Do you wonder ever if it's all worth it?

A "classroom" environment for exchanging Technical Questions & Answers, How-To's, music theory concepts, etc.
glassynails
Posts: 5608
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:20 am
Location: Westbrook, Maine

Do you wonder ever if it's all worth it?

Post by glassynails » Fri Sep 06, 2013 10:22 pm

Not to be depressing, but do you ever wonder if all the effort we put into practicing, etc is worth it? I mean, sometimes I feel like I'm "wasting" a lot of time that I could be doing other things and that the end result is not really worth it, especially after finally getting a piece "mastered", etc. I don't mean to depress people, but I feel like this a lot lately.

I have a love for the music and could never envision giving up cg, but I think sometimes I'm overdoing it, especially on my days off. I even play at night a lot when I'm not really in the mood and am tired, but I still try and play things.

Another problem I have is the end result. I've recorded quite a bit for my YT channel and that's always my ultimate goal because I don't perform anywhere, so other than YT I have no real audience, save for myself and sometimes I wonder really "what all the effort is for". To have 100 songs at my disposal?? It would be nice, but is it worth all the "hub bub" and sacrifice?? Then there's the "getting tired of pieces" syndrome after putting in all the effort.

It's not the end, I just need a readjustment. I'm trying to lessen my pool of pieces and that's hard to do, cause I love them all really. I don't want to spend the majority of my days off trying to maintain 40 to 50 pieces anymore that's for sure. I enjoy playing, but there's other things in life to do.

I wished in a way that I could just concentrate on maybe 2 or 3 pieces ONLY, say for example, La Catedral, Cadiz, and then RDLA and that's it! What I would do is work these pieces until I became really good at them, more than good and then record them, my ultimate goal anyways. Save for that I don't see much of a purpose in trying to maintain everything. Once it's recorded to my satisfaction, it's done! I can safely dispose of it. If I remember it and can play it from memory than so be it, if not then "Oh well, it's already been recorded."

Life is good and cg and the music is, but I need to stop and smell the roses once in a while.

I think I've discovered one thing actually ..... I need balance. :wink:

Would it actually be feasible to only play 5 pieces for a while? I mean like 5 months or so and that's it. What about 2 pieces everyday for 4 months straight, just to see what happens?? :D

Maybe I'd be able to "play them in my sleep" and finally get real "good" at a piece!
"GLASSYNAILS" on Youtoob for my "no edit" - "no fakery" audio recordings. Just me, my Alhambra 7p spruce, and an Olympus ls-10 portable recorder.

glassynails
Posts: 5608
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:20 am
Location: Westbrook, Maine

Re: Do you wonder ever if it's all worth it?

Post by glassynails » Sat Sep 07, 2013 1:28 am

After I posted this I just had some new thoughts on the subject and have concluded that only playing a select few pieces is not the answer either. What's the point of playing 3 pieces over and over? Especially if I'll also forget those at some point if I neglect them? I think a better answer is to organize what I play and maybe just do run throughs (read/play throughs) of pieces that I know fairly well and stop learning so many new pieces.

It's tough though, for example just last night I discovered a piece that I've heard before, but have never really noticed and recall Segovia playing and it's very beautiful and accessible to me. I actually have it in my Segovia book entitled "Para obras Guitar Vol. 3". It's a piece by Mendelsshon entitled ..... I actually forget now, but Tarrega originally transcribed it I think and it's in E Major and starts of with an ascending E Major arpeggio, it's beautiful.

Then of course, there's the beautiful "Romanza" in E minor by Mendelsshon that's in my Tarrega "Complete Early Spanish Editions" book. It's really easy and beautiful; one of those pieces you can pretty much just read and play through with not too much practice, very worth it.

To many wonderful pieces to abandon completely.

