Did you expect Guitar to be EASY??


ImageOne day for one of many possible reasons you decide to learn guitar. You say to yourself “How hard can it be? After all every second person and their dog seems to be able to play guitar.” You buy yourself a guitar, perhaps a guitar book and maybe even some lessons with a guitar teacher. The salesperson in the guitar shop reassures you that learning guitar is fun and easy. The book you bought has a title like “Easy Guitar for Complete Idiots” and the cover assures you that within a few weeks you will be playing all your favourite songs. Finally the teacher you enrol with confirms that if you hand over a few hundred dollars he/she will have you playing like Jimi Hendrix  in no time.

6 weeks later

Somehow the magic didn’t happen. You can’t play a single song and even the simplest riff (E.g. Smoke on the water) still only sounds half right. You are frustrated and have come to the decision that you have no talent for guitar and have been wasting your time and money. You tell yourself it’s time to quit while you are ahead. You are a little disappointed but you have concluded that you and guitar were just not meant to be. Its time to move on and put it down to experience.

Hang on just a minute…

I am here to talk you out of giving up guitar because I believe you still really want to be able to play guitar. We have estimated that 90% or more of people give up guitar in the first year and most feel exactly the same as you but one study showed more than 70% of adults regret not learning a musical instrument. The good news is those who stick to guitar lessons for at least one year are unlikely to give up and there is a very good reason.

You have been lied to

The idea that guitar is easy a lie. Its a sales pitch to get you to buy a guitar, buy a guitar book/course or pay for lessons. Lets put things into perspective here. It takes at least 1 year of daily practice to get the fundamentals in place. Guitar playing is a complexed motor skill just like learning to write? Would you expect a child (who by the way learns faster than we do) to learn to write in a few weeks or even months? Of course not. We know that it takes a few years yet we put these unrealistic expectations on to ourselves and quit before we have given our brains and bodies a chance to learn the skills necessary. 

A message for parents
As parents letting your children give up too easily is also something to be aware of. This doesn’t mean forcing them to learn but it also doesn’t mean letting them quit just because its not all fun and games. Explaining to your child that guitar is difficult and working with them is the key. When you work with your child they will learn to persist and success in almost any area of life is about persistence. You can also help by inspiring them. Take them to a concert or instead of TV check out some inspiring guitar players on Youtube or put some seriously inspiring guitar through your sound system. Parents who get involved in the process will have much more success with their children learning guitar.

Guitar is not easy and everyone starts from the same place. No one was born a guitar player. Yes some started young or had parents who were musical but the challenges they faced are the same ones you will face. After just a few weeks of learning guitar you will make progress but it may not be what you expect. If so lower your expectations, be realistic and give it time.

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