by Allen Hopgood
In this day and age, there are many resources available to help you learn guitar. Free tabs to help you learn songs; Apps to help you improve your timing and rhythm playing. And countless backing tracks for you to play along with so you can practice your improvisation skills.
There is literally everything you need, to learn how to play guitar, all within easy access or locality of you. So why isn't there more great guitar players? I'm not talking about virtuoso guitar players but rather hobbyists or weekend warriors. Competent guitar players who get together with their friends and jam out a few tunes together?
We are all born with the free and clear tools to play guitar – a mind, eyes, hands and ears. We all use this great equipment everyday. Not just with guitar playing but also in everything we do. For most people the piece of equipment we use the least, is our mind. Your mind is the key tool that determines whether you will become good at playing guitar or not.
In this article, I will share with you five of the most common beliefs, or repeated sayings, that many aspiring and hopeful guitar players continually defeat themselves with. Unfortunately, they arrive at the conclusion that it is 'too hard” and end up, giving up, on the guitar.
I'm not musical enough
After repeated attempts at trying to change chords or pick out a tune, most learning guitar players conclude, that it's just too hard because they think they must not be musical enough to play guitar because they can't play something yet. Quite often these guitar hopefuls either set up too big expectations of them self from the beginning or did not seek the right advice before quitting. They have drawn an irrational conclusion, they are not musical enough, but never saw they were defeating themselves, every step of the way, with continued thoughts like, “it's too hard”.
I have no rhythm
This common belief comes from the fact that a lot of beginning guitar players try to play something straight up that is simply way too advanced for their skill set at the moment. Again their false conclusion of why they can't play or learn guitar is usually way too entrenched and confirmed as an absolute, before seeking the correct instruction of how to rid themselves of this belief. There are simple things that you can train yourself on to be able to have good rhythm.
I'm too old
This one starts because people have always wanted to play but never made a commitment or decision to learn. So now that they've procrastinated for many years the feel it’s too late to start. The fastest way around this belief is, that you have the desire, you want to learn to play guitar. Does it really matter if you're 30, 40, 50, 60 or older? The question is do you want to spend the rest of your life doing something you enjoy or live out your days wishing you had of started at an earlier age? Nobody is too old if they want to do it.
My fingers are too fat or too small
Your fingers will only be a limitation if you decide it to be. Guitar player’s hands come in all shapes and sizes. With persistence, belief and training you can play most things. Again its all how your mind thinks and the things you say too yourself, as you practice and learn guitar. This is what gets you the results you want.
I don't know how to read music
That's probably true! But is it a reason to put the guitar down for good and never pick it up again? This self-fulfilling prophecy comes from learning things in the wrong order, causing people to take on this belief. You can actually learn to play – a lot and well, without knowing how to read music. Knowing how to read music does help you become a better guitar player, but it is not necessary to begin with. You may be surprised to learn how many professional guitar player don't know how to read or even write music, yet that are making a living playing guitar. The quickest and easiest way around this one is to spend more time with the guitar in your hands than your eyes glued to a music sheet.
These five beliefs have ended way more hobbies before they even began. These 'beliefs' and many more variations of these alibis, that people talk themselves into and hold themselves accountable to, stop them from progressing on their instrument. Yet it doesn't have to be this way. Simply changing your thoughts from 'this is hard' to, 'you know what? I'm getting this. It's taking longer than I thought, but that's okay' will work for you.
Nearly everybody on the planet has a large dose of negative talk and beliefs going on. Its everywhere, and we are exposed to this everyday from the news, family members or co-workers. It's so rampant, that it feels a natural part of our everyday lives.
What can you do today to start making your guitar playing look easy? Watch what you say to yourself when you're practicing guitar. Read books on the subject. Set smaller playing goals so you get immediate results to build up some wins to gain valuable confidence. Yes some things can be either hard or a challenge to play on the guitar. Only you can decide what it will be for you.
Above all your mind is the most important tool and resource you have. It can either make you the guitar player you want to be or not.
About Allen Hopgood: Allen Hopgood is an Australian, professional guitar teacher and instructor. As a certified and trained guitar teacher, he conducts guitar lessons and guitar training in his home town on the Gold Coast.