Tired and Frustrated with Your Guitar Progress? This is for You.

Hello, I’m Rimo (@RimoGt).

It’s been a while since I last updated my blog. I’ve had some significant external and internal changes. On the positive side, you could say it was a period of recharging, but on the negative side, you could also call it a slacking period.

In the future, it’s still unknown whether I’ll be able to update as frequently as before, but I still want to continue expressing my thoughts.

Have you ever experienced the following while playing the guitar?

  • No matter how much you practice, you can’t play as you wish.
  • It’s no longer enjoyable, and you start to feel bored.
  • Watching performance videos on platforms like YouTube or Twitter makes you feel discouraged.

Despite investing a lot of time in practice, you don’t see much improvement, and playing in front of others makes you nervous.

During such times, you might feel that your skills are stagnating, and playing the guitar becomes less enjoyable. I, Rimo, often feel this way, so I understand this sentiment very well.

The Root of the Problem: What Troubles Guitarists?

The challenges in guitar performance are multifaceted.

  • First, there are technical issues: mastering the correct chord placements, acquiring advanced techniques, and maintaining speed and rhythm.
  • Additionally, a more complex issue is one’s mindset: the pressure stemming from self-criticism and perfectionism often becomes a significant problem. People consciously or unconsciously compare themselves to others, and by pursuing an ideal performance, they lower their self-esteem, leading to increased stress.
  • These factors can accumulate, making it difficult to enjoy playing.

Reading a Book on Mindfulness:

When I felt like quitting the guitar, or when I lacked confidence, I came across a book by Jon Kabat-Zinn titled “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.”

Reading this book provided me with a new understanding of the relationship between the mind and body. More importantly, by applying the teachings of this book to my guitar playing, I was able to gradually reduce stress related to performance and focus more on the music.

There was a time when I was reluctant even to touch the guitar, but my mindset has since transformed, and I now find joy in playing again.

Mindfulness: Mental Training for Guitarists

Let me introduce the concept of mindfulness.

It is the practice of consciously focusing on the present moment and experiencing it without judgment. In our convenient yet information-overloaded society, many might feel overwhelmed, not just in work or studies, but even in guitar playing.

Often, behind our relentless pursuit of “more and more” lies feelings of anxiety, dissatisfaction, and a sense of inadequacy.

While chasing materialistic desires, success, or reputation might provide temporary satisfaction, they don’t address the root issues, and the feelings of desire and anxiety persist.

By deepening self-understanding and practicing self-acceptance, you can confront these internal desires and fears in a healthy manner. Mindfulness can aid in this process. By facing oneself, you can listen to your inner voice and deepen your self-understanding.

Key Points of Practicing Mindfulness:

Here are some key points to consider when practicing mindfulness, applicable not only to guitar playing but to various aspects of life:

  1. Focus on the “here and now”: This allows you to alleviate tension and anxiety during performance and fully concentrate on the present moment.
  2. Heighten awareness of your sensations: This deepens your consciousness towards your body movements, contact with the guitar, and your musical expression.
  3. Observe your emotions and thoughts: This nurtures the ability to objectively observe your emotions and thoughts, allowing you to control your actions without being swayed by them.
  4. Cultivate kindness towards yourself: Recognize your flaws and mistakes, accept them, and learn from them.

Specific Application of Mindfulness to Guitar Playing

With that said, the following are specific methods for practicing mindfulness while playing the guitar:

  1. Improve Concentration: During your performance, direct your full attention to the sound. This encompasses pitch, rhythm, tone, as well as the movements of your hands and fingers, and the sensation of the strings and keys.
  2. Distance Yourself from Judgment: Instead of evaluating the music you play as “good” or “bad,” strive to simply experience it. Observe the moment a sound is produced and focus on its effects.
  3. Pay Attention to Your Breath: Breathing is central to playing. For all musicians, breathing is a powerful tool to enhance concentration and alleviate tension. By focusing on your breath, you can achieve a sense of comfort and stability, elevating your awareness of your performance.
  4. Acceptance: Accept your performance even if it’s not perfect. Not every note might be on point, and the tempo might not always be consistent. However, all these elements are part of the performance, and by embracing them, you can attain deeper insights and growth.


What I gleaned from reading “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction” is that the principles of mindfulness offer guitarists a vital tool to clear their minds and deepen their performances. The focus on the present moment, heightened sensory awareness, observation of emotions and thoughts, and kindness towards oneself all collectively assist guitarists in fostering a deeper understanding and affinity towards their performance.

The journey of music teaches us that, in addition to technical skills, the mindset is also crucial. This book was a revelation in that regard.

There are many other books related to mindfulness. If you’re interested, I recommend exploring other titles in this series. I hope this addition to your guitar toolkit proves beneficial. Thank you for reading until the end.

Until next time, Love Guitar!