I want to learn guitar but I don’t know where to start?
Goals give us direction. Learning how to pick the right ones and the right sized ones for you personally is something that gets easier over time. People respond to goals in different ways. Some people feel restricted by goals and others make so many goals that it’s impossible to reach them. There’s a sweet spot somewhere in the middle.
Having some kind of direction is useful when you’re learning.
7 Reasons why…
1. BEING SPECIFIC: There are so many ways to learn to play guitar. Electric, acoustic, lead, rhythm, rock, blues, flamenco, jazz, accompaniment, songwriting, the list goes on and on. Try and be as specific as possible in knowing what you want to learn or at least why. This will narrow down some songs, riffs, styles etc for you to start with. You are more likely to stay engaged and excited when you can relate to what you’re learning. The things you think you like often change over time and that’s ok but to start with just pick something and start doing it. It’s the time you invest playing that will eventually show you the progress. Example: Learn 10 classic rock riffs or do RSL Awards Electric Guitar Grade 1 exam
2. CREATING STRUCTURE: Having guitar goals creates a framework and breaking that down into bits helps to make things feel achievable. It lessens the feeling of overwhelm that can come with learning a new skill or language. Feeling overwhelmed is one of the biggest reasons that can deter people as they don’t know where to start, or where to go. Having a bit of structure gives you an anchor. Example: learn chords A D E. Learn to change between them smoothly playing 4 down strums with your strumming hand. Learn the rhythm to 3 Little Birds. Practise the rhythm and play the chord changes etc
3. CREATING A HABIT: See it as investing in yourself. Decide on an action like practising guitar 3 times a week. Stick to it. Even if you think you’ll only sit down for 5 minutes one day do it anyway. I can guarantee once you’re playing you’ll most likely sit for longer. If you continue to do this regularly it will become what you do. Routines are what we’re good at but it can take a nudge to create a new one. Playing guitar regularly is when you will see progress. Some days it feels really productive and others you will feel like you’re going backwards. Keep going. Over time you will progress.
4. BEING REALISTIC: Being realistic about your ability and how much time you have to practise is important. If you pick something that is quite complex you are more likely to get disheartened and think you’re not good enough, and possibly give up. Have something complex as a longer term goal but have smaller goals that are achievable from the skill level you are at. If you see yourself getting better you are more likely to carry on. Learn to walk before you run. You are more likely to succeed this way. Example: your goal might be to learn the song Riptide. Start by learning the chords (Am G C) and just do one strum on each chord. Next learn to change smoothly between each chord. Then learn to play the strumming pattern just on the Am chord. When you have this do the strumming pattern whilst changing through Am G C etc.
5. A SENSE OF ACHIEVEMENT: Being able to look back at what you’ve learned is a great motivator to carry on. Seeing yourself achieve small goals in something you’re working on is a catalyst for inspiration and self confidence. Momentum is everything when you are learning. Be able to confidently say ‘I play guitar’
6. IT’S PERSONAL: It really is an investment in yourself. If you agree some goals with yourself and work towards them it’s for you. You’ll soon enough know more about what you do and don’t enjoy about playing guitar. It serves to inform you on how you learn, what your concentration span is, what thinly veiled excuses you tell yourself why you can’t practise today, what you love and get really excited about playing. Take this information, run with it and make some more goals.
7. GOALS CAN BE CHANGED: Whatever you think you’d like to learn may change once you know more. You’re allowed to do this. As you uncover how you learn and what you like or are good at you will get a sense of direction. It becomes more informed the longer you play. Change old goals for new more relevant ones if it makes sense and keeps you on your guitar playing journey. Be honest about ditching goals because somethings too hard though, none of this is easy.
Enjoy your learning journey. Learning is never linear. There will be twists and turns. Some days you’ll fly ahead and pennies will drop, other days you will feel like it’s a waste of time. Keep going, that’s where the good stuff is!
See you next time