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quitting after an extreme and intense 6 years

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Langer93, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. :help:What should I do? I've been playing for 6 years, I've got to the level where I put the frighteners on my teachers and peers. Yet even when I went to look at Guildhall school of music I felt so alien and sub-par in comparison to the people there. If I'm not bored and being put off by my local college and tempted to smear what is left of my brains up the wall, I feel like such an ill-informed infant. I feel completely hopeless and lost. I have Bi polar and normally I get round to being music again thanks to the mood swings but for 2 years now I've not enjoyed music and at points I've HATED it. Please help, genuine advice would really be appreciated!

  2. There's nothing wrong with taking a break... for as long as you think is necessary. You mentioned that you have bi-polar but you didn't mention whether you're getting help for it. If you're not that's what you should seek. Professional help. Your health (mental or otherwise) must come first.
  3. bearhart74

    bearhart74 Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2009
    Therapy and meds
  4. Yes I am getting help Red Rover. Problem with quitting is the amount of pressure on me and the financial aspect that's already been invested. I'd really like nothing more than to just sell it all, forget about music, and make money in a dead end job ;)
  5. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    No advice, I just wish you well in your struggles. Keep on keeping on.
  6. Thank you 96tbird!
  7. You may feel like you are sub-par but you are likely closer than you think.

    But like others have said, your mental health is paramount. It's very hard to learn and progress when you can't focus properly. When you have balance, you can face the challenges better.
  8. I'm glad you're getting help. Like I said... nothing wrong with taking a break. I wouldn't sell anything just yet in case you do have the urge to come back to music. If after a while you still don't want to play music at all then maybe sell your gear. I've done the same thing a little while back... just didn't want to do it anymore so I took a break. Told my bandmates that I wasn't sure I wanted to play anymore and that I'd be taking a break. They were all very supportive and gave me some space. I did eventually come back and they accepted me back in the band.

    Also, I make my monies in a dead-end job AND play bass. You can do both!:bassist:
  9. miles'tone


    Feb 26, 2008
    Wales, U.K
    Sorry to hear you feel this way as I have been there too musically speaking. It can be hard. With me I was playing/working in a band in London with one of my good childhood friends. Cutting a long story short it all went boobies up both musically, professionally and personally. I left London and moved back to the country nearly selling all my gear (actually sold my fave bass - an early stingray which i still miss to this day - for peanuts) .
    I couldn't think about playing bass at all without feeling physically sick and could not bring myself to even listen to any music for about 6 months.
    Then one day I heard 'sattelite of love' by Lou Reed (never really been a big fan or anything so a bit random) and the whole piece of music just pushed all my musician switches back to the 'on' position. It felt right and it was good to be back. And I've never looked back. I work now as a plumber and just play music with friends for fun - it's now life enhancing rather than soul destroyng.
    my advice to you would be just take a break. Don't sell your gear though, just put it away so it's out of sight and you'll go back to it eventually refreshed and inspired. Do some living, it can be a one dimentional experience focusing only on learning music, live a bit of life so you have something genuine of your own to express through music.
    regarding the bi-polar thing; try to have a balnced life. That is the ultimate goal. A long and balnced lifestyle. Look at Jaco, he suffered from it by many accounts yet despite all his greatness as a musician, he did not have a balanced and healthy lifestyle. He and his family, friends and of course ultimately his precious music all suffered.

    i sincerely wish you all the best my friend, good luck in all you do.

  10. Sithian

    Sithian Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2008
    New Jersey
    Hey Tom,

    My advice would be to address your personal issues but keep doing the music. Your feelings are normal and something that I think most musicians face when dealing with learning curves. Sometimes we feel like we go 1 step forward, 2 back but at the end of the day we all deal with this to learn and grow. There was a Will Lee article revisited in one of the last few Bass Player magazines that you may want to read with some interesting insight into dealing with similar feelings.

