In March, I started teaching guitar lessons and thought the biggest challenge would for sure be making the content challenging enough for each of my students. My top fear was that I would go through my whole lesson and my student would say "oh wow. That's all you had? I already learned this all when I was five and this guitar lesson is boring." To my surprise that has not yet happened (YAY!) but the biggest challenge has been something way different than I ever expected- convincing my students that their learning pace and mistakes are absolutely normal and expected!
Not to sound like a total grandma, but I think that there’s this expectation that if you are actually going to be good at guitar, you should be able to sound pretty good after three lessons and only practicing a few times a week. I think this expectation has to do with some of the success we see happening "instantly" with creative/ talented people. Shows like The Voice and American Idol and the people we see on social media paint the picture that mastering something can be instantaneous if you are truly talented. Meanwhile the hard work and practice is usually all completely cut out because it's not that entertaining to watch.
Here's the thing though: I deeply believe that if you have an ear for music, playing guitar is mostly about hard work. You can definitely become an awesome guitarist by staying positive about your process and finding a way to make your practicing fun! I have put so much time into practicing since Jr. High and it's never felt like a chore for me.
I want to help get you guys to that place too, so here are my tips for embracing where you are and enjoying praticing:
1) PRACTICE WITH OTHER PEOPLE
This forces you to stay on time and follow people, have fun, and move on quickly from your mistakes. If you just invite someone over who plays and have a few songs on hand, I promise this will help you learn them better!
2) GET OVER THE EXPECTATION THAT YOUR PLAYING "SHOULD" LOOK A CERTAIN WAY BY NOW
There are so many things I am still working on that I think I should have mastered and haven't. But I have still improved on other things and am better at playing than I was before. Remember there is no rulebook for how long it should take you to master something!
3) PRACTICE IN LITTLE CHUNKS IF YOU ARE IN THE BABY PHASES OF LEARNING
I get that guitar isn't as fun to practice if you aren't at the point yet that you can play the songs you like. So just pick up the guitar a little each day so you don't start hating to practice until you can switch chords!
I hope this is helpful to you! Please share any tips you have for maintaining a positive attitude for your playing below!