The idea that musicians are born naturally is a myth. This is certainly true of guitar players. Anyone with desire and the dedication to get to know and practice the instrument consistently can develop rocking guitar skills.
The key to growing your skill set and knowledge of playing the guitar is to first study the fundamentals of the instrument. Then, turn your practice into a habit you will come to enjoy. Similar to the goal of getting in shape, building guitar expertise requires some initial learning, forming a healthy routine, and some basic maintenance.
If you find yourself wanting to learn to play the guitar, it’s probably because you feel that you will enjoy it. Music can be a therapeutic release of all your stress and emotions. It’s important to have a special space or environment where you can practice. Get comfortable and get inspired.
Find a place where you can sit and correctly handle the instrument. Stools or straight-backed chairs with no arms are commonly used because they encourage you to sit up straight and they don’t interfere with your hold on the guitar.
Taking a few lessons with an instructor is a great way to learn more about proper handling and posture when playing. If you’re looking for a great instructor, check out The ZOEN. You can have a few lessons via live video from the comfort of your own home!
Once you’ve found your musical space, you should start by learning to play the basic chords. This, like any other physical skill, takes time and practice. What may seem like a monotonous start of repetitive strumming will develop into the finesse of an experienced musician.
As you develop chords, you can move on to scales and eventually start playing simple songs. Most guitar players will learn by ear, use sheet music, or use guitar tablature – notations that show finger placement instead of staff notes. When you begin to learn your favorite songs, you will start to enjoy your time spent practicing even more.
You’ll be surprised just how far you can go with only a few simple chords under your belt.
Set clear goals for yourself with specific time periods or days to practice. This will help your development and help you maintain a schedule. Remember to set realistic goals! To ensure success, use the M.A.G.I.C. goals framework.
Once you have found your rhythm, it is important to maintain your new talent. It may seem weird to stretch before or after you play music, but stretching is an important part of any physical activity. Your hands, arms, shoulders and back can take a real beating playing the guitar, especially as a beginner. Take care of them! Allow yourself breaks to prevent any serious damage to your joints (called Repetitive Strain Injury or “RSI”) and your skin. Over time your body will adapt and you will be able to play more often and for longer without the need for concern – but early on you should take care.
Try playing different types of music. This will help you develop true skills that transcend any particular genre. Seek inspiration from other people, in-person or online. Learn how to tune and properly string your guitar.
Your knowledge of these basic “housekeeping” duties will increase your respect for your instrument. Some of the greatest musicians in the world consider their instrument an extension of themselves. Caring for yours will help foster that relationship.
There is a learning curve when playing the guitar and it can be tough at first. Your muscles may become sore. You may develop blisters. You will get frustrated at simple errors. But eventually, your muscle memory will kick in. Your blisters will become callouses. Your errors will become fewer and your musical proficiency will begin to flow. In no time at all, you’ll be playing like a true guitar hero.
Need some inspiration or want to chat with other budding guitar heroes? Join Musical U today! Our online community is full of support and tons of modules that will help you reach heroic heights fast.
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