    Dont give up!
  11. f.c.geil


    May 12, 2011
    Do that. Seriously. I was a vocal jazz performance major, got well educated, succumbed to the pressure and broke. I quit, got a dead end job, worked that for a while, moved around and had fun, got a great dead end job having a lot of fun, and now (nearly 30 years later) have started back with music, and for the last couple of years have been able to be in bands and have a great time with it.

    Music is supposed to be fun. When it isn't fun, it's time to quit. When you're ready, you'll come back and have fun again. I'd suggest you keep your bass (they are very personal, and you'll regret selling it later), but the rest is pretty disposable/replaceable. Besides, amplification technology is constantly changing, and you'll change your mind about how you want to reinforce your sound by the time you come back. More, if you keep your bass, you can pick it up at any time, plug into your computer and screw around a little bit.

    Most of all, eliminate the pressure.
  12. Bassneo- I really don't think that's the case it feels like theres a light year between me and them
    Thanks again Red rover!
    Miles'stone- I know your speaking from experience and alot of what you said makes sense to me but I really think that if/when I quit I just wouldn't want to come back, also the jaco thing is a bit weird for me to talk about but the reason I like(d) Jaco was because of what he managed to achieve despite being ill rather than his music
    Sithian- I'l have a look and thanks!
    Tekdiver_ That sounds like what I want to do.
  13. Jazzkuma


    Sep 12, 2008
    I advice to take a break and then come back see if the spark comes back.

    We are all different, not everyone enjoys music with a passion and the same way no everyone enjoys visual art with a passion or sports, fashion, cars...etc. If you feel that music simply doesn't "move" you then it might just not be for you.

    However, I still strongly advice to take a break because it has happened to me too. There has been some weeks in which I didn't enjoy music the way I usually do, I didn't play music the way I usually do or didn't have the drive to practice. Its a weird thing, just like in sports, you get good days and bad days.
  14. Sell your fancy stuff, keep an amp, a bass, and anything you feel really partial to. I'm not bipolar but have dealt with it in family and friends. You may hate it some days, but there is a very real cha ce you hate yourself in 6 months for selling everythin and moving on.
  15. pbasswil


    Feb 17, 2008
    When you're in the thick of disappointment & disatisfaction, it's hard to separate the factors that have brought you to this point.

    If you can't face your your musical status quo right now, then by all means step away from the bass. Rest, divert, distract, etc.

    But then think about this:

    Your disatisfation with your playing is a separate thing from the joy of playing music.
    Realize that it's your ego that's hurting -- not your musical soul.

    The ego sets up goals and self-image. It may be using your bass playing as a way to give you an identity that may be lacking.

    Ego often sees our role as a good bass player as a fundamental element of our value (our self-image).

    That's a heckuva lot of pressure on our playing. It's hard enough to play well even when our ego _isn't_ interfering.

    Once you've taken a break, how about reconnecting to what drew you to music in the first place? Rediscover your favorite music.

    Do it in the privacy of your own home -- for no one's ears but your own. Don't try to improve, or produce something that someone else is going to be impressed with. Let yourself off the hook for a while. Let music be a private pleasure.

    All the best.

  16. yep +1 keep your bass and anything really special to YOU and take a sabbatical from playing and then realize your minds perception of your playing is not always accurate. Give yourself a break so to speak, you sound like you have been to hard on yourself and need a vacation followed by a reality check. Remember musical performance should be fun so play what you have fun with and eliminate peer pressure (including your own) from your musical equation. Enjoy yourself first, learn what you can along the way...

    I personally have dealt with major depression and for me (after exploring meds. to limited effect) I had to first accept the fact that I was not likely to be the next Jaco, etc, then I had to realize that I was proficient at bass for what I needed to do in my bands as I was able to accomplish learning new songs (with effort) and was not limited in song selection by bass part difficulty (with practice). Use a different model to evaluate your playing. If you have maintained a bass playing position in the past or have continued opportunities to perform in other venues you must be "decent". Lighten up, take a break, and enjoy yourself. :bassist:
  17. Tom_RCJ


    Jan 4, 2010
    Cardinal, Ontario, Canada
    Band is sponsored by Trinity Amps and Sennheiser.
    Sounds like you lost track of why you set off in that direction in the first place.

