TAC Family Forums

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  • Wondering and seeking advice

    Posted by the-old-coach on June 22, 2021 at 7:10 pm

    Well, I’ve been lately thinking/wondering about practicing- and asking for advice…

    I’ve been really busy, and have not been practicing every day. I’ve missed probably 2 days each week for these last couple weeks, actually 2 of the last 3 days. Worse, when I do practice, maybe half the time I’m just not “into it”. Hasn’t been “fun”.

    I always have my lesson planned-out in 10-minute intervals, consisting of—- stretching and warmup, any recent Daily Challenges that I’m still working on- (10-minutes each)-, Skill Courses-stuff, and occasionally a song I’m messing with- (most recently it’s been fingerpicking “Hurt” by Johnny Cash).

    I don’t think I have any complaints with TAC, and I’ve only been in for a little over 5 months, and have gained tremendously in skills. The “music-learning” is a lot slower coming around, and song-playing isn’t even on the radar.

    My guitar past— like lots of folks it seems— consists of having a cheap guitar for 40+ years that gathered LOTS of dust.

    Anyway– I don’t know or think skipping practices has hurt my playing any- but it can’t help. I don’t know if I’m too busy, or too tired, or if I’m in a period of no noticeable improvement, or I want to be outside because it’s nice outside, or I’m just distracted somehow…. on and on…. I can’t put my finger on it- but I don’t like it. My problem lately is that many times I get 3-5 minutes into a lesson, and just drift into this bored-tired-no concentration mode and just say screw it- that’s enough of that….. and what worries me is that I have begun to think that’s OK. Maybe I just need a break– hell, I dunno, but it’s not good….

    It’s ironic that I used to see and read threads in the “old” Forum from other guitar geeks asking for help along this same subject- and now it’s me…

    I really want to figure this out before I can’t get out of it, and send my new, nice, guitar on an extended vacation hanging next to the other one….

    I hope it’s only me- but has anybody else ever gone thru this? It’s not the end of the world— I will figure this out and beat it— but I sure could use some help and/or advice before I get too deep… I know there are among you some people I think a lot of- and treasure their words of wisdom. I promise I won’t post long, drawn-out answers to any responses this brings- but will just quietly take it in.

    Sorry about being so darn long-winded. It’s not my best trait🤨 so says my wife.

    Thanks in advance- Mark J

    Alisa replied 2 years, 11 months ago 9 Members · 13 Replies
  • 13 Replies
  • Loraine

    June 22, 2021 at 8:36 pm

    Hey Mark, I’ve definitely been in similar situations that you’ve outlined. So, what’s the easy response? Just take it a day at a time. If you commit to a minimum of 10 minutes a day, then you will more than likely be able to find at least 10 minutes every day. It’s okay to be distracted with nice weather and other things too. You might just need a break, and that is permissible and might be just what you need. It’s a personal journey that you’re on.

    There have been many periods where I’ve been bored with a particular lesson or week of lessons (banjo week comes to mind– I really, really did not enjoy it). I decided to at least try each lesson, but I didn’t stress about it. I would typically surf the internet for songs, lessons, or play from the old song vault, or just peruse the forums. What I can say is that the joy has returned after periods of sheer disinterest or boredom. Typically I’d have a breakthrough on a song I was trying to play and it would energize me. Try finding some easy 2 chord songs on youtube that you can learn. Try other sites for lessons for a change up.

    Just remember that this too shall pass, as do most experiences, and who knows what the future holds for us.

  • Crabby

    June 22, 2021 at 9:11 pm

    One specific idea is to go outside to play. You can enjoy the nice weather outside while playing – the old kill two birds with one stone trick.

    From a totally different perspective, what else is going on if your life? Is this attitude leaking into other areas of your life? Maybe you are stressed/depressed/burnt out etc. s it time for a break, vacation, stress reduction techniques or maybe just some deep breathing?

    We all cycle through periods of life of greater productivity, energy or excitement with lower energy periods. There is nothing wrong with taking the occasional break to recover. Actually that is a good thing.

    To use exercise as an analogy. Exercise DOES NOT make you stronger. Exercise actually breaks down the body. It is RECOVERY FROM EXERCISE, that makes us stronger.

