It’s been a couple of weeks since I started practicing the guitar and I must say I am rather impressed with myself. The first couple of days filled me with doubt when I couldn’t seem to even hold the pick right. I found a website that offers guitar lessons completely free and it has REALLY helped me out. I don’t get any kind of compensation from the site but I highly recommend checking it out if you are curious about learning. Justin Guitar does sell comprehensive programs and accepts donations but he has a program suitable for beginners on the site free of charge.
I also paid for a year subscription for a website called Yousician. It listens to you play using the microphone on your computer while you follow along from the lessons on the screen. It cost me like 150 bucks but I think that has really helped me out too. I went from being completely tone deaf and offbeat to holding a rather steady rhythm. I have learned three chords so far (D chord, A Chord, and E Chord) and I work on the chord changes for about 20 minutes a day.
From what I’ve learned so far, I can point out 3 tips that have worked well for me:
1. Take it slow. I would love to play like AC/DC for hold a tune like one The Beatles but the program is designed a certain way for a reason. I don’t progress to the next module until I have completely nailed the current one, whether its hitting the same note 50 times in a row or practicing finger placement. I feel like a solid foundation is critical for success.
2. Focus. Playing an instrument requires a level of coordination that most people simply might not have. While my right hand is plucking the strings, my left hand is moving up and down the neck of the guitar. It reminds me of when I was a kid and I would try rubbing my stomach while patting my head. Your hands will learn to work together but it’ll take time.
3. Track your progress. I keep a book filled with notes from the lessons and to rack what I worked on for the day. I also label the days “day 1, day 2” and so on. I write down how many minutes I practiced a chord change, for example, or track how many chord changes I can do in 2 minutes. I believe that what gets measured get improved. Patience is the key to doing this right, in my opinion. I know my hard work will pay off if I keep at it. I’m staying determined.