We must never lose sight of just what it is that drives us to play guitar, and to make music in general. In my home, as I was growing up, I had a father who was an artist, and a 10 year older brother who was also an artist. There was an enormous emphasis placed on the arts in a household such as this, but never any pressure. It was just as important to be a “normal” kid, and to do things such as play baseball, collect stamps and coins and baseball cards too, but all seemed to be done with a certain deeper aesthetic appreciation of what any of it was really about.
Therefore, when I went into the actual playing and creation of music, it just seemed like a natural path to have taken, and there was a deeper kind of “drive” and “need” that I seemed to have to get better on the instrument. It wasn’t about competition, or anything like that, in fact there really weren’t any other players around at all…..I was a sort of “island” when it came to my music, and folks barely knew what I was even doing. All they knew was that suddenly “Arlen wasn’t out playing ball with us, where is he, and what is he up to?” So, in all my pride and joy at the headway I was making on the guitar, I literally used to put my amp into the window of my 5th story apartment (like an air conditioner), and blast my playing out into the street. This would garner applause, and I always felt as if my “reclusive” image had been justified with all my friends!
This “need to play” is a very serious matter however, and if you have this kind of primal urge within you, it must always not only be fulfilled, but you must never lose track of its importance to you and your well-being. All the other stuff, such as being a “rock star”, “making it” and all the other trappings of “success” really should have nothing to do with any of it. If you are a real artist, the only caring you should actually have is satisfying that “need to play” and the need to make your music say more for you, and for what you’re really all about!
If you start to form bands and have other people to play with, be sure to always look for those who share in your brand of passion for the music, and who share similar work ethics and who most of all, also have that sheer “need” to play that you have!! Good luck in that search, as it can be really kind of hard to find those “needles in the haystack!” Whatever it ends up being, make sure you stay true to you, and to what drives you to keep improving your own music and playing!