How Playing Guitar Will Benefit You

As you learn to play guitar, you’ll enter a whole new world where the rewards of learning are extraordinary, including;

  • Building your self confidence and self esteem
  • You’ll get smarter by exercising your brain
  • Increasing your motor skills by training your hands and fingers to function individually, and in groups
  • Making new friends and having fun jamming with them
  • Developing a greater understanding and appreciation of music
  • Enjoying a wonderful sense of fulfillment when you accomplish something new
  • You’ll connect with people emotionally through your music … and often get praised for it!

A Little Encouragement for You

In the beginning, seeing what you’re going to learn can seem overwhelming! Look back at examples of things you’ve already learned in life. You learned to read and write; one letter at a time, one word at a time, then, one sentence, one paragraph, one book…

You probably take it for granted, but, learning to speak, read and write was complex at first, and now you do these things without thinking about them! It’s the same when you learn guitar.  Easy, yes … fast, no! Patience, persistence and clear goals are the keys.

Let’s compare learning guitar to putting together a big puzzle.

At first you may be looking at 5,000 pieces and you sort through all of them to build your border (like the beginning stage where you begin to train your hands and fingers, and get comfortable with your guitar).

Next you start filling in the puzzle one piece at a time (you learn some notes and a few chords).

After a while you have less pieces to search through and more understanding to continue.

Finally your puzzle is coming together (you can read notation, understand chords, your rhythm becomes stronger, and you can learn a new piece/song faster)

The Stages of Learning Guitar are the Same for Everyone

Everything might seem awkward and confusing at first. The guitar will feel uncomfortable, and your fingertips will feel some pain and tenderness. This is common and will change with persistent practice. After a while, your fingertips won’t hurt and your guitar will become as comfortable as an old friend. With practice, playing gets easier and easier, and before you know it, it’s second nature … you’ll be able to play with the best of them! Be persistent and never give up!

(Article by: Peter Zitars)

Why Learn The Guitar? – Motivations For Playing

People decide to learn how to play guitar for many reasons. Here are some of the most common:

  • The best reasons are based around a genuine passion for music and the guitar as an instrument to communicate this – and the guitar has many attractions. For example, this is a very versatile instrument that is capable of playing in many musical styles, such as rock, blues, classical, folk, flamenco and many more. The guitar’s versatility makes it especially attractive to people with varied musical tastes, who don’t want to be limited to playing just one musical genre or style. In addition, the guitar can be used equally well as a solo instrument and for accompanying a band, a singer or other instrumentalists.
  • The guitar family can also produce a wide variety of sounds, from the classical guitar’s numerous tonalities, to the electric guitar’s almost infinite variety of effects when paired with effects processers. The guitar’s huge sonic palette will mean you never get bored!
  • People who learn guitar also find that it’s relatively easy to start sounding good early on. Of course becoming truly proficient takes time and effort, and in this respect, the guitar can be one of the most challenging to master. You can start picking out simple melodies with your fingers or a pick very quickly, and learning to play guitar fast, even very simple songs, and sounding reasonably good in a short space of time, is very encouraging to beginner guitarists. Similarly, after learning just a handful of chords and a basic strum pattern, you can be playing along with your favorite songs, or starting to write your own tunes.
  • Many people learn how to play guitar because they want to play in a band or ensemble. This is a great experience, and can be very enjoyable for players at all levels. Playing along with others is an effective way to improve your guitar skills quickly, and can be very motivating. Plus, it gives you a break from playing alone in your room, which is especially welcome for those of a more sociable disposition!
  • There are also people who want to learn how to play guitar because they believe it’s a ‘cool’ thing to do, they want to impress their friends, or they just want to be famous. This really isn’t the best kind of motivation.

Where To Start

So, you’ve decided you want to learn to play the guitar, and you want to know where to begin. There are many ways to get started, and the sheer number of options can feel overwhelming at first, so you might find it helpful to ask yourself a few key questions, like:

  • Which types of music are you most interested in learning to play?
  • What is your level of experience with playing the guitar and with music generally?
  • What is your budget like?
  • What is your motivation for playing? (as mentioned above)

From here you can decide if you would like to learn on your own, or contact an instructor. Ideally, the best way to progress fast and accurately is with someone who has reached a high level of proficiency, and has the ability to communicate it properly.

What to Expect – Making Progress

Once you’ve settled on a good source of guitar instruction, you’re on your way. Assuming that is, that you’ve committed to a regular practice routine! If you practice your guitar each day and always do the best you can, you’ll soon start to make progress. But how much, and how quickly?  
So many people want to learn to play guitar fast. This is understandable, but if you’re so concerned with ‘getting there’ that you don’t taking the time to master each step along the way, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Why? Well, if you skip over the fundamentals, you’ll not only run into problems ahead, but it will take you even longer to reach your goal, because you’ll eventually need to start over and unlearn all of the bad habits you’ve picked up. Or – more likely – you’ll get so frustrated you end up giving up, and will never learn how to play guitar well at all, which would be a huge shame. So if you genuinely want to learn to play guitar well, decide from the outset that you’ll progress at a steady pace, and learn to walk before you run. This slower pace can be a bit frustrating, but the satisfaction of really mastering each skill along the way will make up for that.
 Look at it this way – you have a lot to learn. You’ll be learning about notes, chords, arpeggios, scales and other technical exercises, picking and strumming, left and right hand techniques, reading notation and tab, improvisation, transcribing music, playing by ear, playing with others, performance skills, getting to grips with various pieces of guitar gear (particularly if you play electric guitar), guitar maintenance, developing strength in your hands and flexibility in your fingers and so on… it’s a lot to master! And people will progress at difference paces, depending on factors such as natural aptitude, practice habits, previous experience etc. So go easy on yourself, and don’t expect to figure it out all at once.

In the book Guitar Zero: The New Musician and the Science of Learning, by Gary Marcus, he estimates that people, on average, must use a skill for 10,000 hours to become proficient. (You could break this down to one hour of practice a day for about 27 years/ two hours a day becomes 13 years / 3 hours a day about 9 years…etc.)

However, the journey to reach this proficiency can provide great enjoyment. Matter of fact, this is an awesome experience. Typically, students can often play simple note melodies, and strum chords to popular songs in about 6 months. This is a goal to reach for, and an expectation you can have for yourself when you begin lessons.

Are You Really Committed To Learning The Guitar?

This leads to perhaps the most important point – you know how to start learning guitar now – but are you actually committed to following through?  Some people who start to learn an instrument give up within a few months. This is often because that first burst of enthusiasm will inevitably wear off – and then it can get a bit dull and frustrating, particularly when you hit a rough patch (and you will – everyone does!). So you need to make an intentional effort to keep that passion alive when the going gets tough, and make yourself keep going, day in, day out. If you can keep your larger goal in mind, and don’t let yourself be discouraged when things don’t go as smoothly as planned, you can avoid becoming yet another statistic. One thing’s certain – if you begin learning the guitar now, and stick with it, a year from now you’ll be making some cool sounds, and in five years you’ll probably have developed some seriously impressive skills – and it’ll be well worth all the effort and sore fingers!

(Edited from Musography.com)