If you want to learn to play guitar, motivation is key – here are some tips to help you stay focused on the goal…
The first few weeks after you begin to learn to play guitar, are very exciting. You have a great new instrument, and you are taking the first steps towards emulating your idols. The problem is that once those first flushes of excitement have subsided, you realise that you still have quite a long way to go. In fact, it can feel like a mini mountain to climb…
Don’t get too despondent, though. Firstly, if you can drive a car, or pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time (if you’re not old enough to drive) than you have the raw skills to be able to learn how to play- it just takes some patience.
There are some things that can help to keep motivation levels high, however…
Get a good teacher
Although you can learn to play guitar without one, I would always seriously consider getting a teacher. Progress will always be quicker with the experience, knowledge and guidance of a good teacher. Think of it like this: they can save you from making the mistakes everyone makes, making your path towards your goal more direct (and quicker).
Crucially, a teacher structures the learning process, giving you small goals to aim for steadily, without overwhelming.
Many Dawsons stores have music schools offering lessons from talented and enthusiastic teachers. You can find details here.
Listen back to your practice
This can be difficult, but it is undoubtedly one of the most useful things you can do when learning. When you practice as a beginner, you are often too focused on the act of playing to closely listen to your performance in detail, and being able to review this makes it far more straightforward to hear where any issues are.
This could be as simple as using a smart phone, but for better results, there some excellent handheld recorders with high-quality built-in microphones that will record CD quality audio in stereo. These are very easy to operate, and recordings can be easily transferred to a computer for sharing with others. Hey, boring people with your music is one of the best bits about being a musician 😀
Recorders can be found in our online store here.
Get a metronome
It’s not the most exciting thing you’ll ever buy, but a metronome is undoubtedly one of the most useful. For the uninitiated, this is a device that clicks at a set rhythmic tempo, so that a musician can use this to set their playing speed.
For the beginner, this means that tempo can be slowed right down, to make things easier to play, but then steadily increased when the piece is accomplished at lower tempos. It’s a bit like ‘raising the bar’ gradually for an athlete.
We have a wide range of metronomes in our online store here.
Make sure your guitar is looked after
A good, well looked after guitar will make you want to play it. A badly set-up guitar, with strings like rusty cheese wire that is covered in filth will not. It is well worth making sure that your instrument is well looked after, as a result.
Strings are relatively inexpensive, but strumming a chord on a guitar with a fresh set is one of life’s little pleasures (and one that only guitarists get to appreciate). Plus, like many things in life, there’s a sense of satisfaction from getting your guitar looking and sounding great.
Listen to lots of great music
It was (most likely) listening to music, or going to gigs that inspired you to pick up the guitar, so when you feel de-motivated, remind yourself why you started to learn: dig out some recordings of your heroes, and listen to them Go to some gigs, and keep your enthusiasm alive. Remember that they were in your position at some point, and they had to go through these first, difficult steps. It was only through determination and passion that they ended up where they are, so stick with it.
You never hear anyone saying that they regret learning to play, but thousands regretting that they didn’t. Stay focused and you’ll get there, and it will be worth every moment that you’ve invested into it- trust me 😉
Joe is a contributor for the Dawsons Music blog. Specialising in product reviews and crafting content to help and inspire musicians of all musical backgrounds.