    I'm sure you were fully aware of all the hard work and financial investment that was ahead of you when you took the plunge. Something inside you told you that it would be worth it. You were ready and willing to dedicate years of your life to a goal. By your initial post, I'm understanding that at times you even felt motivated. Right in the middle of hardship and adversity, you soldiered on and, on some level, you felt good about what you were doing. That feeling is available to you. You just need to understand it enough to be able to work towards it whenever you feel like you've lost it.

    Did you start playing music to compare yourself to others? You feel sub-par compared to others? By that reasoning there should only be one bass player in the entire world. The best one. All others are inept. Not a very viable outlook, is it? May I instead suggest comparing yourself to yourself? Don't try to be as good or better than others, try to be better than you were yesterday, or last year. Do learn from others, use them as inspiration or whatever you want, but don't use them as a way of detaching yourself from your own position and belittling everything you've accomplished. Don't look down, look up. The view is much better.

    So what did you start down the musical path for? For me, I discovered I loved music. It was this one guy came to our high school to do a show for some cultural thing or some other. I lived in a very remote and isolated village in northern Canada so seeing someone properly play an electric guitar on a somewhat professional level was rare. It wasn't even a type of music I liked at the time, but when I saw someone playing an electric guitar for the first time my brain exploded. I HAD to do that. The idea of using an instrument to make sounds in a musical way gave me the shakes. I was obsessed. For the privilege of playing music I've driven countless hours for little to no pay. I've been belittled, criticized, mocked and misunderstood. I've been poor, cold and hungry. I've stood in rain, snow, swarms of insects, scorching heat, dangerous neighbourhoods. No matter how many times or how hard I hit the bottom, I can't help myself; I love music. It's insane, but I love it. It's just sounds that evoke emotions, feelings and memories but it gets under my skin and I have to have it. Listening isn't enough, I have to be a part of it. But that's just me. You have your own motivation. When you find it, I guarantee your current problems won't even show up on your radar. Find that first feeling that made you go insane and choose a ridiculous path. Don't forget to enjoy the ride and help others.

    I'm not going to pretend I understand bipolarity other than it involves mood swings. Please understand that I don't consider my opinion to invalidate what you're going through. If bipolarity makes things harder in the end then I'm sorry you have to deal with that. It concerns me a little that you made an offhand reference to suicide. I hope it was only an exaggeration. If not, then all I can say to that is that I've been that low and the only way I got out was to be proactive about changing my own mindset rather than hoping my environment will change. Ironically, that ended up changing the environment I live in for the better. I really hope that helps. I've never met you, and perhaps I never will, but I still care about what happens to you. I want everyone to enjoy what they do. I'm always willing to help someone make sense of things. Just say the word.
  18. I gave up playing at 22 after being locally successful. Went farming, and got back into it at about 38. I got the bug again, and have played continuously now for 27 years. Just saying, it's OK to quit and come back later if ya want. Good luck with whichever path you take.
  19. New meds and shaky hands, I took a little hiatus..? Back at College now (doesn't help) but I actually think I'm slowly getting back into it. Everything everyone has said here has been really helpful and kind. I am really grateful for all your kind words of wisdom.
    Thank you!!
  20. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Cali Intergalactic Mind Space - always on the edge
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Sometimes you can have thoughts but you don't have to believe them.

    Your brain applies filters but sometimes may be focused on the wrong part of the equation.

    If you take a look around, do you have your health?, do you have a job? can you do your studies?

    If you can do things that millions of other people do, then sometimes that has to be enough because your brain gives mixed messages about how you 'feel' you're doing.

    Feelings aren't facts.,Beliefs can be based on misguided notions.

    Do the best you can and try to cut yourself some slack.

    Good luck!

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