Avoid these mistakes to become a better guitar player today
Mistake 1 – Not knowing what sort of expectations to set for yourself
You don’t want to compare yourself to where you want to be in 10 years time. That is completely unfair on yourself and is setting you up for a decade of frustration and a decade of failing. Who wants to spend a decade being a failure? No-one. And this is why most guitar players quit before they get any good.
So what should you do?
Aim to be better than you were yesterday. Everyday, try and improve your guitar playing by just 1%. That’s not very much, right? Can you make a chord change 1% faster? Can you increase how fast you can find all the notes A by 1%? Can you play an arpeggio 1% faster or increase the number of different places you can play it by 1%? Almost certainly.
Don’t judge your progress by where you want to go, but make sure you improve on where you were yesterday.
Mistake 2 – Not planning on how to maintain your motivation
Learning the guitar to a competent level is a long term commitment, and as I’m sure you are aware, life can get busy. If you’ve had a long day at work, you are going to be tired when you get home. Sure you might have the time to be able to fit in 30 minutes of practice, but sitting infront of the TV is probably a lot easier.
Maybe you’ve been raising the kids all day and you are exhausted. The evening has rolled round and you now have an hour to yourself. You could practice, but watching a DVD with a pizza would be a pretty easy decision.
Maybe you’ve had a long day at school, come home, done all your homework and now you want to watch cartoons before going to bed?
You know these obstacles will come up, so decide in advance how you are going to face them – pre-empt your own desire to quit! I’ve got some ideas I can share with you, but they might not necessarily work for you:
When driving back from work, listen to something to get your fired up for a practice session when you get in:
A motivational speaker
An awesome guitar band
A pre-recorded message you made for yourself?
Find some friends with a positive attitude who will spur you on and enjoy hearing about your progress
Acknowledge the progress you have made so far.
Mistake 42 – Not knowing what you want
A common question I ask new students, and potential students, is:
“What do you want to learn on guitar?”
In response, I usually get some bands and artists they like. Another question I ask is:
“What level do you want to take your guitar playing to?”
And for at least 50% of people I talk to, they have no idea.
I think of part of my job as “drawing a straight line”, getting people from where they are, to where they want to go. To draw a straight line we need two points… you cannot draw a straight line with one point! Now I understand, that when you are a beginner, you aren’t sure what is possible, and a lot of my beginners get clarity about what they want after starting their journey, but that brings me to my next point..
Mistake 43 – Not daring to dream
I often talk to new students, and potential students, and ask them:
“What is the epitome of guitar playing for you?”
And then ask:
“I mean, for you?”
And after they answer, I ask:
“And who do you think the best guitar player ever is?”
There is almost always a huge discrepancy between what people think they can do, and what they think it would be awesome to do. Human beings are remarkably similar in our ability to learn and accomplish… if we look at the steps one person took to achieve a goal, and repeat them, we will achieve the same goal.
Don’t be afraid of dreaming big. If the big dream scares you… or makes you self conscious, then don’t share it with anyone (apart from your guitar teacher! How they react to this is a good indication as to their quality…), but keep the dream alive.
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