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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My main issue comes down to music.
1. No confidence about my playing abilities
2. Anxiety when practicing, especially when people are around
3. Issues it causes when it comes to my musician boyfriend.

So, I started playing guitar at age 13. I progressed relatively quickly, and enjoyed it a lot. However, I never learned a song the whole way through. I'd mess up each time I'd play and I started to feel like I was incompetent. I always played quietly in my room because I abhorred the fact that my parents could possibly hear me playing the same thing again and again and still mess up.

Then in high school I started doing double bass as well. The fact that it was a new instrument allowed me the freedom of messing up because, hey, it was a new instrument. Now I am taking lessons in college and I'm starting to feel the oppression of perfectionism again. Like, I constantly compare myself to others during practice. I wonder how easy/hard it is for other people, and whether I am going at a ridiculously slow pace, and whether I'm just simply incompetent. I hate the fact that people can hear me practicing outside the room, especially since it's obviously located at the school of music at my college.
(My father has no idea I'm taking lessons because he hates the fact that I play a musical instrument. He thinks it's distracting and destructive. My parents both always told me I wasn't talented to go into music, despite my insistence that I never planned on it anyway).

Add to this the fact that my boyfriend started playing violin like 2 years ago and has already resolved that he wants to be a music major. He's extremely talented at it. I used to know more about theory than him and now it's completely the reverse. I resent him when he talks about classical music because I feel like I have nothing of value to contribute, and I never want to play with him because my level is substandard. It's gone so far as I feel like music is his thing, and I feel like I'm trespassing his domain when I play or practice or learn new stuff.

Obviously, this fucking sucks. I've never really voiced this before so yeah, pretty emotionally charged. But I have so much shit cluttering my head that I start to wonder if I should just quit or not. I just want to make sense of all of this because music has so much baggage for me. When I enjoy it it's thrilling. I know I would regret quitting. I want to create something beautiful and to play beautifully. But the mental constipation is hilariously distracting to my goal.

Thanks if you read this wall of text. I just really want some insight. What's the root of this? How are the factors all playing together? Why can't I drop this attitude? Does the fact that I must ask if this is right for me intrinsically indicate it is not, in fact, right for me (which is a terrifying concept)? I'm thinking of taking this issue to my school's counselor but I don't know if that's overly dramatic or not.

Cheers.
 

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Well, if you want to have something to contribute you could listen to a lot of music, classical and otherwise. Of course you won't be using terms like counterpoint and key change and tonality but that doesn't mean you don't have anything to contribute.

As for practicing, I used to be the same way, but if the guitar is unplugged then it shouldn't be too loud.... if it's an acoustic you can always turn on a tv or something to kind of cover it up, actually that's how I used to practice guitar was I'd just fiddle around while watching tv, now I don't really play guitar anymore but that helped me loads. Although I was watching a lot of tv back then so if you don't watch a ton of tv you could do it during movies or something idk.

I personally don't really enjoy practicing while people can hear me either but it's just like working on a car or reading I mean you gotta practice to get good, and just know that Lang Lang and Horowitz and all those guys felt just as foolish when they started out :D

(for the famous people insert musician of your choice XD )
 

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Being self-conscious can help you practice well. When I practice alone I'm more likely to play well, but I'm also more likely to skip over potential problems. I do my best playing alone, but my best practice always happens with other people are listening (it helps to practice everything fortissimo too). If your listeners are musicians then they will understand that practice = crappy mistakes time, and they probably aren't listening to you anyway. If they aren't musicians, then they probably won't know the difference.
If you're having a particularly bad day of it, I find it helpful to practice just intonation (playing scales or working on one phrase very slowly until it's perfect).
 

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To be honest, this doesn't sound like it's a healthy hobby, and that it could be perpetuating your extremely perfectionistic/self-conscious state of mind. If you don't plan on doing anything with music in your career, maybe it might be better for you to just pick up your guitar or bass when you feel like it, but avoid lessons or any situation where you're held to a standard. Then think about finding another creative outlet that's less about analyzing your performance and more about free expression. It just sounds to me like your personality is not cut out for this unless it's a very, very casual thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah Thrifty Walrus, that's what I always tell myself- that I should practice and it'll eventually smooth out. I heard somewhere that you have to do something for 10,000 hours before you're good at it (exaggeration or not, the main point stands) so I kind of hold on to that. Having things to cover me up isn't really an option in my current situation though.

Hmm. Fortissimo. Sometimes there are days where I say fuck it and just play as loudly as I want. But that's when the right mood comes in.

Vivacissimamente, that's what I'm afraid of. I don't know whether all of this is normal or not. I can't even pinpoint the origins or reasons behind it so it's harder for me to get to the root of it. I know if I didn't take lessons that I'd probably have technical issues that would become habit. Or I'd stagnate and feel anxious about that. Or I'd quit and have a lingering residue of regret.

Goddamn this is stupid :crazy:
 
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