Common beginner guitarist mistakes: Part two

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This is part two of a post about the common beginner guitarist mistakes. But these could also apply to folks the have been playing for awhile too. If you are aware of these common pitfalls, you will be more likely to make some good choices that will lead to progress. Making progress is so important when it comes to sticking to the guitar. Your time and attention will be well rewarded.


When you are learning something new, things are very exciting. But don’t get too excited and make some of these mistakes that will cost you time and energy in the future. Overcome these pitfalls by having a plan in place to avoid them.

So here are 5 more common mistakes to avoid:


1. Not having a goal


It is a good idea to have a goal in mind when you set out to learn the guitar. You don’t have to be too fancy. Something as simple as “I want to learn how to play a Bob Dylan song” would do. Or maybe you want to learn how to play the guitar and sing a song at the same time. And play that song for your friends when you are hanging out. Or you might want to learn enough chords and theory to be able to jam with some other musicians.


Whatever the goal, they will help you stay on track and remain focused on what is important. A goal will help you measure your progress. Without progress, most folks give up on learning something new.


And once you achieve your goal, set another and keep going.


So before you begin, ask yourself what you want to accomplish, how you will accomplish that and who can help you get there.


The Relax and Learn Guitar (RLG) Membership area is an excellent place to start meeting your guitar goals.


2. No Accountability- Going Solo


Going solo might be fine for Paul Mcartney and Sting, but for you (at least initially) not so much.


We are much more likely to follow through on learning the guitar, or any new instrument, if we have someone that can help hold us accountable.


When I was growing up and taking piano lessons, I used to despise my mom for “making” me go. Now I thank my lucky stars. When you have to go play in front of a teacher you don’t want to look bad.


When you are part of a learning community, like RLG, you can balance carving out some time in the day to practice alone with getting support from others. Encouragement and being part of a group that has the same interests as you is an important part of success.

CLICK HERE to join the RLG Membership


3. No one is perfect


Don’t let perfection hold you back. Everyone learns at a different pace. Progress can sometimes be small and then lead up to a breakthrough. The gurus will tell you that this will be quick and easy. It will not.


Taking small steps and celebrating the little things, discovering your own voice or style, that is all part of this wonderful journey. If it sounds good to you, then it is.


You are going to “fail” along the way while learning the guitar. But these “failures” will be how you learn. Focusing on the process and understanding what happens while learning is a great way to avoid only focussing on progress and perfection.


4 Learn how to play a whole song


What would you think if the cover band you are listening to only played the first few bars of each song they played? It would drive you nuts right? Our brains are built for resolution. We want to finish the pattern. We want to hear the rest of the familiar.


The same holds true for learning guitar. It is tempting to learn the lick and move on. Learning the opening or solo of a song can be very rewarding for you personally.


But because songs are pretty repetitive —Verse Chorus Verse (great title for a song Kurt Cobain RIP) you may get bored when you are playing them only for yourself.


However, when you are jamming with others or playing for your friends or family, being able to play a song in its entirety will go a long way for your self esteem and for everyone’s entertainment.


Learning an entire song will really help you with rhythm and timing and with the concept of telling a story while you play. Which is really what great songs do, tell a story and take the listener along for the ride.


5. Giving up too Early


Many new guitarist give up too early. They get discouraged when they don’t sound like their favorite artist after only trying for 3 months. You have to focus on the short term goals and progress and not expect things to happen overnight.


One of the best things about playing the guitar, in my opinion, is that you are never done learning and enjoying your hobby.
Many of us want things quickly and conveniently. Learning the guitar is not one of those things that is going to happen in the short term.


You have to keep your eyes on the goal that is in the future. That is a challenge for many people. Unrealistic expectations can definitely lead to giving up too early.


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