#1
hey guys,

I go to a psychologist, and have been for a few months now.

We've been talking about a lot of things, music/guitar being one of them.

i'm going to berklee school of music for a 5 week camp in July, and I practice guitar obsessively . What I mean by that is, I sometimes go 3-4 days without leaving my room... I also haven't seen a girl my age since school ended cause I never leave the house/room.

Whenever I tell people that I actually DO NOT plan on being a professional musician, or want to, they act really surprised because of how much time/money/resources i put into it.

Even before my psychologist suggested it, I had thoughts about whether I even liked guitar/music, or that maybe it was just a way to pass the time and give me something to do because I don't like other people at my school and stuff like that.

But today, we talked about it in more depth, and my psychologist had an insight. Previously we've talked about how I pre-judge people, and because of that, I may feel like everyone is judging me. And because I may feel like others are always judging me, I feel that the only to not get judged is to isolate myself in my room etc etc...

But today what he said was very interesting, he suggested that perhaps the reason I spend so much time with guitar, and how i'm actually obsessed with it (obsessed in the real, dictionary definition), is because I'm afraid of others thinking I'm a bad guitarist. So basically I practice my ass off to prevent being thought of as a bad guitarist.

So today, of course this is all on some sort of subconscious level, but I decided that perhaps I don't have a passion for music (which i've been thinking for a while), but instead I have an obsession with music (obsession, once again in the dictionary definition meaning.)


I was just wondering what you guys thought about this and If you'd like to share/comment/advise me, I'd appreciate it.

-Kevin L.
#2
I think you and your psychologist are looking entirely too much into this.
He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt.
He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice.


Remember: A prudent question is one half of wisdom.

Click.
#3
Quote by Resiliance
I think you and your psychologist are looking entirely too much into this.



how so? also, like i get super pissed off if i don't improve every single week and **** like that. like i said, i'm obsessive. and like, even without a reason, I practice 16th notes with my metronome for like 2 hours sometimes... idk i just feel like i gotta improve for some reason even though I don't wanna do it as a job or anything.
#4
To be honest, very simply -

do you think you practice to avoid being though of as a bad guitarist?

I understand how you can practice endlessly without career aspirations, but do you have musical aspirations? Do you want to play/compose really well or are you practicing as an way of finding a discipline to focus the mind? Not that that's a bad thing - many people practice a martial art without ever hitting someone in anger.
#5
my advice is to lock all of your guitars in a closet for a week and go out and have a good time, then start practicing again but limit yourself to one hour a day, then maybe two after a few weeks of that, of course you can practice more with the Berklee thing, but at home just try to limit yourself and make sure you go out and do other things once in awhile.

and also theres nothing wrong with practicing for hours on end with no professional aspirations, but it sounds like you could be using it as some sort of coping mechanism maybe.
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#6
i know nearly exactly how you feel. Since i got serious about guitar, around four years ago, thats all i seem to do in my spare time and since leaving school, i have hardly left my bedroom, i just sit down with a guitar and record stuff, then delete it when it doesnt meet my high standard. although 3-4 days is pretty impressive, i have been told that my record is 21 hours of non stop guitar, as i don't seem to one, know where i am, how long i've been there or remember anything when i come out. i think, like you, it stems from people telling me that i was a terrible guitarist/bassist.

it was at its worst when i was 15, because there was this guy in my band who wouldn't stop humiliating me in front of our mutual friends, telling everyone how crap i was and spreading rumours about me. i used to stay most of the day in my music practice rooms with my bass and a computor, going over theory for hours until it lodged in my brain.

but even though what he said and did was horrible (before our first gig, he tuned all my strings to G, so whatever i played sounded awful. that was the night i quit, after the first song because i realised what he had done, as all of his friends were laughing at me. i just walked offstage with my bass and walked home) i believe it has made me a better player. and for that really, i can't thank him enough. now i have people begging for lessons and esteemed guitarists telling me how great i am, at only 16.

well, i've got to thank you as well, Zephyr, because this is one of the only times i've been able to put down my feelings and explain how i felt. sorry for the novel, but its made me feel one hell of a lot better, thank you.

x Stud x
#7
Quote by Freepower
To be honest, very simply -

do you think you practice to avoid being though of as a bad guitarist?

