This particular blog is a little bit different than many of my others, since it deals with the actual psychology of being not only a guitarist, but an artist as well! As artists, and that is what you should be aspiring to become, we tend to have a lot of times when we set goals for ourselves that are almost too high. The end result of this striving for excellence can sometimes result in some real artist “misery” on our parts, and can often simply be the result of just trying too hard, or caring too much.
If it starts to get into your head that something’s wrong, and you’re not living up to your own expectations, you can set up a scenario that will feel like something you may never overcome. I believe it’s healthy to have big goals in music and personally, and it can certainly lead to great things, but you must never really “beat yourself up” over things that you must go through in your growing process. For example, if you have a bad night playing, which is something we’ve all had, don’t linger on it; try to put it behind you, and look forward to learning from it, and growing as the result. One of the most “toxic’ things I have ever felt is when I get into a “funk” about my own playing, or when a personal problem may take itself onstage with me. This can even be something as seemingly un-related as a fight or problem with a girlfriend backstage, just prior to stepping in front of the public. I have walked onstage literally trembling from what may have been going on backstage moments before. This is something thousands of performers have gone through for years, and there is a kind of art to being able to put this stuff behind you, even if it’s temporary!
So the bottom line is to not let things get to you too much. The process of making music and baring your soul onstage is really enough of a burden to have to carry for yourself, and for your listening audience without letting other stuff get the best of you! Be true to your feelings, especially as an artist, and always be sure to separate the professional from the personal, and you’ll be okay! It’s only music, and it’s only art, and it’s only life!