Learning guitar can be painful. Most of us go through periods of deep frustration and some people even feel angry or depressed when they are trying to work through seemingly impossible challenges. Although these periods may be inevitable, there are ways to make them less painful!
Make the Initial Investment
The hardest time for most guitar players is the beginning stage, because it is all investment and no return. Until you can play at least one song or riff to your own satisfaction, you are at risk for anxiety or frustration. The best prevention or remedy is to get on it and stay on it! Practice until you can play that one thing well enough to enjoy it – then enjoy it! Add more to your plate as soon as possible and don’t allow self-judgment during the process. Once you can play three songs, things get a lot easier and a lot more fun. At some point, you will become hungry for the next level and when you reach for it, the cycle of frustration/fun will probably begin again. After the first stage, though, when the cycle lands on misery, you will be able to draw upon the wisdom and strength that you acquired from your previous experiences. That means it gets easier each time!
Balance High Standards with Realism and Self-Praise
It’s good to look ahead to your goals and to have high standards, but don’t let that keep you from appreciating your accomplishments. Think about how this approach works in other areas of your life. If you are on a diet, for example, you don’t fall into despair when you step on the scale and found that you lost a pound in a week – you feel elated! You see proof that you are making progress and you continue with your plan. Some weeks you may lose nothing, but you keep up your plan and one day you realize your clothes are too big.
It’s the same way with guitar playing – stick with it and keep a regular practice routine. Don’t beat yourself up if you get off schedule, just get back on and have faith that you are moving steadily toward your goal.
Follow Good Practice Habits
You can find advice and suggestions about correct and efficient practice in articles on the site, as well as in my comprehensive video. There is also a chapter on efficient learning in “the red book, ” Learning How to Play Lead Guitar. By taking a little time to learn how to practice correctly, you will set yourself up for heightened productivity and satisfaction.
Find Ways to Become Unstuck and Seek Help When You Need It
Everybody feels stuck at times. Expect it – and check out this article for solutions.
Your Goal is a Moving Target!
Realize that your goal will probably keep moving upward as you progress. Be willing to laugh at this! The fact that you will never be completely satisfied is actually a good sign, as it keeps things interesting and challenging. Lucky you!
It’s All Fun!
Remember, it takes time to get a return, but once the returns start coming, each new investment is more fun, because you’re getting a return from all of your previous investments, even as you’re making a new one! Take the time to enjoy these returns every practice session. Play something that you can play well. Get into the feel of your music, have some fun and revel in your accomplishments. With time, you will discover that the cycle of work/fun has changed to a cycle of fun work/fun!