I am so excited to write this post because knowing a lot of this has helped me get better at spending my time wisely as I learn the ins and outs of guitar! So you may remember last year I launched my very first online guitar course! Because I’m a total nerd, this year I’ve become super interested in how adults learn. I read a lot of books/ listened to podcasts, etc. on adult learners and making courses that truly help people (my husband is constantly making fun of my enthusiasm for adult learners!!) In this blog, I wanted to share the most important parts of what I learned (about how we all learn!). Here are the best ways you can learn and get better at guitar and get the most from an online course or guitar lesson.
I think knowing this will help you:
1) Know what to expect when you take an online guitar course or go into guitar lessons
2) Get more out of YouTube lessons
3) Be more productive with your practice time
4) Become a better guitar player because you will understand how you learn
So here we gooo!
Set Your Expectations
Like I mentioned before, if you actually want results, it’s up to you! Something that helps me is giving myself twice as much time as I think I’ll need, and expect to grow twice as slow. I am the queen of wanting things to happen really fast, and when they don’t I can get discouraged and give up. Because I know this about myself, expecting things to happen slowly can help me focus more on what I’m learning than on getting to the end goal!
Know the difference between you not understanding and things being taught poorly
Teaching is such a skill, and I deeply believe just because someone is amazing at something doesn't mean they are an amazing teacher! I was doing some jazz lessons online and the teacher in the video is an amazing player! However, after spending a ton of time trying to understand the concept, I felt like a big dummy because I still couldn’t get it! But then, watching another teacher talk about the exact same concept, it immediately clicked! When looking into how to be a better guitar teacher, I found that people don’t learn very well by having a concept explained and shown why it works. People learn a lot better by immediately applying what they’ve learned. Knowing this helped me feel more hopeful that I could find someone else to communicate the same concept in a way that made sense to me! So next time you take lessons, don’t just think I’m I getting this, but also take a second to think is this teacher communicating in a way that clicks for me!
Have tunnel vision
When I am learning something on guitar, I have to be careful about letting in TOO much inspiration, to the point where I feel overwhelmed and like I have way too much to learn. Believe it or not, this girl can sometimes be a tad dramatic and when I feel like there’s too much I have to learn to be semi-competent at something I’ll start freaking out in my head and try to nope right out. So when I am learning something new, I try to focus on one lesson/song/concept at a time. Remember you CAN do this and there is nothing more creative or special about other people who are a step ahead of you!
Learn with other people!
If people have a community they are learning alongside and a teacher they feel connected to, they have a WAY higher chance of learning something well. If you take a course, try to connect with your instructor or other students enrolled because doing things with others will make it way more fun. Also if you take lessons, I HIGHLY recommend group lessons for this reason! I think Instagram is also a really cool way to do this and is a good way to make guitar player friends online (and maybe eventually in real life) who share the same passions as you!
PS Sign up for my new Instagram course here to learn how to make an awesome music Insta and find your community!
Decide What You Want to Learn
It’s really important to set specific things you want out of lessons or a course so you have a point that you can look back and be proud of yourself! Especially in online courses, the finishing line might not be the same for everyone who buys the course. Some people may need help with something very specific, and need only a few lessons to get them to their goal, and some may just want and an overall better understanding of the subject. So before going into lessons or a course, figure out why you’re there!
So now let’s get to the ways I have found to learn guitar:
1) Group lessons
I know I already mentioned this, but this was HUGE for me in staying motivated to learn! You can’t beat the accountability of real-life people expecting you to show up somewhere weekly!
2) Online courses
I LOVE online courses! I’ve taken a bunch and they are great because in most cases, the teacher has put a lot of time into planning the order and way they will teach different guitar concepts.
Speaking of which, have you checked out my brand new course?!
3) A mentor
Having a guitar mentor was huge for me! My dad was my mentor and helped point out what I needed to get better at, what sort of things to get involved in, and advice on various guitar opportunities.
4) YouTube (sort of)
I really like YouTube for learning one-off licks and songs, but it’s not my first choice for getting a well-rounded guitar education! I think it’s a lot more time consuming to try to figure out what you need to learn and difficult to make your own path deciding what’s important for you to learn next. So overall, I have used YouTube more for one-off type learning and watching guitarists I love!
5) A guitar teacher
Obviously, if you have a great guitar teacher, that’s the most obvious way to get better, but sometimes it can actually be difficult to find someone who is great about explaining concepts! I’ve had a lot of super awesome teachers in my life, but sometimes I’ve had to try a few different ones before finding a teacher who really got me. I remember my first every guitar teacher teaching me how to play row the boat using single notes on one string and not being excited to practice at all until I had a teacher who taught me classic rock and fun licks!
Learn more on how you can get better at guitar if you are just starting!
I hope these tips have helped you! I definitely feel like knowing how you learn gives you the ability to set yourself up for success and find what you need to get better at the guitar. Let me know if there’s anything you are wanting to see on my blog next and thank you so much for reading! :)