Musical Burnout—Avoiding the Stress

Avoid the Hardest Parts of Learning How to Play the Guitar

The mind is a muscle and it can get tired! Many musicians face significant exhaustion when learning how to play the guitar, practicing, playing, and experimenting. For many, musical burnout can lead to uninspired sessions, de-motivation, boredom, and even laziness. This is particularly true when first learning how to teach yourself the guitar. Many musicians, like Tom Hess, have evaluated musical burnout and they’ve speculated a few ways to identify and overcome the problem.

Unfortunately, those who are most eager about learning how to play the guitar likely do face some musical burnout eventually. However, it’s alright and it can be overcome! You just need a little insight and practice.

What Is Musical Burnout, Anyway?

Musical burnout is the struggle to maintain focus during practice or performance sessions. Even experts get musical burnout, and intermediate players may have trouble identifying its causes. Musical burnout can simply be a “lack of desire” to play. It’s difficult to pinpoint and it can be entirely frustrating, especially for those who are just beginning to learn guitar chords.

Even if you love playing the guitar, musical burnout can make playing seem “boring”. Musical burnout occurs when one’s cognitive energy depletes, making further play exceptionally hard. Summoning the mental energy required to play can be difficult and several scientific studies, such as this BioMed Central case study, tie similar experiences to compassion fatigue and ego fatigue. This phenomenon occurs across many fields, so musicians aren’t the only affected parties.

Musical Burnout Causes

As with most of life’s maladies, many of the symptoms of musical burnout do have causes. Again, musical burnout is a lack of motivation, cognitive exhaustion, and general tiredness from extensive practice and play, predominantly when you are first learning how to play guitar chords. Musical burnout can also happen when lack of support occurs and it can occur in an imbalanced atmosphere.

Lack of Social or Family Life

“Everything in moderation” is a cliché saying for a reason. It’s true! A lacking family or social life can attribute to the “locked in” feeling that many artists face. Understanding others is important, and engaging in life’s social aspects is key to fulfilling one’s innate human desires.

While practice is necessary when teaching yourself or others how to play the guitar, supporting oneself socially is important for cognitive rest and relaxation. Of course, you shouldn’t neglect your practice, but you shouldn’t neglect life’s other areas, either!

Lack of Tangible Fulfillment

Often times, in the early stages of teaching yourself how to play the guitar, rewards need to be felt to fulfill one’s desires. Indie Connect has pinpointed a few musician burnout causes related to this. Experiencing a lack of tangible rewards, like gratification, money, and the enthusiasm of others, was one of its mainstay causes. Mental fatigue can occur when a profession is “all work and no play,” as it often is when you first begin taking beginner guitar lessons. It makes things dull and it will likely slowly reduce inspirational sources.

Quantity over Quality

When you first begin learning or teaching the guitar, you or your students will likely replay the same songs over and over again. While this is a great way to learn guitar chords, it can become mentally draining, leading to musical burnout. Mental fatigue occurs in stagnant environments, but repetitious environments are just as bad. You’ll need some variety in order to avoid burning out. Be easy on yourself and have fun with it! You took up the profession for a reason, right? Don’t get lost in over-practicing and don’t beat yourself up by engaging over-strenuous practice sessions.

Avoiding Musical Burnout: Your Weekly Ritual

When you’re first beginning to teach yourself the guitar, always stay inspired and give yourself new goals. Again, balance is important, as is support. To avoid musical burnout, give yourself a healthy dose of life’s finer things. If time is an issue, try setting up a wider schedule. Remember: “Early to bed, and early to rise, makes one healthy, wealthy and wise.”

Don’t let the stress of learning guitar chords keep you from playing! ChordBuddy is one of the fastest ways to learn the guitar, relieving the mental stress of teaching yourself to play the guitar. Learn more by contacting us or giving us a call at 334-699-6188.

Works Cited

Out, How to Avoid Musical Burn. Tom Hess. 2002 – 2015.
Ribas, Vinny. 10 Causes Of Musician Burnout. 2015.
Rosenstein, Alan H. Addressing physician stress, burnout, and compassion fatigue: the time has come. 15 August 2013.