10 Things Beginners Say That Aren't True
10 - “I wasn’t born musical” - I don’t think anyone is! And if some people are born with better music skills than others, it’s a pretty small difference and it can easily be overcome with practice. If natural musical talent really exists, I’ll admit I don’t think I had any before I started practicing.
9 - “I’ve got a guitar and an amp, that’s all you need” - There are lot’s of things on the market for new guitarists that you simply don’t need, but there are a few things that can make it much easier to learn and have fun becoming a guitar player, a clip tuner, song book, capo and a range of different plectrums can all help make practice easier.
8 - “I got grandad’s guitar out of the attic so I can learn to play, that’ll be fine!”
Woah! ok. Firstly the family might be really sentimentally attached to that guitar but guitar making has come along way since then and some of the older inexpensive guitars were not great, even compared to modern inexpensive instruments. Secondly, time can be tough on guitars, especially when not stored correctly, older instruments can be permanently damaged by moisture or heat but more often than not they just need some TLC from a professional luthier or music shop, seek advice!
7 - “It sounds in tune” Sometimes a guitar can sound in tune to the untrained ear but it will definitely sound sweeter when it’s perfectly in tune, get into the habit of tuning (probably using a clip tuner) every single time you practice and everything you play will sound better.
6 - “Practice Is Boring” - No It isn’t! Not if you are doing it right. Doing it right means you have clear goals and a well prepared lesson plan but also free time. Sure it can be frustrating, especially early on but a good teacher can minimise that and make achieving goals really rewarding. You have to enjoy the journey of learning songs and skills as well as just being able to play. You also have to be able to track your progress so you feel like you are making progress.
5 - “It’s just an amplifier” - Guitars are exciting, they come in a huge variety of shapes, styles and colours and we all have favourites and want to buy new ones. The truth however is that the guitar is only 50% of the story, the amplifier is the other 50% of the sound. Now beginner students probably don’t need a Marshall stack but buying the best quality practice amplifier you can makes a BIG difference to everything you play.
4 - “I’d love to learn but I don’t have time for lessons or practice” - It can be tough for all of us to find time to practice around a career but as a teacher I specialise in structuring a practice plan tailored to the individual, even planning easier practice sessions for the one night you are really tired and a different plan for the night you really want to sit and play for longer. The plan is always being adjusted but done right this makes guitar so addictive that you can get alot done in as little as ten minutes a day! Make sure the guitar is on a stand not in it’s case so it’s easy to pick up and play.
3 - “I really want to play electric guitar so I’m starting on a classical guitar” - For very young students, nylon strings can be slightly easier to hold down but honestly I think this idea is left over from when electric guitars were expensive and loud. Nowadays there are excellent quality budget electric guitars and amplifiers with headphone outputs! Classical guitars don’t sound great strummed with a plectrum so my advice is to start with the instrument you want to play, life is too short for anything else!
2 - “I only want to learn for fun, I don’t need a teacher” Making practice fun is part of being a teacher, so is getting you started as quickly as possible. Exams and music theory aren’t for everyone (but they can improve your skills which you can apply to any songs you want). Also what you enjoy playing and what you enjoy listening to are sometimes different, almost all of my students are learning songs they love outside of lessons, my job is to make learning those songs quicker, easier and more accurate.
1 - “I’ll buy a cheap guitar now and buy something better if I get good” - This always makes me sad when I hear it, the chances of you getting good and sticking to practice and enjoying playing guitar are dramatically increased if you enjoy the sound a guitar makes and how it sounds. Now, everyone has a budget; but my advice is always to buy the best guitar you can afford and the guitar you really love. Many guitar shops have preowned guitars for sale that are a great option and they will also demonstrate guitars for you so that you can hear them. Don’t buy unseen from the internet, how a guitar sounds and feels is so hugely important, also guitars in reliable guitar shops have been set up correctly to play the best they can.