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Queen Guitar Rhapsodies

Overwhelmed by the Demands Of Modern Living, There Is Little Time Left Over For Guitar Playing

This is all wrong, according to author Brigid Schulte, who says we should just concentrate on what we really want to do – music

Overwhelmed, the best-selling book, is about the time pressures of modern life and facing reality. You can’t do everything you would like to do, plus all the things you think you should do, plus keep up with friends and family, plus go to work, plus keep a spotless home. Therefore, you have to put some things aside or send some people politely on their way. Then calmly go back to what you really want. Naturally that means for some, more guitar playing.

This approach goes rather against the increasing trend over the past 20 years where, by clever time-management, we believed we could do absolutely everything and still be fresh as a daisy by the end of it. But what has become evident is that stress and anxiety levels come with the package of cramming everything in; it means military-style time keeping and planning a social diary months ahead. Personally there are few things I find more irritating than agreeing to a dinner date two months ahead or booking concert tickets three months ahead, or even arranging a holiday six months ahead. I love that delicious sense of liberation which comes from not knowing what you are going to be doing, and by that I mean in sixty minutes’ time! My idea of being really relaxed is a completely unplanned and totally spontaneous day.

I think I may have slightly strayed off the point (or maybe not). The point is, according to author Brigid Schulte, that it is now time to take your life back and concentrate on what you really want to do first and foremost, and everything else should take second place. The realization, for her, is inescapable: you can’t do everything. Jolly right too.

I have an idea about how that could affect guitar playing. I am the first one to bang on about becoming a Virtuous Guitarist which means having a go at many aspects of music and guitar playing. Now I am not about to contradict anything I have written, but, you could turn round and say to me “actually, I don’t have time to do all you suggest however interesting it may be. I am only going to do what I really want to do as a guitar player.” This may be a way forward too, which brings me back to my idea of completely off the cuff decisions. Just jump, like a musical grass-hopper, from one idea to the next. Plan nothing, Follow your instinct. Enjoy every moment doing what you want rather than what you think should be doing. You know, it might just work. And since you have dropped a few time-consuming activities rather than be overwhelmed, you will have acres of time too to do some “proper” practice, whatever that is. Or maybe you won’t need to. Liberated from the strictures of time management your new relaxed self just will go with the flow. Joyful playing, unplanned and spontaneous, might lead to more improvement than the most careful five year plan.

This has been my rough guide to being less overwhelmed and more spontaneous.

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© 2017.

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