In this crazy, fast-moving and most of all, fickle era we live in, it can be sometimes very easy for an up-and-comer to be a bit discouraged and to lose hope of eventually making something really happen! Even in the old days, I did have moments such as this, but I really never gave up, especially since I was so on “my own path”, and had so much encouragement and positive feedback from others, including of course, my folks.
I love trying to instill some of this hope in my students, regardless of age. I mean, of course younger players need this consistently, but never underestimate the emotional needs of a Sixty-something guitar player who feels like he or she has missed the boat when it came to learning the guitar, and who now needs it just for sheer pleasure and personal expression. I love to encourage them all and each age group and type has its own set of needs and emotional as well as physical requirements.
One of the first things to realize is that when you show a lot of promise at an early age, even though there are people like me who love to encourage, there can be some real “no-goodniks” who seem to get just as much of a thrill out of loving to discourage! Yes, it’s hard to believe, but that is a fact, and the earlier you get to understand this reality, the easier it will be in the long run to recognize these people and simply discard the bad message they try to bring! I started to see this when I was very young, and it always seemed that the better I did, the more there were those who wanted to tear me down. For what reason, I really can’t tell you, but it sure must’ve had a lot to do with their own feelings of inadequacy, not to mention some good old jealousy thrown in for good measure!
In the end though, you will always see that your persistence is what will always prevail, and the belief in yourself is what you must “stick to”, even as you continue on the endless road towards getting better as a person and of course, as a player. I know for many too, it can become frustrating when you hit a “road block” on the way to better playing, and even today, as someone recognized me in the local deli, and asked “so how’s the guitar business going?” they then proceeded to tell me how in their entire life, they never, ever had anyone to help them understand ear training! All I could say to myself was, “boy, I wish this guy knew me earlier!” Yes, we all really teach ourselves, but the right encouragement at the right time, as well as our own belief systems is what will truly help put us “over the top” and across the “finish line” as guitarists, and as people!