I understand how you can practice endlessly without career aspirations, but do you have musical aspirations? Do you want to play/compose really well or are you practicing as an way of finding a discipline to focus the mind? Not that that's a bad thing - many people practice a martial art without ever hitting someone in anger.



that's a good way to put it, "discipline to focus the mind"... i'm not sure. perhaps. I feel like i want to learn how to compose and stuff, I took private theory tutoring one every week or two all of last year to learn harmony and ****, but since all 'reflection' and stuff, I honestly can't say whether I just do it to 'do it', or if i actually enjoy it.
#8
I think this is a great thred that we should keep going - a change to write down our 'emotional' crap, that usually isn't really talked about with musicians, or especially shredders and ****.


I think it would be ****ing awesome to be like, 30s maybe 40s and be a ****ing kick-ass guitarist. Like just mind-blowing. But I just think to myself, when i'm older, do i want to think about how great I am at music and stuff (in a good way, not like egotistical), or do i want to say that i actually went outside and hung out with people in high school.

I'll be a junior in high school next year, and so far I've barely socialized with anyone, all i do is sit alone and play guitar. And while it may 'pay off' or something, I still spend some of the best years of my childhood/young adulthood by myself, for hours upon hours. it just makes me think about guitar/music in a new way...
#10
Quote by Freepower
^ well, do you play, or just practice? Is there a time you explore your instrument without demanding the "best" from yourself?



yes, of course i spend time just messing around with my delay pedal trying to get funny noises, or just jamming over jamtracks. you know, like stuff like putting electric toothbrushes near the pickups and stuff hahahaha. yeah i just mess around, but most of the time, i'm just reading my theory books or trying to get a few more BPMs on the ol' metronome...
#11
Eddie Van Halen talked about his brother going off and getting laid while he, Eddie, played guitar for eight hours. Start a band and don't wear a shirt.
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#13
yeah maybe also yo should try writing your own composistions instead of dong technical exercises and just dicking around all the time.
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#14
Quote by Freepower
Do you keep a practice journal?



not really, but I remember how many BPMs I'm at and stuff. a few months ago i was at 80-90 BPMs solid (16th notes), and now i'm around 120-130 BPMs. I also have books, and i just read a few chapters every now and then, and when i'm done, i get a new book, or read that one over again. I also keep a list on my computer of stuff i want to work on, and i update the list every few weeks.

like right now it says:

metronome above 115BPM
Bend with Pinky (bad habbit; i never learned to bend with pinky)
Learn alot of chords (for Berklee)
Do some Creative Guitar (Guthrie Govan's book)
Learn Wonderful Slippery Thing and Flight over Rio (by Guthrie Govan and then Al Di Meola)
#15
Quote by Kid_Thorazine
yeah maybe also yo should try writing your own composistions instead of dong technical exercises and just dicking around all the time.



I dont' really like writing music, I just like improvising and learning chords and stuff.


I probably spend 2-4 hours a day improving over a bunch of jamtracks I have of different styles and key signatures.

I was in a band last year, and we wrote originals, but that died cause drummer left.
#16
all right, i gotta go to sleep, I'll comment more if anyone else leaves more comments tomorrow when i wake up.

later
#17
Quote by Zephyr77
how so? also, like i get super pissed off if i don't improve every single week and **** like that. like i said, i'm obsessive. and like, even without a reason, I practice 16th notes with my metronome for like 2 hours sometimes... idk i just feel like i gotta improve for some reason even though I don't wanna do it as a job or anything.


So you're a perfectionist... Been there, done that.

Quote by Zephyr77
I dont' really like writing music, I just like improvising and learning chords and stuff.


I probably spend 2-4 hours a day improving over a bunch of jamtracks I have of different styles and key signatures.

I was in a band last year, and we wrote originals, but that died cause drummer left.


Improvisation is writing.
He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt.
He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice.


Remember: A prudent question is one half of wisdom.

Click.
#18
Quote by Resiliance



Improvisation is writing.



