Ever have trouble practising guitar?
Don't feel like it?
Don't have time?
.....or just don't want to?
You are not the first person to think this ......and you won't be the last!
Read on below or jump right to the juicy bits!
(TWO super simple TIPs for getting better on guitar)
The Three Month Honeymoon
This is the story. We start out pretty pumped, excited to be playing guitar. We are excited, so our motivation is high.
The first two months are like going out with a new girlfriend or boyfriend, or getting a new dog, cat or budgerigar..... etc, etc
(replace my suggestions with any other new and exciting experiences you prefer, I won't be offended)
Then sometime around the three to six month mark we start to settle down, things start to become a bit .....NORMAL (Oh no!)
....maybe even boring (shocker I know!)
....we lose motivation
But what happened ???
Well, as most of you would already be aware, a tremendous amount of excitment can come from having a great idea (e.g. learning to play guitar)
.....and with that excitement comes the "mystery of the unknown".
I want to play guitar!
...but how do I actually do it?
What do I have to learn?
How do I get good???
The Mystery of the Unknown
It's like a magic trick.
Once you know how the trick is done,
it's no longer "magic",
......it's just a "trick".
Same with playing guitar. At around the three to six month mark, you start to understand what you need to do to play guitar (chords, songs, picking, scales, play, practice, etc) the mystery of the "unknown" drops away.... or so it seems....
But how come I can't play guitar like...(insert favourite guitarist)
The biggest reason people really quit playing guitar is because of ridiculous expectations they put upon themslevs.
It takes time and effort to get better at anything, and guitar is no different.
It's not an activity you can just do on "auto-pilot", the whole point of music is to experience it. Do you think your favourite guitarists got that good by accident?
The honest answer is..... NOooo, of course not!
You might say
...but they're talented etc, etc..
Well, who cares if they are? What you might not be aware of is the fact that they still worked tremendously hard to get to that level. They learnt how to get good at creating the experience of music........
Important Side Note:
Having favourite guitarists is great if you use them as an inspiration and motivation to play. Not so great if you use them as an excuse or crutch for you not achieving things on guitar. At the end of the day, are you playing guitar for you or someone else?
........This means you have to learn to focus on what you are playing/listening to.
You need to learn to be engaged in the experience (difficult these days because we are conditioned to have very short attention spans.)
You also need to give your body and mind time to get used to playing music. Learning anything new takes time. The two biggest tools you have in your arsenal when playing music are:
(How your mind organises/remembers sounds)
(How your fingers remember what to do)
***These are skills that anyone can build***
Yes, that means YOU can too
Take a moment to think about that......
At this point, you might say something like...
man, this is way too complicated
...but I'm not naturally gifted, so what's the point of trying
Well, if you have got this far, that means there is at least some small part of you that wants some answers.
Push on, we're coming to the juicy parts.
The Magic is back baby!
Remember the feeling of listening to a song you love?
A song that you get completely absorbed in?
That... is the experience of music!
When you decide to start playing guitar, that experience/feeling is what you are searching for. You are really just trying to create that experience for yourself (....even if you didn't realise it when you started)
With learning to focus on the experience of music, comes that original sense of excitment. This is when the ("unkown") magic actually returns.....
So, how do I get back the feeling of being excited again???
Ok, here's a statement to remember....
Playing guitar is just as much a mental skill, as it is a physical skill.
Two Super Simple TIPS
I'm going to give you TWO super simple TIPs to make getting better on guitar much easier.
Try this.... right now!
Picture yourself playing the guitar in the future, let's say five years time ......
(Close your eyes for a 30 seconds...)
Are you better?
Do you see yourself enjoying what you play?
(maybe even secretly.... you think you look kinda cool too,
shh.... keep that to yourself)
Everyday split your guitar time into 2 Parts.
Part 1 is playing purley for Fun and Enjoyment.
This is when you relax and don't think too much about what you play, let go of "mistakes".
Focus on the feeling of playing. Let yourself feel good about playing guitar!
**Remember that picture of ourselves in TIP 1**
Did it feel good? Did it feel like fun?
Part 2 is Boosting/ Increasing your Skills.
Playing guitar is a lot like eating. Everyday we need to eat to nourish our bodies and help them grow.
What would happen if we only ate once a week?
Probably be feeling pretty weak and tired most of the time, no?
Most people struggle with guitar because they only practice once a week (and sometimes not at all!). Not suprising that you lose motivation.
If we "feed" our guitar playing regulary (even just a little bit everyday or so), then our skill and ability is also going to be nourished and grow.
*Motivation is key. Playing guitar takes time so don't set ridiculous expectations for yourself (unless you are prepared to put in the work to achieve them).
*TIP 1 - Everyday when you wake up or go to bed, spend a moment picturing yourself playing guitar. Focus on how great it feels. Focus on the experience.
*TIP 2 - Split your playing into 2 parts - Spend half the time playing for fun, and the other half boosting your skills.
Still not sure about the amazing "experience" of listening to music I was talking about?
Go right now and find an awesome song,