Like I said the answer to me is to find pieces that I want in my rep. that are easy enough to read through with not too much effort. A short list would be:

1. Luis Milans Pavans (easy read/play pieces)
2. Tres Canciones Populares (Ponce) (read through fairly easy)
3. A number of Tarrega pieces I can easily play read through - Rosita - Lagrima - Marietta - Romanza - Adelita - RDLA - Gran Vals
4. A few pieces from Castles of Spain
5. Prelude BWV 998
6. Murcia Prelude and Allegro (pujol)
7. Villa lobos Prelude 1. Prelude 3, Prelude 5
8. Barrios - La Catedral


This is of course a very abbreviated list, but some pieces I want to work on. Like I said the first 5 lines, I can easily just sight read and play through. Lines 7 and 8 take more maintenance though.

Like someone else said, a better approach is a cycle of sorts with a list of pieces that I can "easily read/play through" to maintain and then another list with more difficult "work on" type pieces. Maybe that's the answer.

I can't just give up all those "sweet" litte pieces like "Adelita", Grieg Waltz in A minor, Mendelsshon Romanza, etc .....

Actually the Romantic pieces are "where it's all at". Those are piece I can live for and never tire of.
"GLASSYNAILS" on Youtoob for my "no edit" - "no fakery" audio recordings. Just me, my Alhambra 7p spruce, and an Olympus ls-10 portable recorder.

User avatar
henry dumay
Posts: 114
Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 6:00 pm
Location: Katy, Tx (near Houston)

Re: Do you wonder ever if it's all worth it?

Post by henry dumay » Sat Sep 07, 2013 4:37 pm

Hi G-Nails,

At the age of 75, and playing 50 years, I also wonder if it has been worth it.
But i continue on, often frustrated by the fact that I now know I will never be
able to play like my long lost dreams. Each day I think, what the hell can I play today
that I haven't struggled thru a thousand times before.

I have found that if I follow the method you mentioned of playing a few pieces for
a much longer time and ignoring the others.. it seems to help. Especially several
pieces or all of a suite. At present I am deep into Mompou's Suite Compostelana.
Here we have 6 pieces each with a different character but fitting smoothly together.
Different tempos, rich harmonies ... it keeps me interested and not so frustrated (for awhile).

Good luck,
Henry............... :bye:
2000 Olivo Chiliquinga Grand Concert (Equador)

User avatar
lucy
Posts: 1855
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2008 8:33 pm
Location: England

Re: Do you wonder ever if it's all worth it?

Post by lucy » Sat Sep 07, 2013 4:44 pm

glassynails wrote: Another problem I have is the end result. I've recorded quite a bit for my YT channel and that's always my ultimate goal because I don't perform anywhere, so other than YT I have no real audience, save for myself and sometimes I wonder really "what all the effort is for". To have 100 songs at my disposal?? It would be nice, but is it worth all the "hub bub" and sacrifice?? Then there's the "getting tired of pieces" syndrome after putting in all the effort.
Hi glassy

Is there a local guitar society near you that you could join? These groups often have sessions where members play to each other and it's nice to meet up with fellow CGs too. You Tube is fun, but performing for people in real life, is even better! It also puts your abilities to the test in a way nothing else does.

Your post reminds me a bit of myself. I used to be so keen that I too took on a large amount of pieces and tried to play them, as best I could. However, eventually, I began to find it draining, so I lost motivation. Then, rather than taking it easy for a bit, I instead became impatient for progress, at a time when I could least facilitate this! The enjoyment began to leave me and I realised something was wrong.

I don't know whether you saw my thread, entitled "Burn Out", in Public Space, but I talked about it there and people were very kind and supportive.

I'm just wondering if similar cracks are appearing in your hobby? Believe me, I never thought I'd have a problem with my passion for CG, but it happened, all the same.

Personally, I would cut down the number of pieces you are playing and set yourself some immediate goals - goals you can see yourself achieving, in a fairly short period of time. This will break it down into manageable chunks.

I've started to do this myself and I'm now on a upward path, (for the first time in a while), and making definite improvements! For me, seeing these improvements and making a better job of playing music, is bringing back my enjoyment, which is what it's all about, at the end of the day.
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”. Theodore Roosevelt

User avatar
Michael
Posts: 2906
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2005 12:15 pm
Location: England

Re: Do you wonder ever if it's all worth it?

