It is a harsh world out there, especially if your dream is to become a musician. There are so many hurdles to overcome sometimes the dream of learning playing guitar and making something of it seem unattainable. Understandably, a lot of people give up very soon or do not even start because of the failure fear.. BUT if you are determined enough, no matter the journey, you will succeed or you know… at least learn how to play guitar if not become a famous musician. The biggest problem, for most people, when starting your journey of learning guitar is the budget. You save up and buy a guitar and all the necessary accessories but that is only the beginning. Now you have to think about how you are going to get around actually learning how to play it. If you are lucky enough to afford an actual teacher, good for you but a lot of people cannot really take a substantial sum of money and invest it in something that might not be a success (let’s not be too pessimistic but yeah…).
Teacher Or No Teacher
Once you have bought your guitar (or you know… have had it lying in your storage for years) you have to decide how you are going to learn. There are two main ways to learn: through teacher and self-learn. Getting a teacher might be a great idea. He will give you the structure and methods of how to learn as quickly as possible and if they are actually really good teachers they will take into account your personality and determine what way is the best for you. For instance, some students learn better under pressure and will lag off if they are not given strict deadlines and directions while others will just hate if you get even a little bit strict with them. Finding a good teacher is a hell of a hard task. It might be even harder than finding a good guitar so good luck with that. The other problem with teachers is that they cost… a lot most times. While some people will decide that getting a teacher is worth the money others will probably decide against it because they either cannot afford it or think they are determined enough to learn on their own. And yes, I say “think” because most people are not really determined. I, for once, thought I could learn on my own and even though I did make some progress it was going very slow and taking up a lot of my time. So when you decide whether you should get a teacher or not you should consider the two main factors: budget (duh) and your personality – do you have enough willpower to learn on your own? And I mean LEARN, not just strum a couple of chords once a week.
What If Not A Teacher?
Fortunately, there are a lot of resources online that can help you with your task. You can either get certain apps that will help you learn new skills, you can subscribe to online classes that do cost some money but nothing compared to the actual teacher and, finally, you can learn through youtube videos. But there are certain issues you have to take into account when you decide which method you are going to choose. So let’s discuss them in short:
I will not start reviewing different Apps here. God knows there are enough of those websites. BUT my point is that there are a lot of apps available for Android or iPhone or whatever else there is (if there is anything else). One of the most popular Apps on the market today is “Real Guitar”. This app is basically a simulator of real (acoustic and electric) guitar. So if you out a lot and do not have the luxury of constantly having your guitar around this app will help you practice no matter where you are. It is available for phones and tablets as well. I personally prefer to use it on tablets, phones seem to have too little screen space for me. This app also has a lot of other features that will be extremely useful for any beginner. The other app that you can try out is Guitar Lessons by GuitarTricks. This app is an amazing resource for beginners as well as more advanced players. It gives you step by step guide on how to learn guitar. You also have an option to choose which style you want to learn more. And the final app I want to mention is Uberchord. This app has a really nice design and is very user-friendly. You can input your goals and the app will give you sort of a schedule of how much you should practice and give you reminders.
If you are not a big fan of apps or just want something more curated than apps, online courses might be a great option. To be honest, there are so many online courses, both free and paid, that it is hard to determine which one you should sign up for. I have had the problem of too many options so many times. I would sign up on several different websites to learn a certain skill, get notifications from all of them, get frustrated that I cannot decide which one to take and voila! Four month in, I would not have touched a single lesson on any of those websites. So my only advice would be to research the classes, read the reviews and determine just one website where you are going to take the course. There are a lot of free online courses available to anyone and the great thing is you can self-pace them. Well, that is a good thing if you, unlike me, have any willpower and are going to actually do something without strict deadlines. The paid courses, at least for me, always sound a bit more reputable. Also, when I know I have paid money for something I will feel more prone to do it. Also, most (not all) the paid courses have actual instructors that can help you online if you have questions and there are other students that you can make friends with and share experiences and tips. Another big plus is that although this are “paid” classes, most of them do not cost more than $30-40 which is a lot less than an actual teacher.
And now for the most determined students out there, you always have the option of just watching youtube channels and videos and learning through that. I have nothing against learning from youtube videos, God knows I have probably learned more from youtube than my four years of college. That being said, be cautious if you take this route. First of all, make sure you set certain goals for yourself because unlike apps and online lessons you will not get an actual schedule and list of things you will learn or already have learned. You should have a written down list of what you want to learn, what you already know and how much time you want to spend learning a certain aspect of a guitar. The other issue that might come up is the professionalism of the people who are teaching you. AND I know there are a lot of talented people who are selfless and put up videos online to help beginners. That is definitely amazing but be aware to find actual good guitarist and teachers and not some dude who has been playing for 2 weeks and has no idea what he is doing.
Determination and Goals
Now that I have talked a bit about more concrete steps you can and should take if you are self-learning, I want to say a couple of words about determination and goals. I have touched upon this issue in this blog already a little bit and in a lot of my other blogs for a reason. A lot of people underestimate the power of PROCRASTINATION and, at least for me, it is the number one cause of why I cannot learn a new skill. So if for whichever reason, you decide to self-learn instead of getting a teacher you have to (and I mean HAVE TO) create very specific goals of what you want to accomplish. Make, if not a day to day, weekly schedule of what you are going to learn, block out a period of time, be it a ten minutes or two hours when you will only dedicate your time to the practice. Otherwise, instead of spending a week on one thing you will stretch it out on a month and you definitely do not want to do it if you have a particular goal.
You know that quote that goes something along the lines of “journey is more important than the destination”. Yeah, I know, what it sounds like and it is like one of those quotes that are usually printed next to “LIVE LAUGH LOVE” inspirational pillows or boards. While the quote is kind of cringy for someone as cynical as me, it does have a tint of truth to it when it comes to learning something new. If you go into learning guitar determined and optimistic it will not matter whether you have the best teacher in the world or self-learning from youtube videos, you will achieve the goal. BUT the key is to actually enjoy it, do not get too stressed about it and remember: you are doing it because you love music.