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Staying motivated at guitar

By Jon, published on 05/03/2018 We Love Prof - AU > Music > Guitar > How do you stay motivated when you’re learning to play the guitar?

So you’ve decided to learn to play guitar.

You’ve started learning guitar with the hope that you’re about to start playing like the greats and will be able to perform all of your favorite songs.

You’re totally motivated and ready to dive straight in…but will you stay that way?

Off to a roaring start on the guitar

At first, learning to play the guitar feels like a breeze.

You learn quickly, you sign up for a few classes to improve your guitar skills, you learn some music theory, and you meet other musicians and begin to jam together.

In short, you can see yourself graduating to rock god status in just a few months and performing all kinds of fancy tricks and techniques.

Jimi Hendrix plays the guitar with motivation Jimi Hendrix during the Monterey Festival in 1967

“Jimi Hendrix, send some of your talent my way!”

Sudden discouragement

Unfortunately, even the most fervent prayers won’t be any help when your first disappointments and obstacles arise.

Whether you’re sitting in your studio, at your computer, or hidden in your bedroom, you suddenly hit a brick wall and just can’t get any further.

Do you ever experience these terrible periods of discouragement?

You’re in the middle of working on the rhythm for a new piece of music, but nothing sounds like it should, or it requires techniques that you haven’t yet mastered.

Even worse, you meet another guitarist who’s been playing for even less time than you, but plays much better.

You want to just throw in the towel and give up guitar – it wasn’t really for you, after all, and you’ll never be great anyway.

This type of thinking is perfectly reasonable and normal, but if you want to learn to play guitar, you need to realize that it’s not a linear progression. No one learns on their own, and aside from prodigies who jump right in, the highs and lows are normal.

The important thing is to learn how to become and stay motivated so that practicing your guitar is an enjoyable hobby.

Staying motivated as you learn guitar

What is motivation?

When you begin to feel like you’re stagnating and hitting a brick wall, playing badly and no longer a good guitarist, your motivation begins to ebb away.

Don’t worry, everyone experiences moments of doubt, even the great guitarists.

Motivation will keep you moving ahead and taking action to continue in the most efficient and successful way possible.

 How to keep faith in your guitar skills? The goal is to never give up your guitar learning.
Never get discouraged while learning the guitar!

The important thing when dealing with a lack of motivation is to not let yourself be subsumed with negative thoughts; they will only discourage you from playing guitar and leave you stymied.

Focus on your goals for learning guitar

To stay motivated, you can start by focusing on your reasons for playing guitar.

Why did you begin learning to play guitar? What made you buy one?

Do you want to play just for fun, or to perform? Do you hope to become a professional musician, or just jam with some friends?

What made you want to learn everything about guitar?

Take a few minutes to really think about your answers to these questions and remember your reasons for picking up a guitar in the first place.

You must have had a goal, a picture in your head when you began guitar – find that picture again and use it to rediscover your motivation.

Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you won’t become a great guitarist after just a few sessions strumming your guitar.

Take your goal, write it on a piece of paper and stick it on the wall. That way, you can keep the journey you’re on in mind and remember the different steps you need to travel along the way.

By visualizing your initial goal, you can rediscover the enthusiasm you had at the beginning.

Don’t skip steps

Having a goal in mind when you decide to learn guitar is a good thing, it will help guide you on your journey and can help boost your motivation.

But if your goal is too challenging and it seems impossible, you risk exhausting your energy and your motivation will drop until you give up completely.

Learning guitar requires patience, dealing with frustration, and practicing regularly to keep improving.

This is how guitar lessons can help – with the support of a professional musician by your side, you will learn guitar the right way, mastering the basics and then graduating on to new techniques appropriate to your level.

At each step along the way, you’ll stay motivated and see real progress.

Why would you jump to finger tapping and playing like Eddie Van Halen when you’ve barely mastered the major chords or how to play an arpeggio?

The basic rule that you must learn to walk before you can run applies to guitar, just like everything else.  Mastering the basics is a crucial step to improving your playing.

If you become demotivated during your lessons, some good advice is to go back and work on something that you’ve already mastered.

By substituting a difficult exercise with an easier one, your brain will think, “Awesome, I know that, let’s keep going!”

Sometimes, it is helpful to go backwards to start from more stable ground to find your motivation again.

Get help from your fellow musicians

The best solution is to sometimes accept help. Don’t hesitate to turn to your fellow guitarists.

Play together

Learning to play guitar isn’t always easy, especially if you’re just sitting on your own in front of a computer screen, tablet, or sheets of music. Even with good guitar tabs it may be hard.

Music is something that ought to be shared with others, whether to convey emotions, test your skills against other musicians, or just for the joy of playing with others.

If you want to stay motivated and avoid discouragement, play with one or more other musicians. But where can you learn to play guitar? And with who?

Group guitar lessons

You could enroll in a regular guitar course that will allow you to judge your level and learn to play with other musicians. Not everyone will be at the same level, and it’s very likely that you will have things you can learn from one another.

Private lessons

You could also take private lessons with an instructor. Instead of trying to learn all the techniques on your own, taking the risk of learning bad habits and finally giving up, why not learn with the support of a teacher who will focus on you and help you improve at playing guitar?

 How to boost your motivation with private guitar lessons? Learn guitar with a proper teacher.

In fact, an independent teacher can assess your level, identify your weaknesses, and adapt their lessons to your goals and personality.

You’ll have the opportunity to have a professional (and passionate) guitarist all to yourself to answer any and all of your questions.

In exchange, the teacher can show you new techniques and tips, and broaden your musical horizon with new pieces and styles that you hadn’t thought of before.

Play in a group

Another way to play with others is to sign up to a club, respond to an ad searching for a guitarist, or to just play with friends.

By playing with others, you can show off what you’ve learned and share tips while also learning theirs.

You can share your thoughts and questions, and help keep one another motivated.

Don’t hesitate to play with musicians who play other instruments either – it’s an opportunity to focus on group dynamics and learn how to play with others, and this can be enough to regain your motivation.

Learn to play the guitar with other musicians! And learning to play the guitar is also a shared experience. Share your passion for guitar!

If possible, try and play with other musicians who are at the same level. If they’re beginners like you, you won’t become discouraged.

Music, and guitar especially, is a living art. It’s a way to channel your passion and enthusiasm, and a great way to share your feelings.

Enjoy it

You mustn’t forget to enjoy yourself when you play guitar. It’s the most important component to staying motivated and continuing to improve.

That’s why, from time to time, you could:

  • Treat yourself to some new equipment (pedal, guitar, amp, microphone, picks, etc.)
  • Go to a concert to rediscover the energy of good music and the joy of seeing other guitarists on stage
  • Learn how to play chords properly!
  • Enroll in a masterclass with a famous guitarist. It’s a great way to pick up tips from well-known guitarists.
  • Learn new pieces to play on the guitar and share them on social networks like YouTube or Facebook. It’s also a way to receive feedback.
  • Find out how to change your strings!
  • Subscribe to a specialist magazine to find out about current events and learn new exercises to improve a particular technique.

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