My guitar teacher gave me a blues lick that I have been practicing at half speed for two weeks. It is repetitive, difficult work, the opposite of a good time.
I seriously have to set my timer for 15 minute intervals and drive through the boredom. Finally, I got to the point where I just couldn't find the will power to pick my guitar back again and play that stupid lick. So, instead of gnashing my teeth through another 15 minute session, I took a drive to a taco joint in Echo Park and did some thinking while I sipped on an almond milk horchata in the sunshine. Mmmmm. Much better.
I thought to myself "I could simply stop playing. I don't have to keep going through the motions. Nobody is making me. (Well, I guess my guitar teacher is, but I can always quit.)" Then I thought a little deeper about it. "Why am I practicing this boring material? Why is it important for me to keep doing this?" And that thought made me cast my net even wider, and I asked "Why do I play music in general? Why is it so important?"
Since I wasn't making any headway with these questions, I decided to think back on my life even further. Maybe that would help clear things up for me. Why did I start playing music? I started playing music because I wanted to be signed by a label. Any label. That was the holy grail of my music career as far as I was concerned. Then we were signed by a label, and then another label, and my reason for playing music quickly changed.
I slurped up the last of my drink through melting ice cubes. While I concentrated on using my straw as a single chopstick to reach all those delicious, crunchy ice cubes, my why hit me on the top of the head just like that apple must have hit Newton.
O.k. so the moment wasn't as important as discovering gravity, but it was still a huge deal to me. I remembered the reason why I practice every day, why I force my fingers against their will into such awkward positions, why I sit through scales and and exercises. I remembered the whole point of it all.
Now, that I was armed with my "why" I was prepared to get back to that scale. I was even excited to get back to that scale. Heck, I'll practice it in 30 minute intervals! What now!
Do you want to know what my why is? I discovered I don't have just one why. I've got millions and millions of whys. I've circled 8 of them in the photo below for you to see.
Remember you "why", because your path isn't always going to be easy, in fact, most of it will probably be a struggle if you are challenging yourself enough.