The guitar can be quite frustrating to learn. This is because you are learning fine motor skills – literally moving your fingers accurately often over very small but precise distances. This kind of skill needs to become muscle memory – in other words you need to be able to perform the skills without conscious thought. Consequently time and practice are required.
When I am teaching my guitar students I always make sure to share with them the golden rule of learning anything on the guitar:-
NEVER throw the guitar against the wall!
There will probably be times when you do feel this frustrated. If you ever do, then put the guitar down and walk away. The most likely cause of this type of frustration is trying to play something and the more you play the worse it sounds. This happens to all of us at times. If you put the guitar down and walk away a quite amazing thing happens (most of the time anyway!) – When you go back to the guitar and try the piece again you will often find that it is now easier to play. The reason for this is that your brain can process playing ideas and techniques it has been exposed to and can work on these ideas in your subconscious. It is this brain processing away from the guitar that will pay dividends.
It is also always worth listening to these wise words from Jimi:-
“Sometimes you want to give up the guitar, you’ll hate the guitar. But if you stick with it, you’re gonna be rewarded”.
If Jimi Hendrix felt like that occasionally then it is also OK for us mere mortals to.
I have three other tips:-
- Learn stuff you want to play, but try to pick stuff that is challenging and not impossible. You want to pick songs that will stretch you a little and help you learn new chords and techniques, but best to leave the Dream Theatre shredding until you have built up your skills a bit.
- Practice for short periods – preferably twice a day. These practice sessions should be short, but one longer than the other. If you are an early riser (Lark) then do a longer practice first thing in the morning. If you are an evening person (Night Owl), then do a longer practice in the evening. By keeping your brain engaged throughout the day and night with learning you will see improvement faster.
- The other thing to remind you of, is to take a break occasionally! A couple of days off from playing can help your mind get ready for more learning.
If you have any questions, just let me know.
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