You’re on a weekend getaway with your friends and it’s time for some music. One of your friends has brought his acoustic guitar and starts playing it. Almost instantly, the night comes to life, the atmosphere is magical. His fingers move faster on the fretboard than yours on the computer keyboard. He is the toast of the night and clearly steals the show. You, on the other hand, are left thinking: ‘Only if I could learn to play like this’. The question is ‘Why can’t you play like this?’ What is needed to play the guitar? Do you require extremely fast fingers? Or maybe a musical ear is what you need. Is your friend gifted with some special powers that the lamp’s ‘guitar genie’ gave him? The fact is that almost anyone can play the guitar as long as he is willing to put in the time and effort. The reason most people can’t do it is because they choose one of the ‘golden five don’ts’ to learn guitar. These are mistakes that almost all of us can make, and yet they can end your aspirations of being a good guitarist. Wouldn’t you like to know what they are?
Number 1: trying to self learn: Have you been bitten by the do-it-yourself bug? I also love the do it yourself. But there are certain things that require the special and skillful hands of a teacher and the guitar is one of those things. There have been and will be self-taught. But these are the gifted boys or girls we talked about earlier. For the rest, there is the safest and most sensible option of finding a guardian. All the literature that circulates on the Internet cannot replace a good guitar tutor. So if you’ve been dabbling with the idea of self-study, drop it and find a tutor unless you’re talented of course.
Number 2: Trying to learn too fast: I must have heard this a million times. ‘I want to learn fast.’ Now why would you want to do that unless you have a trip to Mars in the next few months? If you feel that guitar is not worth too much time or is so unimportant, then you shouldn’t learn it in the first place. And thanks to the demand for “quick learn” courses, there are hundreds and thousands of websites and books devoted to such learning techniques. ‘Learn to play guitar in 7 days’, ‘Learn to play basic guitar charts in 3 days’. Why have I even seen the extreme where you can learn to play guitar in two hours! Absurd is the word that best describes these courses and websites. Do yourself a favor, stay away from them. Go slow, go steady and you will win the race.
Number three: lack of practice: The guitar is an instrument that requires immense patience and stamina to master. If you learn a new lesson, you should practice it ‘at least’ once a day until you can play it blindfolded. This is the technique I used successfully. I’ve seen people practicing the guitar once a week. Believe me, it will be very difficult for you to learn it if you practice on that frequency. Another common problem is that people only practice what they are good at, easily avoiding the rest. The reason is very simple. If you’re good at something, it obviously sounds good when you practice. But you are limiting your progress by avoiding the hard parts. So start practicing the worst part before anything else. Little by little, you will learn to play it with the same ease.
Number Four: Jumping to chords: Another trait commonly seen in ‘fast learners’. Chords are the mainstay of guitar music. Yes, they are certainly very attractive. But most people want to jump into chords and start playing songs as soon as they start learning guitar. This is extremely difficult, almost impossible. You have to master playing the scales first. Scales will not only help you develop a musical ear, but they will also help you extend your fingers. Finger exercises are an extremely important part of building a solid foundation. And yes, don’t forget to use that little finger.
Number Five: Giving Up Too Soon: You will feel miserable for the first 5 to 6 months. Admit this fact and get along with him. It’s human to produce those dead sounds at first while learning to play. But don’t give up. You have to stick to that. Most people give up when they are close to success. It’s up to you if you want to achieve it or leave it halfway. They are different styles for different types. Don’t be surprised if your friend is learning faster than you. Work hard, keep practicing and you will definitely be a good guitar player one day.
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