  • Alisa

    June 23, 2021 at 5:32 am

    Hi Mark. What you wrote really resonated. I’m going through a similar phase: kind of switched from total enthusiasm to apathy overnight. I’m doing the dailies and counting the minutes to 10 so I can move on. Surprising how many times you can play a lick in 10 minutes lol. I don’t really have advice because I’m in it as well but it helped me to read someone else going through it right now, so maybe that will help you too. Like you said, you see these posts periodically which means it’s normal, it happens, it passes. My plan is to wait until it passes while doing the daily 10 minutes and trust the passion will return. I try to listen to guitar music on spotify to remind myself why. My favorite youtube trainer (Sydney Cummings) says about workouts: “you won’t get better by only showing up on the days you’re motivated, you have to put in the work on the days you don’t feel like it as well. We can’t control motivation but we can control commitment and consistency.” I think there is a lot of truth to that in many aspects of life. So I do my 10 minutes.

  • Michael-K73

    June 23, 2021 at 8:51 am

    Maybe on days/times that it isn’t “fun,” you have to remind yourself that you aren’t practicing for the “fun” today. You are practicing for times in the future.

    We are training, like in sports. I never liked working out, but I sure as heck liked how it helped me on the field, court, or track.

    Your future self will thank you someday. Probably sooner than you think 😉


  • Bill_Brown

    June 23, 2021 at 9:21 am

    Hi Mark ( @mkjohnsons ), I’m feelin’ you. Sometimes the Dailies don’t do anything for me😱, they don’t motivate me (speed challenge👎 – I could care less). It’s those days that I feel like I’m wasting my time and that I should be doing something else – like going outside and getting some exercise, instead of sitting in front of a computer with my guitar. On those days, I do like @Alisa , 10 minutes, mark it complete and put my guitar away and get on with life.

    But other days, I am motivated and excited about the Dailies (Wednesdays/Improvisation – I find joy in that). Guitar, motivation, excitement, joy – I guess the question is, how to have it all (or at least any 2 of them) at the same time? I wish I could give you that answer. I think that you need to do some soul searching, think back to what/who motivated you to start playing (again). When you are playing, what/who gives you excitement and joy about doing it? I have my own answers to these questions, and that’s why I still do the Dailies🎸 I hope you can find your own answers and hope to see your posts in the future Dailies and Forums👍

  • GuitarGeni

    June 23, 2021 at 10:36 am

    Strange as it may seem, it sounds to me like you need a goal. Something to shoot for. All of this practice, and what’s it all for? It is rather pointless if you don’t have a destination in mind. You obviously aren’t playing for the sheer joy of it because you aren’t having any joy. Pick something that you want to be able to play, figure out what steps you need to get there and set a time frame.

    For instance, within 90 days of starting this program (end of May) I want to be able to play one of the songs that Tony plays when he tests guitars. Keep in mind I’ve been playing for over 40 years so the basics are no problem. I haven’t played fingerstyle very much and I am recovering from several injuries involving my hands, wrists and brain which is my primary challenge. So, I identified the 4 songs Tony plays when he reviews guitars. I managed to locate tabs for those 4 songs. I found out that he has a video for how to play one of them, which is the one I thought I could complete within 90 days. I also learned that he teaches it as part of the lesson in his Fingerstyle course, so that was a plus. I started doing the fingerstyle course. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be able to do it because I have a specific goal tied to a specific time table with proper instruction on how to do it.

    We (guitarists) all go through periods of just going through the motions. It doesn’t FEEL like we’re making progress (we are). At one point, early on, my goal was just to suck a little bit less than I did the day before. It was enough to keep me going because I wanted to be more consistent day to day.

    Find something you want to accomplish on guitar, figure out how to do it and go for it!

  • Jill_M

    June 23, 2021 at 4:02 pm

    Hi Mark, eh, it must be normal. Me too. this time of year…gardening, deck setting up, a lot of work outside, celebrations, nice weather…but I go to the computer, and I have missed 1 or 2 days lately. I push through…it seems just like anything else it ebbs and it flows. It will return. Take a mini break and push through too. I guess if I was a guitar player for a long time I could at least play something but the lessons are where I’m at. I like Loraine’s advice finding mini songs with a little bit of chords. Best of luck!

  • the-old-coach

    June 23, 2021 at 9:06 pm

    Thank you all for the help and encouragement! Means a lot.

    It’s dumb for me to be answering my own post, but, I apologize if my post is not clear. I read in some of your answers- the references to “ten minutes”, and was wondering what you all meant. Is it 10 minutes total?

