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

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Paul Hammer

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

Post by Paul Hammer » Wed Oct 08, 2014 8:37 pm

Sorry, the book I mentioned above should read:-

'The open-focus brain' by Dr Les Fehmi (and not "Mehmi")

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

Post by Will95 » Wed Oct 08, 2014 9:47 pm

On the contrary- when I am not playing guitar, my thoughts start drifting to the next time when I CAN play guitar. In the last year I've had a bit of a renewed affair with the guitar- after completing my Grade 8 at a fairly young age I sort of felt 'done' (it's the highest grade here in the UK). I had always enjoyed it but never truly felt that passionate about it- I always slightly dreaded my lessons, which would pull me away from whatever I happened to be watching on TV at the time (I was only 14).

Then I came to university and suddenly had lots of spare time, and started playing more. I immersed myself in classical guitar- suddenly I opened my eyes to all the music outside of what I'd been restricted to in the grading process. I'd never heard the Bach suites, never listened to Barrios. Once I started listening to this stuff, I just started looking up the sheet music to pieces that grabbed my attention and started learning them. And now, after a year of hard, self-motivated practice, I can play a range of pieces with fluency; RDLA, 1007 Prelude, and I expect that by Christmas I'll have the 1006a Prelude fluent. I've got another half-dozen pieces in various states of completion, and plenty more on my eventual 'to-do' list. It's a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment I just don't get anywhere else, and I feel incredibly lucky to have a hobby I feel such genuine passion for; when I think of other people who don't have any major hobbies, I sort of wonder...mustn't life be so incredibly boring?!

So I guess what I'm saying is....yes, it's absolutely worth it. Time spent doing something you love isn't time wasted.

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

Post by Bill » Thu Oct 09, 2014 1:50 am

Is it worth it...of course it is or we wouldn't do it. It may mean different things to each of us at different times in our lives, but yes, it is definitely worth it.

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

Post by Jersey Devil » Fri Oct 10, 2014 11:09 pm

I love to fly fish. Some days though, I just can't get into it. I love to play guitar. Some days I just can't get into it. So I do something else. I do not put pressure on myself to do ANYTHING if I don't want to. I am not studying to be a virtuoso. So I don't have to force myself to study or play. And I am not about to win the Bassmasters Classic either. I fish for fun, I play for fun. Tough love glassynails: If your discouraged, do something the hell else!! And to those who think it's a waste to watch football or soap operas... get off your high horses and drop the stones, your house is probably made of glass.... don't criticize what others may find joy in...ya damn elitists

Petri Väisänen

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

Post by Petri Väisänen » Wed Oct 15, 2014 5:47 pm

I have not ever wondered if playing guitar and singing along is worth it since even if I'm bad at it my loved ones still like to hear live music. There is something magical how humans respond to live guitar playing and singing.

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

Post by Tony Hyman » Mon Oct 20, 2014 1:17 am

I enjoy just looking back at what seemed impossible before ,is now a accomplished and being able to see a few smiling faces when playing live for others.

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

Post by Larry McDonald » Mon Oct 20, 2014 2:13 am

I have recently found a way to keep me going with CG. I schedule a large chunk of time away from the guitar; I stop practicing new material from the last week in May until sometime in October (with the exception of practicing the pieces that my advanced students are learning).

During my self imposed hiatus, I play another instrument, usually bass guitar. Me and my mates play rock-n-roll festivals just about every weekend, which is great fun. I come back in the fall refreshed and ready to go on solo CG.

It looks like I have a weekly CG house gig this fall, too. It's in a wine bar! I'll be dusting off my playbook this week, do my 2 weeks of scales (then drop 'em), and look for a big new work to learn. I'm thinking of doing an all Moreno-Torroba faculty recital this year, too. I might even do the original "impressionistic" version of the Sonatina with Orchestra.

And then I'll be ready to quit for the summer and take up...

All the best,
Dr. Lawrence A. McDonald, D.M.A., Art Kaplan Fellow
Author of The Conservatory Tutor for Guitar
2018 Michael Thames "Ancient Dragon" Cd/Ir
2008 Michael Thames Cd/Br
Royal Conservatory Advanced Guitar and Theory Instructor

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

Post by stringaction » Tue Oct 21, 2014 1:02 pm


Doesn't it all depend on your aim with CG? If you strive to be an accomplished performer on big concert stages one day, then practising for decades and not getting anywhere close to that aim is a waste of time. But if you are happy with learning one piece after the other just for yourself, then playing CG and spending countless hours on practising is a wonderful respite from the demands of life. From a materialistic point of view it is at first sight absolutely useless, but on the other hand it might save you thousands in not-needed burn-out therapy :D

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

Post by Curt Lancaster » Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:22 am

I have found that at times like these it is best to drop what I have been practicing, whether it be etudes or my repertoire etc and pick up something to sightread . In my case Sors Complete Sor Studies In so doing it restores my faith in the path I have chosen to realize progress is being made toward my goal. Seems to also renew the excitement and zeal that I .have for the classical guitar... Ultimately.. it is always worth it1


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

Post by delayedMusician » Mon Nov 03, 2014 6:08 pm

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

I never questioned it for the first years, except later in life. But I am not worrying: I know that even the best composers questioned it. It's natural. Being a musician never seemed a clever choice, that's why most parents will discourage their kids to be musicians. Me, I didn't care about money when I started, and now I care about money a bit more but I will still not leave music. Why? I don't know. I don't care. I have to make music. Music is what I am about. True, it doesn't make me a million dollars, but I like to observe the faces of people when they find out what I recorded on tape (or mp3, video, etc).