Post by Michael » Sat Sep 07, 2013 4:57 pm

henry dumay wrote:...playing 50 years, I also wonder if it has been worth it.
But i continue on, often frustrated by the fact that I now know I will never be
able to play like my long lost dreams. Each day I think, what the hell can I play today
that I haven't struggled thru a thousand times before.

I have found that if I follow the method you mentioned of playing a few pieces for
a much longer time and ignoring the others.. it seems to help. Especially several
pieces or all of a suite. At present I am deep into Mompou's Suite Compostelana.
Here we have 6 pieces each with a different character but fitting smoothly together.
Different tempos, rich harmonies ...
Henry, I am very much the same as you... 50 years of playing, but still very much the eternal beginner.

I know that even with lessons, I would not improve much further than the standard I am today.

I can only manage to learn one of Mompou's Suite Compostelana (Coral) at a time. I love the whole Suite (some of my favourite pieces).
I, too, minimise the number of pieces I play. In fact, I play my chosen few so much that my wife knows them so initimately and exactly where I go wrong... many times. :lol:

I just love the guitar for better or worse, just accept and enjoy what I can do and marvel at the masterpieces that others effortlessly play on this talent filled forum. :merci:
All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff.
(Frank Zappa)

Remarc

Re: Do you wonder ever if it's all worth it?

Post by Remarc » Sat Sep 07, 2013 5:18 pm

Maybe you can also see it like a jogger. He runs and runs and runs, but never arrives at a destination. Nevertheless, he runs every day. Why? Because the target is running.

Similarly, we should probably see it playing the guitar. It is not a question that we reach a certain standard. The point is that we can indulge in one of the best hobbies daily.

I'm also not a really good guitar player, but am looking forward to playing every day on my beloved instrument.

The journey is the destination.

Best regards
Remarc

soltirefa
Posts: 1473
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2006 3:59 am
Location: Southern California

Re: Do you wonder ever if it's all worth it?

Post by soltirefa » Sat Sep 07, 2013 6:44 pm

The Dabbler, The Stressor, and The Master.

Just looking at the titles, of course we all recognize where we want to be. But, what does it take to become a Master?

First, let’s review the Dabbler and the Stressor.

A Dabbler, by nature, is one who enjoys variety. But that is only a façade to the truth. The Dabbler is excited to learn new things, and basks in the ability to learn quickly—quickly to a point.

When learning something new, understanding the basics happens “PDQ,” which results in immediate improvement. The article mentions that people like this tend to master 30% of the skill very quickly. And, 0% to 30% is a dramatic change.

But when the next improvement is only a 21% increase (30% of the 70 remaining percent), the Dabbler feels a lack of self-improvement, looses interest, and quits.

The Stressor differs from the Dabbler in that he will push through the plateaus of life, and find ways to over come any obstacle. The Stressor will never quit—success is always the objective.

The problem with this path is the Stressor must always achieve—failure is not an option. (Who has heard that phrase before?)

Inevitably, the Stressor will burn out, and never enjoy success.

In short, Dabblers are quitters; Stressors are fighters.

Enter the Master.

The Master neither quits nor fights (…from the article, which I think is an eloquent way of summarizing a Master).

A Master is content with the learning process; both success and failure. By recognizing the small successes and learning from the failures, the Master gauges success on the previous day’s achievements—asking the question, “Am I better today, than I was yesterday?”

User avatar
Tomzooki
Posts: 1528
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2010 2:12 am
Location: Quebec city, Canada

Re: Do you wonder ever if it's all worth it?

Post by Tomzooki » Sat Sep 07, 2013 7:53 pm

Most people use their free time for watching football or soap-opera on TV, or play video games.... THAT is wasting time! :wink:
Benoît Raby, Engelmann sp/Ziricote
Yamaha GC-3A
11-strings alto guitar by Heikki Rousu, sp/indonesian RW

User avatar
muirtan
Posts: 1060
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 10:00 pm
Location: Norfolk, UK

Re: Do you wonder ever if it's all worth it?

