This is a short article about a very important topic for those who wish to learn guitar but can also be applied to really learning just about anything. I’m often asked the question “What does it take to learn guitar?” It is the burning question that anyone who sets out to learn guitar would give almost anything to know. The difficulty with such a question is music is like language and it’s the same as asking how long would it take me to learn to speak Chinese. Learning to speak Chinese will vary from person to person depending on a multitude of factors such as ‘Do you have previous experience in the Chinese language?’ or ‘Do you already speak a similar language like Japanese which shares many of the same characters?’ or ‘Are you living in China right now?’ and so on.
“How long will it take me to learn guitar?”
As you can see the question is difficult to answer so lets ask a different question. . What is the one characteristic that stands out over and above all others when it comes to learning guitar? Answer. Effective communication. I have been working with guitar students and guitar teachers for 27 years and the one thing that seems to stand out among the best students and the best teachers is their ability to communicate. It trumps natural talent and even long hours of practice. Although these two particular traits give students a definite advantage effective communicators outperform other students for one simple reason. They waste less time.
The Dip will make or break you
I want to use some statistics to help illustrate the point. One of the most common scenarios that occurs with beginner students as described by the author Seth Godin in his book ‘The Dip’. When we begin anything new we are highly motivated. In the case of guitar you may have went to a concert or heard a great song and decided it was time to learn guitar. After a few weeks or in some cases months the motivation begins to diminish. The honeymoon is over so to speak and guitar practice becomes a chore. This is known as ‘The dip’. Now the dip is where most people start to skip practice and/or their lessons. In short they lose interest but more to the point they lose confidence in their ability to learn guitar. I would say almost everyone experiences the dip. But there is a very obvious difference between those who get through the dip and those who do not.
The secret to getting through the dip
So how do we get through the dip? In a word ‘COMMUNICATION’. This is without a doubt the one thing that stands out with those students who make it through the dip. These students will ask questions when things are not going well or their motivation is low. Students who do not communicate are far more likely to throw in the towel. This is even more likely with young children because parents often perceive their child’s lack of interest and/or practice as a sign that they no longer wish to play guitar. Parents who communicate (i.e. speak to their teacher) dramatically improve the chances of their child getting through the dip. This is because in the majority of cases a loss of interest is really a loss of confidence. Parents play a pivotal role in their child’s guitar learning experience. In fact I would go as far as to say the parents are often the deciding factor and those parents who communicate regularly are the ones who are most likely to see a successful outcome for their child on guitar.
Communication really is the key
In summary just remember communication is the key. If you aren’t sure or feeling unmotivated, frustrated, bored or just lacking confidence make sure that giving up is your last option and your first option is to ask questions.
The G4 Guitar Method
The G4 Guitar Method is a structured method of learning how to play guitar and can be taught in groups or privately. Its a unique system built on 27 years of research and experience based on a series of checklists. To view a video and learn more please visit our website at http://www.g4guitarmethod.com.