They all listen attentively and after look at me as if to say 'that's awesome, I wish I could do that, but I don't know a music note from a tree'.

They may have more money, or lead a more 'stable' life (apparently), but in the end, who can say who's better off? I am used to live with little, but music has to be there. It's the world of awesomeness that I enter when I leave all the rest behind.

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

Post by Rick Beauregard » Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:54 am

Jersey Devil,

I'm a fly fisher too. So is Christopher Parkening. I had tickets to see him play in San Diego in March 1980. I was so excited, it was my 30th birthday present. We showed up at the concert and learned in the parking lot that he wasn't showing up. They got Liona Boyd to play, who was great. But I was a bit disappointed. Turns out he was suffering from severe headaches and was taken to the Mayo Clinic. Anyway, he dropped out after that and moved to Montana to, that's right, to fly fish for trout. There's a recording of him talking about how fly fishing and classical guitar are similar. Main thing is, it's not about catching fish, but about being in a beautiful place of solitude. That's where we go whenever we pick up that guitar. Even the great Parkening got burn out. I'm not religious, so this is not a prescription, but after a substantial break he came back inspired to by his faith and plays "for the glory of God." Whatever floats your boat!

Someone famous said, "Discipline is the other side of freedom."
All this time I thought I was making music; it was making me.
2015 Steve Ganz "Solidarity"
1980 Dauphin D30
1962 Fender pre-CBS P-Bass
National Triolian Uke ca.1930
Almost as many fly rods as guitars
_/) _/)


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

Post by Glenn » Sun Nov 16, 2014 9:31 am


Thank you for sharing your how you feel about the CG so openly. I personally take a seasonal approach to playing and I practice a lot during the colder months and play less during the summer months. It is very hard for me to get pieces close to 100% so I am just happy with having them over 90%. I mix up the repertoire between intermediate and advance pieces and not worry about losing a piece because it only takes 3-4 days to get it to 90% again.

It seems like you are not interested in performing professionally but you may want to give that a shot. If that is not what you want to do then I think you should look into yourself to determine why you have to practice and play so much. I understand that one of the answers is because you love it so much but I think there is more to it. I think part of it is that you identify yourself with being a guitar player too much. If you had to stop playing tomorrow, you will be fine. You should not need the guitar to have happiness in your life but at the same time it is awesome that the guitar makes you happy too. Not sure if you have ever done any eastern or western philosophical studies or if you have a particular spiritual preference but getting into something like that may "adjust" your approach to this beautiful instrument. One idea that I like is to not identify yourself with anything and just be.

Take care,
Last edited by Glenn on Sun Nov 16, 2014 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by pmiklitz » Sun Nov 16, 2014 12:27 pm

Hi All,

I haven't read the whole discussion, but I personally think that guitar playing must not become an obsession, especially for amateurs like most of us here.

Although you won't get anywhere unless you challenge yourself a bit more by attempting more difficult pieces the longer you play, it has to stay fun. Most people make the mistake to start on pieces which are way beyond their current level and that only leads to frustration. There is so much great guitar music out there which you never get to listen to, because everybody plays the same old pieces over and over again, just to prove that they can do it. Do you really want to hear another rendition of the "Romanza" (an awful piece in my opinion) or Recuerdos de la Alhambra? I certainly don't, because it gets boring after a while.

Pick music that suits your current level, or which is slightly more difficult and enjoy yourself. If you would like to play something which is not available as sheet music, try creating your own arrangement, something I personally enjoy very much and which will widen your knowledge about music in general and the instrument in particular. If you don't feel like playing on the odd day, leave the guitar in its case, because practicing without motivation will stay purely mechanical and won't get you anywhere.

Music is there for our enjoyment after all :casque:

Last edited by pmiklitz on Sat Nov 22, 2014 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Dringt durch des Aberglaubens Nacht, die Euch zu finstern Köpfen macht. Christian Fürchtegott Gellert (1715 - 1769)


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

Post by delayedMusician » Sat Nov 22, 2014 9:23 pm

I think every musician at some point asked these questions to themselves. Some composers even have gone as far as asking themselves if they are 'fake', etc.

I think it's normal. In my opionion, one can feel proud of accomplishments, but only idiots can be completely happy


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

Post by alex78 » Thu Dec 04, 2014 4:34 pm

Whenever I'm asking myself whether I'm spending too much time on CG, I remember myself of what I used to do before I started CG: mostly watching TV and surfing the internet for hours. CG seems to the better choice. I am not being passive anymore but can be active and creative.

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