Not even the most fervent of prayers can get you to the Rock God status you desire without disappointments and obstacles (it gets worse when you see someone just pick up the guitar, and play like a virtuoso). While learning a guitar is admirable, it isn’t an easy process. Even Slash, who didn’t know the difference between a bass and a guitar before he started playing, admits he still takes guitar lessons (several years after blessing us with Sweet child O’ mine, November rain, and MJ’s Give into Me). Let that sink in, and you’ll learn to cut yourself some slack – because that’s really what matters if you want to know how to stay motivated while learning a guitar.
That being said, motivation is not magic and can be tough to sustain even under the best circumstances. Here are some practical ways to stay motivated while mastering the chord.
1. Focus On The Basics First
In his autobiography, Slash says because his guitar teacher could replicate music he’d never heard in a matter of minutes, he wanted to learn to do the same but had a challenge every newbie experiences. He says “Like every overeager beginner, I tried to jump that level (the basics) straigtaway and, like every good teacher, Robert (his teacher then) forced me to master the fundamentals”.These days, Slash can perfectly replicate a new technique in just a few tries. You can ascribe this to either raw talent or years of practice if you like, but you can’t ignore the fact that Slash credits learning the fundamentals for this skill. So spend as much time as you need learning the basics, mastering small things, building consistency and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to learn the cool stuff later on
2. Track Your Progress
It’s quite easy to underrate your progress, but if you have a recording of previous sessions it’s much easier to see how far you’ve come. This is because, to get better, you’ll need to practice a lot when you’re alone (because no one likes consistently listening to a beginner string a chord) so you’ll most likely be the sole judge of your ability. Having practice sessions recorded can help you notice specific areas you excel at (give yourself a pat whenever you notice this), and where you need more work.
3. Always End On A Positive Note (pun intended)
This means even if you’d been playing poorly all through your practice session, you should play something you’re really good at, just before you put your guitar down for the day.The reason is quite simple – to remind yourself that even if you can’t play like Jimi Hendrix, you’re not entirely hopeless. No one likes being a complete failure. On that note, you should start your guitar journey by learning a piece you really love, since it might be easier to perfect. It’s this piece you’ll use to encourage yourself later on
4. Always Keep Your Guitar In Sight To Serve As a Reminder
Because building a playing habit takes time, patience and whatever help you can get. Learning a guitar usually starts with lots enthusism the first week, and a poor dusty piece of wood confined to the basement, once this enthusism wanes. So as much as possible, try to keep your guitar where you’ll always see it
5. Practice With Others
The best part about playing with others is that while you’ll undoubtedly meet people with more skill than you (whom you can learn from) you’ll also meet those who can’t string a chord to save their life – which is somewhat encouraging to any beginner.Additionally, If you can afford it, pay for private lessons. Good teachers will be able to assess your level better, kick bad playing habits to the curb, and customize lessons to suit your personality.
6. Remember Why You Started
Like learning other new skills, there are high and low points when mastering a guitar. So it’s ok to take a break when you feel you’re burning out. Lastly, It’s important to remember to just enjoy the music. If that means dropping your guitar and attending a concert instead, fine and good. Whatever keeps your creative juices flowing.
It’s not uncommon to hit a plateau and feel your motivation dwindle down. Remember there’s no magic on how to stay motivated while learning a guitar.
What’s important is to embrace consistency and never forget your love of the music. Before you know it, you’d have galloped your way through to the guitar wizardry level you always hoped for