It’s no mystery…

Everyone finds it tough...

It doesn’t matter if someone is young, old, male or female…

It doesn’t even matter what nationality someone is…

The guitar is a tricky instrument to play, for everyone.

Why ‘what” you practice isn’t important

When we start out on the guitar, we’re full of hope and optimism…

Thoughts rushing through our head.

Thinking about all the exciting things we can do.

And then we try playing for the first time it feels awkward to sit with…

We’re unsure what our hands should do.

And even when we get told where to put the fingers… it’s hard to make the brain do what we want.

The control just isn’t there.

Finally after some time… things feel a little more comfortable.

We can start to make the fingers work…

But now there’s another problem…

Sound.

It just doesn’t sound good.

Why ‘what” you practice isn’t important

Sometimes we’ll get a glimmer of hope… a good sound emerging from the guitar…

Only it fades as quickly as it came.

After a couple more months we start to feel better.

We can make the guitar sound okay…

We’ve learnt some chords and maybe some strumming patterns.

But now we can’t switch chords fast enough…

We can’t strum in time to the song…

Sometimes we forget which chords are which...

And it all feels frustrating still.

Eventually after persisting through this phrase we’re able to fumble our way through a song (maybe two)...

It all feels a little clunky but we’re making progress.

Then we hit a brick wall and progress slows down…

Sometimes grinding to a complete halt.

Learning any new chords seems impossible and we can’t get the fingers to move faster.

And we’re stuck playing the same old strumming patterns.

We try and learn new songs in hope that will fix it.

Some of us will go to YouTube… and search through the ocean of videos.

Why ‘what” you practice isn’t important

But it’s hard to know what to look for.

And even if we find something…

No-one is there to give us feedback. It’s just us and the guitar.

Deep down we really want to be able to play…

It just becomes tough to stay motivated.

We might think thoughts like…

“I just don’t fancy it today”

Or…

“I’ll do it tomorrow”

And what’s interesting is this pattern sometimes never goes away.

No matter if we feel like a total beginner…

Someone who’s been playing for a while…

Or if we already feel pretty accomplished.

We can all have that nagging thought…

“How do I stay motivated?”

Some people will think to themselves…

“If only I had a new song to learn”…

“If I could just learn some easier chords”…

“If I could just learn a new technique”…

“If I could just…” (The list goes on.)

But here’s the funny thing…

It doesn’t matter if you know what you should do.

You might even have a teacher giving you some great tips on playing…

Maybe you’ve stumbled on some excellent course…

If you don’t have ways to motivate yourself to do the work…

None of it matters.

Finding that motivation to pick up the guitar and do the thing…

That’s the real challenge.

In the last ten years of teaching

I’ve picked up a bunch of useful tips.

I use both for myself and for my students.

I want to share a handful of these tips with you… and how they help to keep me motivated to practice.

Even when I don’t feel like it.

Look out for our other articles for more tips!

Darryl “who needs motivation” Powis

P.S. You probably won’t have heard about these ways to motivate yourself.

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