Yes it is, that's how we have a lot of great jazz tunes.
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#19
Do you have fun playing (this much)?

What if you look back on yourself five years from now, are you happy with what you did? Would you feel proud and do it all over again or would you rather do it over again and 'do' more?
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#20
i shall be stating the obvious here, but i shall risk it anyway. i think the key question for you to figure out is your intention and motive behind practicing guitar all the time. once you know your intention then you can figure out whether you feel you need to change your behaviour or not.

you may, for example, be practicing so heavily because you feel that you really want to floor people when they see you play. you want them to think that you are an amazing guitarist. if that's your true intention then fine, keep practicing.

you may be practicing so much because you feel you don't have the tools you need to express your emotions on the guitar. in that case i'd say keep practicing hard, but do more improvisation and composition exercises than technical exercises. in this way you learn the methods for expressing yourself and you make use of your technical skill.

you may be practicing because you want to develop yourself as an artist and feel that the only way you could do so is by constant practice. i think this is a big mistake. playing music, writing books, painting pictures, and all manner of artistic ventures rely upon the artist's growth and depth of emotion. which thereby means that emotional and personal developments must also accompany any new knowledge/technical ability you may acquire through exercises and theory. it is my opinion that getting out and doing other things, not even necessarily meeting other people (although it's a definite plus), just doing something different. go see a movie. read a book that has nothing to do with music. go swimming. go for a hike. go look at some art. paint a picture. do something NEW that you have never done before. this will challenge you as a person just as learning a new song on the guitar challenges you as a guitar player. hopefully this will develop you and further your ability to express yourself.

finally you may be sequestering yourself in an effort to avoid people. why would you avoid people? do they get in the way? do they challenge you too much? are the people that live near you generally unpleasant? i do not think that it is healthy to do any activity for a prolongued period of time as a coping mechanism. that type of behaviour develops a dependency and thus will knock a person out of balance. dependency leads to patterned and predictable behaviour, which means that the person stuck in that pattern is never challenged and never changing because they are afraid of the patterns (it is for that reason that the coping activity was started in the first place!).

just some things to think about. and if you think i'm full of ****, that's fine too. just be honest with yourself.
#21
If you practice to escape reality or to avoid socialization, you may end up very lonely in 30 yrs.
#22
Just a reminder for everyone - psychiatry was based off the theories of a bunch of cokeheads. Make of that what you will. And yes, I'm aware the TS said he was seeing a psychologist and not a psychiatrist.

That being said:
I understand the way you feel about not having contact with people. I actually don't leave the house for social related things. People are shit and thus I avoid them.

You have to decide whether you're happy the way you've been going. Since I fucking hate most people I'm more than happy to be a recluse. But that's me. Are you happy being shut up in your room with a guitar?


I have here a short list of things you should or shouldn't do at your own discretion.

Do something completely and totally out of character for yourself. Something wholly random and bizarre. Something that people will look at you sideways for. And when they do look at you funny and ask you what the hell you're doing, tell them "I'm doing what I want to." Fuck what other people think, you know? They aren't you, they don't run your life, and their opinions are only worth what value you yourself give them. And the people who aren't assholes will realize that and respect you for it.

Go join another band. Playing with others is the best way to improve as a musician, rather than just being a better guitarist.

Pick up a new hobby. Skateboarding is pretty fun, and is a form of physical art. Ditto with extreme running/parkour running, or BMX biking, or even fruitbooting. Start collecting bugs maybe. Learn another language. Hell, buy some drums or a xylophone or some really off the wall instrument.

Take up meditation.

Go on a trip. Just pick somewhere you've always kinda wanted to go... and go.

Buy a digital camera. Go to town with it.

Limit the amount of time a day you play guitar. Maybe only play ever other day, or only play for two hours a day. Hell, roll dice to see how much a day you can play.