    I didn’t clarify it well in my original post- I usually practice with 10 minutes of stretching/warmup, then 10 mins on each of the most recent 4 or 5 daily lessons, then usually 10 mins each on 1 or 2 of the Skills course lessons- (this varies), and then maybe sometimes 10 mins on some song I’m foolin’ around with. Usually runs somewhere around an hour & 20 mins total.

    Sorry if I wasn’t clear. I tried to edit my original post but it wouldn’t let me.

    Thank you for all the responses so far- I have read them at least twice and am soaking it in.

    Mark J

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by  the-old-coach.
    • Alisa

      June 24, 2021 at 6:19 am

      Lol Mark we have stuff to do 😁 In my case, the 10 minutes counter starts when I hit “play”, not including the lesson. So between tuning the guitar, listening to the lesson (often hitting pause and rewind) and the actual practice, it’s closer to 20-30 minutes. Some days it’s more, I’ll often do several small sessions during the day on a good day, thay will probably add up to an hour or more. If you’re playing 80 minutes while not feeling joy and not having fun, maybe let up on the routine a bit, give yourself some breathing room. In his intro video Tony talks about how setting goals of 1h a day can kill the joy of playing, hence his 10 minutes system. Sometimes it leads to more, sometimes it doesn’t. Hope that clarifies it.

  • Bill_Brown

    June 24, 2021 at 7:11 am

    As for me @mkjohnsons , I really do mean 10 minutes if it’s a Daily that doesn’t motivate me. That being said, I may still take a look at a Skills lesson or spend time on the Forums, or pick up my guitar later in the day and try to learn a new song or play one I already know – I guess it all depends on what life is throwing at me that day. But I still come back the next day and try it again👍

  • the-old-coach

    June 24, 2021 at 9:32 am

    Wow– I’ve been petal to the medal for 5 months, w/ most daily sessions at around 1:20 total, give or take- every day. Only missed maybe 5-6 days total- (2 short vacations). Maybe just didn’t realize it could’ve been “too much” all along, and didn’t know any different.

    I remember it being pretty vague how to actually “get started” in TAC- (there were lots of posts on that subject in the old Forum). Maybe because there is no “one size fits all”- (we are all at different levels of experience and ability when we join). So I guess I thought the full-throttle approach was best- and actually- it fit my personality- and schedule. When I joined I was just getting over a two-week bout w/ COVID, and wasn’t doing much….. TAC was a perfect fit right about then.

    Anyway, for starters, I think I’m gonna let up on the gas a bit- maybe half- and see where that takes me.

    Thanks to all for advice and encouragement, and for this Forum altogether!

    The more suggestions, the better! Keep ’em coming- maybe there are others in the same boat- reading along.

    Sincerely- Mark J

  • ChuckS

    June 27, 2021 at 7:07 am


    The TAC community has given you plenty of ideas and recommendations, so I will add my two cents worth on top of all of that. Yep, we all hit that point some time where the excitement and motivation is just not there for whatever reason.

    I have found on several occasions that I was playing late in the day and that just didn’t always work out. I tended to be tired and really had to kick myself in the butt to go down to the basement and pick up the guitar and engage with the daily exercise. I did however find that once I forced myself to get going, the lack of desire slowly went away. A few other things helped as well such as:

    1) Made time in the morning to do warmup exercises and the TAC Daily exercise. That made a difference as I was not dragging to start with and had a lot more energy.

    2) Still hit it later in the day or early evening, but that became “My Time” to mess around with whatever song or drill I wanted to with no min or max time constraint.

    3) Wrote out those 90 day goal that Tony suggests. At first I was biting off too much and falling way short of my target, so I tried to scale back the 90 day goals )I still tend to put too much there, but am slowing learning to keep it short, simple and realistic. I also found that I would type out the 90 day goal, print it out and set it near my guitar work area and then totally forget about it. So, I dug up and old dry erase board, and wrote out the goals on that and then propped it up on a tri-pod do that I am facing to every time I play. That helped a lot and kept me from wandering off the reservation. Really helped focus.

    4) If you are not really feeling it, take a break for a day or two or longer. I think after that, you will find that you then start craving getting your hand back on the guitar.

    5) regarding the daily exercises, every now and then Tony offers something that is just not my thing, but I give it a shot anyhow just to try and expand my skill set and then I move on and don’t worry about it anymore and focus on the things that I like.

    Anyhow, hope these suggestions help.

    • Alisa

      June 27, 2021 at 7:17 am

      The dry-erase board is a great idea, thanks! I love it!

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