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When you lose your mojo

posted on #1
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I expect that most, if not all of us, go through times when we're just not motivated to play or not feeling creative. So I'm just curious if you let it come back on its own, however long it takes, or if at some point you try to force it back and play some even if you don't really feel like it. If you're the latter I'd like to know if there is a particular 'type' of playing that helps you get back into the feel.
Thanks,
Mojo-less Byrath
posted on #2
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I feel your pain Byrath...

At the moment I'm struggling myself a bit because job schedules of both my wife & myself leave very little time to play, and to get creative around here... I have like 2-3 hours directly after work maybe, and it's hard to plan something which involves creativity...

That said, the bad weather here in Germany lately reminded me of a track which I have on my computer since ages, and I always struggled a bit in getting it right - but now with having much better tools, and a bit more knowledge than before, I could try again - so my plan for today is to try that track in another DAW and with other tools and plugins, and maybe I'll find some space to play to it then. If not, well, there are 200k+ tracks around here or so, and I love so many of them...

Wishing you the best my friend, and recover soon. Just try, and it will come back I'm sure.

Hope that helped a bit, and
cheers,
Wolfgang

Edit: what also sometimes helps a lot are friendly remarks & comments from people here. Often enough I scan through their tracks then, looking for some bass-less ones to see if any ideas come up... better than just giving them back a virtual hug maybe :)
Edited by wjl on June 08 2021 07:49
posted on #3
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byrath wrote:
I expect that most, if not all of us, go through times when we're just not motivated to play or not feeling creative. So I'm just curious if you let it come back on its own, however long it takes, or if at some point you try to force it back and play some even if you don't really feel like it. If you're the latter I'd like to know if there is a particular 'type' of playing that helps you get back into the feel.
Thanks,
Mojo-less Byrath


Your post made me think of these lines from "Void" by Mark Kozelek:

A guitar leans against the couch
Sometimes I pick it up and play
Loosen and stretch its ancient strings
Until it sounds the way I feel

To me that means music is expression and sometimes our "strings" get stiff and tired. That's ok like old guitars sometimes we need to rest. But when you're ready, just play what you feel.
Edited by mdn on June 08 2021 08:21
posted on #4
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Yeah I know what you feel. I think in a way the well of creativity is not endless, I don't think anybody can continue to churn out tracks day after day for years. I got to pace myself otherwise I am running out of ideas.
One thing that did it for me is to have the guitar standing next to the sofa, and the Pignose Amp directly there so I won't have an excuse not to play ;). I spend a lot of time on a band project, that takes up a LOT of time, not necessarily playing but mixing and organising and that keeps me busy and happy.
posted on #5
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I believe it's Neil Young who said something along these lines : "When i'm out of inspiration i get a new guitar" ... And of course the man is now owning a warehouse full of gear !! ôÔ
clusters Clusters CLUSTERS !!!!!!
posted on #6
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It's an interesting topic. As one of the "oldies" here it's possible that I can give a few clues that could help? With age many people don't exactly "give up" but kind of "surrender" to things being what they are. You're not going to conquer the world or do much of anything important before you die. Instead of that being dreadful/fearful, it can be a "release".

How does this relate to music? When I play I have no expectations or demand on myself to be good, better, or great. It's my meditation and my medicine. It's a letting go and having it subsume...no ego, just being in the moment and letting it flow through you.

Self expectations can be good if you need "drive", but can also set up a continual feeling of disappointment in oneself. Hopefully this message is getting through, because I don't think one needs to be old to get it.

It's possible at any level of competence in your instrument to let go and have the music flow through you. I remember this happening for me for the first time when I was 14 years old...not something I could ever forget. Too bad it took decades of ego playing to relearn this. Lots of self disappointment that was unnecessary.
You're only as old as you smell
posted on #7
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OliVBee wrote:
I believe it's Neil Young who said something along these lines : "When i'm out of inspiration i get a new guitar" ... And of course the man is now owning a warehouse full of gear !! ôÔ


That's an expensive solution! :D I have been interested in a fretless bass ... :o
posted on #8
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Wade wrote:
How does this relate to music? When I play I have no expectations or demand on myself to be good, better, or great. It's my meditation and my medicine. It's a letting go and having it subsume...no ego, just being in the moment and letting it flow through you.

Self expectations can be good if you need "drive", but can also set up a continual feeling of disappointment in oneself. Hopefully this message is getting through, because I don't think one needs to be old to get it.


Thanks Wade, I think I do get it. I aught to take some time to play 'casually', just noodling around on my own, or jamming with my favorite CDs, without the self-imposed pressure and expectations of recording.
posted on #9
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Seems like telling someone that you're struggling might be key as well, had a pretty decent musical evening :)
posted on #10
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We've all got to find our own way, but it can also help to know that you're not alone in the struggle and find solace in that.

Wishing you all the best.
You're only as old as you smell
posted on #11
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all great advice...i keep an acoustic nearby and just record little "blips" of stuff into my phone. the cool thing is you will probably forget about those "blips" and then revisit them at a later date and get re-inspired haha :) the buying new equipment is also fun, although expensive :) just like Wade said, you're not alone in feeling that way...and it sounds like you already had a great musical evening <3
posted on #12
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I find if I can't get the mojo, I usually end up doing a 1-4-5 blues song and it brings me back.
posted on #13
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1) when i put my metronome on, my pleasure runs away faster I can see ;) and then i produce boring things, and as a consequence the pleasure runs away on your side too, it's a tragedy - entirely ;) ;)

2) changing instruments - even if they are pretty close manufactured / similar built, is a big factor for me, for motivation.
Edited by hartmut on June 11 2021 20:22
posted on #14
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My strategy, take a break. Do other things, ride your bike, go for a walk, listen to other music and be inspired by life. At the moment I am in a phase like this.
Rockin´ in a free world !
posted on #15
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It's a good topic this one! Many of the regulars on here are used to me coming and going for months at a time! There are so many reasons that *could* be why your mojo comes and goes but, in truth, only you know the truth of the matter.

