New students will often wonder whether or not they have the so called musical bone in their bodies. Are some of us born more musical? After 30 years working with guitar students and much research I have come to the conclusion that it doesn’t really matter. It may or may not be the case but either way playing music is everyone’s birthright. Natural talent is neither here nor there when it comes to succeeding on guitar. What matters is a little thing called mindset.
The role of mindset
The world’s best guitarists took decades to reach their peak potential and I am convinced natural talent played little to no role in their ultimate success. What mattered most was their mindset. Your mindset affects how you respond to situations and will ultimately determine whether you stick with guitar or give up. Mindset is not just applied to guitar of course but I was able to witness first hand how one’s mindset affected their ability to learn and more importantly persist with guitar. Your biggest challenge with guitar will be your mind.
Do you have a fixed or growth mindset?
In Carol Dweck’s book Mindset she gives an example of children who were given puzzles. Those with the fixed mindset soon lost interest in the puzzles once they realised they were not easily solvable. Those with the growth mindset responded very differently asking if they could take the puzzles home to work on them further. I have witnessed the very same when teaching guitar. There are those students who quickly lose interest in practicing guitar as soon as it gets difficult and there are those who eat up every challenge they are given. In fact I can usually spot the difference after just a few lessons. This raises the question of whether or not people can change.
Can I change my guitar student’s mindset?
Well the answer is obvious right? It depends on my own mindset. If I was a guitar teacher with a fixed mindset then I would say no students can’t change but if I have a growth mindset I know I should at least try and not give up too easily. Incidentally in my early years of teaching guitar I had a fixed mindset in regards to guitar students. I believed some students had it and some did not. I changed my view when I started to seriously research the topics of success and coaching. Almost everything I read gave examples of people who failed yet persisted including teachers and coaches. I realised anyone could be taught guitar but they needed to first believe they could learn. From that point on I saw every student as having potential rather than picking and choosing. When I took this approach I began to get very different results and my success rate with students shot up dramatically. The growth mindset is a powerful thing.