30 Sep 5 Thoughts Every Guitar Player Has Sooner or Later…
Be it Jimi, Eric, Slash, or whomever your inspiration may be, at some stage in their life they had never picked up a guitar. Behind each callused finger and seemingly effortless fretboard meandering solo lies hours upon hours of one thing… practice! As I’m sure you’ve found out by now this means a few things, it means dud notes, it means questioning the very nature of your fingers (they’re too fat , they’re too small, they don’t stretch far enough, why won’t this one stay still while I move this other one). Mistakes are frustrating, that’s a given, and reading this won’t wave a magic wand and change that, but here are some simple points I wish to put forward, some food for thought that you may find useful.
- Millions of people successfully play the guitar.
Of course this is to varying standards based on everyone’s goals, but simply put – if so many people can do it, so can you!
- Recognise that your enthusiasm outweighing your ability is a great tool.
So you’ve mentally prepared yourself dodging a torrent of flying underwear on your big set at Glasto… but you can’t quite make the stretch for that C chord? Time to give it up as a bad job? Time to switch to BASS? No of course not, but it is the time to take stock and remember point 1, and more importantly remember this should be enjoyable, so keep practicing, keep enthused, and with the guidance of your teacher, you will go a long way.
- Embrace the frustration
There is no definitive end point when learning the guitar (or any instrument for that matter). Perhaps the closest think to a linear scale of achievement is a grading system of some sort, but of course this can only cover so much. As your technical ability develops, it’s likely that you will surpass your own expectations of what you thought was possible. What you initially wished to achieve when you started, or where you are now, will shift to more challenging obstacles… The flipside of that wonderfully competitive nature and desire to achieve more of course, is that there will always be mistakes here and there, so if that theme is inherent, it’s better to embrace it early on.
- Consider your mistakes as indicators of progress.
Anyone who studies with me will have heard me say things like “remember a few weeks ago when you couldn’t” or “think back to last lesson and you were struggling with… “ Now look at you! Your past difficulties are great checkpoints to look back on and give you that extra push over a current obstacle.
- Concentrate on one thing at a time
This point will always be relevant, perhaps even more so as you progress and have to make decisions as to the style of music you want to play etc. This is very much a ‘if at first you don’t succeed’ scenario, but as long as the goal is challenging and crucially realistic (and it will be both if set by a teacher) then stick at it, this does require self discipline as it is tempting to play something you are comfortable with already, or try another exercise, but stick at it and you will reap the rewards.
Josh Heenan’s first blog post for Omni Guitar. Josh delivers guitar lessons in Rotherham, Sheffield and Doncaster.