If you want to do something, you will always make the time and the effort. Anything else is just an excuse as to why you don't want to do it.

As Wade touches on, as you get older, more and more of life doesn't just get in the way but also wears you down! Which, in my case makes matters even worse because I still expect the playing quality of my 30 year-old self when I played for hours a day! Now I manage maybe an hour or two a week but still get frustrated that I'm not playing to the standard I know I can achieve. Catch-22!

Ultimately, as mentioned above, if you ain't feeling it, walk away and come back to it when you are. Pushing yourself to be musical when your heart's not in it will just make everything worse.
If you make a mistake, do it again and make it look like you meant to do it!
posted on #16
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Today i would ask the same question lol.

It happens again and again. I totally feel like making music and grab the instruments and it almost plays itself. I feel the music, I swim in the song, I don't think I just play the track.
The next day it's completely different again. I constantly catch myself thinking about the right hand position while playing, or how hard to press the sides, or what angle the guitar should be at. Then of course only garbage comes about and I start a song a thousand times from the beginning.
Sometimes I could organize a BBQ in the garden with my instruments.

I had a conversation with a friend about this some while ago and he said: "This has something to do with permanent confrontation with one's own failure."

Sounds like wisdom. I think its wisdom
posted on #17
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Hello,

Such a subject is a 'pleasure' to read. How to tell that I've got this feeling (wondering about giving up....)
BUT (how I get motivation)
1-By re-hearing old records I've done, I can see progress
2-By listening to groups/music I like I realize why I've started to play
3-By playing some "easy" things
4-By feeling me good (when i don't play i'm not well : anxiety and so on ....)

At least, to avoid losing motivation, find your own way to practice ! (I've recently left a group because it was a burden to spend whole week ends to play because no time the week bacause of work and the frustration of not going out with/seeing friends to play ... => For the moment playing on backing tracks fit me because no pressure and I planned to play with physical players sometimes...)
posted on #18
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Dear loopers! Everything absolutely everything in life has its ascending curves of enthusiasm and its decreasing curves of disappointment, a new partner, a trip, a profession, a hobby, a new vital company etc. etc.
Music of course is captive to this "unwritten law" of enthusiasm / disappointment, but in my case music is one of the few ludic activities of the human being that has not disappointed me yet ...

Until I found wikiloops by chance, I played on commercial versions or songs that I liked with some instrument, and then I practiced "alone" with how tedious this task is sometimes if you want to progress

I found Wikiloops and was able to expand everything that music gives me:
- practice directly on other musicians' jams
- explore new styles and ideas
- contribute my musical ideas to the looper community
- practicing music by ear for pure pleasure, studying theory is very useful and makes you a better musician, but for me it is not necessary to play in jams and very tedious
- play various instruments for the pleasure of playing them, I do not master any !! but I have the pleasure of playing in several, now I found the drums lately ...
- buy and sell instruments, and what is another of my fetish hobbies ... modify them !!! I turn basses into fretless, I modify bridges and pickups or simple electronics, I adjust instruments to my style etc etc
- explore mixing and recording techniques in the underworld of music computing (DAWs, VSTs, etc)

And all this makes me consume my life in an activity that I like in which I am still on the upward curve!

I also play live with friends for pleasure without professional encouragement, only when friends call me and we feel like having beers !!!

There is another advantage that is not musical ... learning new instruments or doing new activities ... delays brain aging!

Inspiration comes by itself ...

Greetings!!

PS I have also met friends with my interests all over the world !! some like Wade, Melinos, Tyros4 and Andri even in person
Edited by GlezBass on June 25 2021 17:53
:)
posted on #19
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I know this feeling too well. The impression of letting go.
I learned over time not to be formalized. I think it's normal.
We are not machines and must have moments of rest. Taking a little time to drop out often allows us to come back stronger, because our lives are complex and music should always be a pleasure ... Philosophically.
You don't have to worry about it because the things that are happening need breaks, just like humans do. Making music continuously without pauses (and without doubts) is not human.
We all have a common denominator here which is music and sharing and there is no doubt about it!
Personally I am a creative in the work of wood, steel, leather, cooking etc ... It is a vital need for me to permanently exteriorize a form of creation! Musical practice is often the most demanding (on oneself) and frustrating in hollow passages, but what always brings me back to instrumental practice is the physical and intimate relationship with the instrument, the absence of this tactile relationship and all the depth that follows.
So friend you are human ! :)
But I'm sure since June 8 that you posted this message things are back to normal :D
Edited by titi on June 25 2021 19:15
posted on #20
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I have been to the point before where even looking at my guitars has made me sick to my stomach. Just want to pick up every guitar and break everyone of them that I own. Best way I found to get my mojo back is to play a different instrument. And if that doesn't work, I crack open a cold one and listen to Metallica. Listen to the first music you ever heard that inspired you to play in the first place.
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