up as a hobby. i've been seeing this chick who's really into latin dancing and i just can't fathom listening to the music, and when i do all i can hear is a bunch of numbers and intervals in my head, i find myself trying to figure out what they're using to program the drums, how they mixed it, etc., and there's just absolutely nothing fun or pure about it like there once was

i'm super depressing though so take any advice i give you with a grain of salt. or a shot of whiskey
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#15
Hail

Ehhh, too many of the better metal clubs in D/FW died off and became strip clubs or restaurants.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#16
honestly, i don't even like metal. but it's an easy genre for people who don't know anything about music to pick up, and pantera's from arlington, so naturally it's prevalent

but even the reverend horton heat show i went to a few months ago had a crappy pop punky band full of 40 year olds as an opener

and when i explore the rest of the local scene it's kids with flock of seagulls hair playing shoegaze and dreampop. i'm sure there's good country and tejano but i'm trying to pretend i'm not getting old

TS, idk how NJs local music scene is but from the little time i've spent up there i get the feeling it's not a lot more diverse. but i'll stop drunk-hijacking the thread to be depressing
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