Post by muirtan » Sat Sep 07, 2013 8:08 pm

Never!

My teacher is leading me on a fantastic musical journey, the guitar being a central part but not the only part. Along the way I've acheived things I never thought posible at the start of the journey and made many new friends.

glassynails
Posts: 5608
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:20 am
Location: Westbrook, Maine

Re: Do you wonder ever if it's all worth it?

Post by glassynails » Sat Sep 07, 2013 8:10 pm

Remarc wrote:Maybe you can also see it like a jogger. He runs and runs and runs, but never arrives at a destination. Nevertheless, he runs every day. Why? Because the target is running.

Similarly, we should probably see it playing the guitar. It is not a question that we reach a certain standard. The point is that we can indulge in one of the best hobbies daily.

I'm also not a really good guitar player, but am looking forward to playing every day on my beloved instrument.

The journey is the destination.

Best regards
Remarc
Thanks all and especially Remarc, I found this particularly helpful. I'm gonna keep reading music and playing. I can't see myself playing 5 pieces for the rest of my life. I think the cycle is the way to go. I think cycling through the pieces I want to get better at (and incidently what I've been doing) is the way to go and keeps me "well rounded". No I'm not a "master", nor maybe will be, but I've definitely improved my playing and sight reading over the years. I think I just need to take a little breather ..... not give up (can't do that), just take a few breaths here and there and maybe cut back a little on playing, especially on my days off.

I'm trying though to narrow what I'll concentrate on at one time. When I get tired of this "set", I could change up a few pieces to "concentrate" on, but have a larger group of pieces (maybe 50 or so) that is my "pool" to choose from. So pieces will go in and out of this "pool" of pieces that I enjoy working on.

Just work on trying to keep the "pool" under control (not too many new pieces).

As I get older though (40 yikes!) I find that I'm cherishing more the "important" and enjoyable pieces that I want to play, such as more Romantic pieces that Segovia played like Tarrega things and Chopin, Mendelsshon and so on. Not so much "difficult" pieces, but pieces that are very "lyrical" and harmonious are what I'm being drawn to lately. Pieces like Ponce's "Tres Canciones" that I always seem to come back to even after not playing for a year or two; and they're not too difficult to play. To me these are both fun and not so exhausting to play. I also enjoy though the pieces that require more energy, but I play them earlier in the day - Villa lobos etudes, Serenata Espanola, etc .....

My problem is I truly am in love with so many pieces!


I think though that there are different approaches in "practice" to take. For example, I can just sit down for an hour and play through all the pieces that I have memorized or even just the "parts" if I only have those memorized .... sort of "play whatever I can with no fussing about". This is good because it reinforces what I do remember and keeps it fresh in memory. This could be one practice session "type".

Another approach (less stressful - when tired, etc) is to concentrate on just "easy" pieces for the day or session, say after a long day at work and your tired, it may only be 15 or 20 minutes for example. So in that time I don't want to be stressing all out trying to learn new things, etc, I just want to read through something easy just to "warm-up" the fingers for the day - a "review" type day. So I could play through say, Milan's "Pavana I" and maybe Barrios' Prelude in C minor and then call it a day or if I feel like it I can add Adelita and maybe Lagrima and La Catedral Prelude if I have the energy!

So this particular day I was rather tired, BUT still accomplished reviewing (and reinforcing in memory)

1. Pavana 1 Milan
2. Barrios Prelude C minor
3. Lagrima - Adelita
4. La Catedral Prelude
5. Then time for bed .... or just relax and watch t.v ..... and maybe play through some Segovia scales!!

The 5 pieces could easily be reviewed and "run through" in maybe 20 minutes I'd say or less! That's not bad for one day really! I could even make up little "practice cards" of pieces that go well together like this (at least for practice reasons). I could have a "practice card" such as above for when I only have 20 minutes and am really tired and don't want to "work on" much, just want to "review".

