As an adult, the first time I tried to play the guitar was in 2008. But I could not continue to play beyond a couple of months. My project to play guitar was put in the back burner for more than a decade.
However, since February of 2019 I had started playing and never stopped since. It has been the longest ever and I have improved quite a bit since I started. In a few months time, I will have played the guitar for about 2 years. I am by no means an expert or even an intermediate player but at least I am proud to say I have been playing almost everyday.
So what did I do differently? I have identified that these are the 5 things that kept me motivated.
1.I play songs that I love and enjoy.
At first I was checking out youtube on how to strum and how to read tabs. My first song that I practiced on was Knock on Heaven’s door which consisted of a few simple chords. I have to applaud both my husband and daughter for enduring the excruciating sound I made with the guitar then. From there, I started to learn to sing along to songs which also consisted of few simple chords. I always wanted to play “What’s up” by 4nonblondes and “Country roads” by John Denver on the guitar and sing along to it, which I did, so it kept me coming back.
2. I started keeping the guitars where they are easily seen and picked up.
This time, I did not hang the guitars on the wall in another room that I seldom go into. When ever I see the guitars they remind me of the need to practice. I have the guitars next to my work desk in the living area. Easy access means I can pick up any of guitars any time I feel the ‘strumming’ bug is hitting me.
3. I made a commitment to pick up the guitar every day even when I don’t feel like it.
Even when on days I don’t feel like playing, I’d pick the guitar up for at least 15 – 20 minutes. So it would be enough to strum at leastt a couple of songs. On good days I’d practice an hour and even more. If you want to be a pro guitarist, I am sure this is definitely not enough. But if you are like me, learning to play just for the fun of it and a hobby, this is better than no practice for days or weeks.
4. Get more than one guitar if you can afford it.
This may or may not work for other people, but it did work for me. I use my guitars alternately. There was a time when I started playing on the classical and I’d be practicing on it for weeks. Then when I got bored of it, I played on the steel acoustic. So it goes on a rotation. At the moment, the Fender steel acoustic is the daily guitar of choice.
5. Watch how other guitar players do it.
I find that watching other guitar players on youtube really helps in boosting the inspiration level. I learnt strumming techniques, and a few fingerpicking riffs from guitarists on youtube. Not to mention also ideas on what I need to practice, what and how to practice tips.
I also follow other beginner guitar players on Instagram. I know that learning to play guitar is not something that you can master from one day to another and when ever I see the same struggle on others and also how they improve gives me a bit of hope that I am doing not too bad and I should just push through and it would get better as long as I practice.
So these are the 5 things that helped me going with guitar practice. If you are a beginner as well and need that help in finding the motivation to keep on going, try these out. Hopefully the tips are helpful.