Vanessa’s Vibe: Hitting the “Wall”

Photo by Jack Lue
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As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 19 – Spring 2022

Anyone that has ever tried to learn a new skill realizes that it takes a great deal of courage, patience, and discipline to get there. When trying to learn or better your skills on an instrument, one realizes that it takes many hours of practice and study to improve. Once in a while, after weeks, months, or years of practicing, you may feel that you have hit some type of invisible wall where you no longer see progress. 

Rest assured that this “wall” is a normal part of growth, but how we deal with it is also very important. It can be a very discouraging time where you may feel that you have failed, wasted your time, or done something wrong — but this is NOT the case. I myself have hit the “wall” several times throughout my learning journey. The lull in motivation can last hours, weeks, or even months. 

Here are five tips I would like to share on how to get through these motivational valleys.

  1. Take a break.

Sometimes we just need to step away for a little while to clear our heads and refocus our purpose. Stepping away can help ease the discouraging feelings and provide a fresh sense of invigoration when you feel it’s time to return.

2 Explore a different genre.

At times we can get so wrapped up in learning a specific song or technique that it helps to give some mental space to it by exploring a different genre that you haven’t attempted to learn yet. Perhaps give a break to the heavy metal riff and try some Beethoven.

  1. Listen to your favorite artist for inspiration.

Spending time just listening to the musicians that inspired you is a good way to recharge your batteries and help you rediscover why you were motivated to pick up the instrument in the first place. Listening with fresh ears and just focusing on the song’s musicality is a great way to reconnect to the things you love.

  1. Explore new artists.

Nothing is more inspirational than discovering some new music. There are so many talented musicians out there that finding someone you may never have had a chance to listen to before or someone completely new to you isn’t very difficult with tools like YouTube, all the streaming music channels, and asking for recommendations from friends. You may likely find yourself going down the rabbit hole, discovering tons of new music that will fill your inspirational well to the brim. 

  1. Talk to other musicians.

Sometimes talking to other musicians and sharing your sense of discouragement can be very helpful. You will find that it is a normal part of growth. You will find that other musicians have been through something similar, and it’s reassuring that this phase is only temporary. It is nice to feel like you aren’t the only one that has gone through or is going through this.

There are many peaks and valleys along the road of musical learning. I hope you never feel that you are alone on this journey. There are many tales of famous musicians taking breaks, searching for new inspiration, and trying new things, so know that you are in good company. When this phase is over, you will find yourself with renewed inspiration. You will find that your playing will rise to the next level, and this exciting journey will continue on into new and exciting territory. Onward!!!

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