I could make another "Easy Practice/Review Card 2" that contained say:

1. Grieg Waltz in A minor (Segovia)
2. Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Then "Easy Practice/Review Card 3"

1. Rosita
2. Gran Vals

these would be for those "tired" days when I only want to play for 15 or 20 minutes or up to half hour. Really, I wouldn't have to literally make "cards" though, I could just put all the "easier" pieces in a list and pick from them a couple or few for the session. This way I could see what I've got and what I have to work on on various days, etc, see what I might have neglected for a little while too.

The more difficult things that I'm trying to "work on" like Cadiz and Granada or even La Catedral Allegro Solemne I could save for days when I'm more energized and up to it, not when I'm exhausted, those days are just review, easy type days .... sip on tea and play a couple little easy pretty ones for the day ..... NO STRESS ZONE days!
"GLASSYNAILS" on Youtoob for my "no edit" - "no fakery" audio recordings. Just me, my Alhambra 7p spruce, and an Olympus ls-10 portable recorder.

Remarc

Re: Do you wonder ever if it's all worth it?

Post by Remarc » Sat Sep 07, 2013 8:42 pm

Hello Glassy,

I think you do not have to worry about what you want or need to play next. Simply flip in your notes or in your mind and play what corresponds exactly to your mood.

We don't have to make any money with it, right?

Best regards
Remarc

User avatar
Pierre330
Posts: 775
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:13 am
Location: Akron, OH

Re: Do you wonder ever if it's all worth it?

Post by Pierre330 » Sat Sep 07, 2013 9:23 pm

:bravo:

I agree 100%. Though I've been known to do scales with football on in the background:)
Tomzooki wrote:Most people use their free time for watching football or soap-opera on TV, or play video games.... THAT is wasting time! :wink:
Pierre

A painter paints pictures on canvas, but musicians paint their pictures on silence. - Leopold Stokowski

glassynails
Posts: 5608
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:20 am
Location: Westbrook, Maine

Re: Do you wonder ever if it's all worth it?

Post by glassynails » Sat Sep 07, 2013 10:12 pm

Remarc wrote:Hello Glassy,

I think you do not have to worry about what you want or need to play next. Simply flip in your notes or in your mind and play what corresponds exactly to your mood.

We don't have to make any money with it, right?

Best regards
Remarc
Exactly! What's all the fuss about? :lol:

I guess I'm just dying to be able to play all the pieces I love from memory, especially the smaller scale ones, but maybe some day it'll all come together. It's funny though that I always stress about forgetting pieces, but some of them only take a couple hours to get "going" again from memory. At one time I knew from memory Ponce's whole "Tres canciones Populares" and had forgotten them pretty much, but after a year of not playing them at all it only took me a couple hours to get them back under control. Tonight I could go home and play 1 and most of 3 out of my head without looking at the sheets.

There's nothing wrong with playing from the sheet, but for me I have to have it in memory to really start "playing" the piece, so that's all the fuss.
"GLASSYNAILS" on Youtoob for my "no edit" - "no fakery" audio recordings. Just me, my Alhambra 7p spruce, and an Olympus ls-10 portable recorder.

mcmurray

Re: Do you wonder ever if it's all worth it?

Post by mcmurray » Sun Sep 08, 2013 7:56 am

Glassy, do you have any clear musical goals? I've been burnt out many times in the past because of a lack of these.

About a year ago I resolved to get to a level that would enable me to study music at university (AMEB grade 6 in my case), and proceed to composing. This has helped me a lot.

Mick the Ramirez Man

Re: Do you wonder ever if it's all worth it?

Post by Mick the Ramirez Man » Sun Sep 08, 2013 8:20 am

Lots of good advice and analogies here. My wife & I love to travel and I look at the Classical Guitar like a journey. It's not only the destination that makes the trip worthwhile, but the journey itself. Finding a piece you want to learn, learning all the nuances of the music and finally mastering it are all parts of the whole experience. Enjoy the trip!
:cafe:

Return to “Classical Guitar Classes”