In any case these are just the bullshit ramblings of a basement dwelling lunatic. In the end, do what makes you happy. What's the point of living if you aren't happy with your life?
#23
i think of my guitar playing like this. i am starting to practice about 3 hours a day because i want to go to berklee and major in performance. no. i could either
A) spend my high school like practicing guitar and it taking me somewhere, so when i get out of college, make a band, ill have a hell of a time performing for thousands of people, and doing something that i love.
or
B) i could go have fun with my friends for a little while, not go to college, and have a ****ty time doing a ****ty job and come home stressed out hating life.
thats just how i look at it so. others may look at it differently
#24
Quote by thespian948
i think of my guitar playing like this. i am starting to practice about 3 hours a day because i want to go to berklee and major in performance. no. i could either
A) spend my high school like practicing guitar and it taking me somewhere, so when i get out of college, make a band, ill have a hell of a time performing for thousands of people, and doing something that i love.
or
B) i could go have fun with my friends for a little while, not go to college, and have a ****ty time doing a ****ty job and come home stressed out hating life.
thats just how i look at it so. others may look at it differently


or you could try in school/college and university and become an accountant/lawyer etc.

"The mind is its own place, and in itself

Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n"

- John Milton, Paradise Lost
#25
Quote by thespian948
i think of my guitar playing like this. i am starting to practice about 3 hours a day because i want to go to berklee and major in performance. no. i could either
A) spend my high school like practicing guitar and it taking me somewhere, so when i get out of college, make a band, ill have a hell of a time performing for thousands of people, and doing something that i love.
or
B) i could go have fun with my friends for a little while, not go to college, and have a ****ty time doing a ****ty job and come home stressed out hating life.
thats just how i look at it so. others may look at it differently



so you honestly think that you'll be able to play in front of "thousands" even if you're a good musician? it takes more than just being good...

also, what happened the option of going to college and majoring in something you like besides music haha
#26
Quote by hedspase
If you practice to escape reality or to avoid socialization, you may end up very lonely in 30 yrs.



I'm very lonely now... haha
#27
Quote by thespian948
i think of my guitar playing like this. i am starting to practice about 3 hours a day because i want to go to berklee and major in performance. no. i could either
A) spend my high school like practicing guitar and it taking me somewhere, so when i get out of college, make a band, ill have a hell of a time performing for thousands of people, and doing something that i love.
or
B) i could go have fun with my friends for a little while, not go to college, and have a ****ty time doing a ****ty job and come home stressed out hating life.
thats just how i look at it so. others may look at it differently


if you even have one iota of belief that your "A" option is plausible you're incredibly INCREDIBLY delusional. most bands and musicians that make it big just luck out and happen to be at the right place and right time. there are lots of incredibly talented local bands where i live and about once every 5-10 years one of them makes it, like REALLY makes it. the last one was Drowning Pool and that was back in '99 i think. before that was Pantera.
#28
Quote by Zephyr77
so you honestly think that you'll be able to play in front of "thousands" even if you're a good musician? it takes more than just being good...

also, what happened the option of going to college and majoring in something you like besides music haha


i suck at school. i have a tutor for almsot every class im taking..and i still get D's. im ranked like 498 of 514 people in my class. i cant imagine me doing anything that doesnt involve music. so its the only chance i have.

also, im not saying i AM going to be in front of thousands of people. idc how many people i play in front of as long as i can make a living off of it.
#29
My advice,
go playing outside, if you practise as much as you do, you must have at leat for nice songs that you can pull off pefectly.
i dont mean busking(unless you want to) but just go out in to a local park a bench in a nice part of your city/town and just play.
You are free to do what we tell you.
#30
this is a ridiculous topic, your social skills have absolutly nothing to do with the theory behind music.

That being said;
I consider myself a good guitar player, im happy with my ability to play the instrument.

I never sat in a room, just playing guitar all day.

A huge thing that makes you a better guitarist, is playing with OTHER people, the art of jam is what music is all about.. for me atleast.

I think you should follow some of the advice given in a few posts above me, start doing something with your time dude, besides sitting by yourself playing guitar.

Go hit up some open jams, post on craigslist to find someone to jam with.
#31
Music started as a jam-type thing anyway, back in the caveman era, it was not a competition. It was also used in churches and to tell stories.

I think that in the end writing great songs is the most important thing. Your experiences away from your guitar is what shapes your compositions anyway.