Learn to Play Acoustic Guitar by First Avoiding Lethal Beginner Mistakes

I will never forget that wonderful feeling when my parents broke from their huddle with smiles on their faces. My mother spoke first announcing that they had decided let me learn to p iilay the acoustic guitar. The plan was that my dad would be in charge of buying the guitar and dear old mother would make arrangements for the lessons.

Now, at 50 years old, I can still remember the elation I felt at 8. It was almost as if Mom and Dad had the power to instantly give me the ability to play. I smile absolutely every time I remember this favorite episode of my life.

Well, that is until I remember what came a little later. A guitar that was hard to play, a guitar teacher that did not like kids and of course I had not really considered that practicing might not always be fun.

The truth is that the initial stage of learning acoustic guitar can be tedious and awkward. In fact in the first few days the beginner student may not be able to imagine ever being able to play. This loss of hope can lead to quitting the guitar sometimes before really getting started. The tragedy is that in many cases a successful breakthrough is often just a matter of a few more days of smart practice.

The 7 tips below are designed to help the new student avoid some of the unnecessary initial hurdles that can derail learning to play guitar.

1. Have A Clearly Visualized Goal

Where do you want to be at the end of the year? Do you want to just strum around the campfire? Do you want to learn specific songs? Do you want to write songs? Do you want to play lead guitar in a blues band? If you have no specific destination in mind you might just end up lost. Stay focused.

2. Fit The Guitar Lesson Program To Your Schedule

If you wish to learn in the convenience of your own home on a schedule that matches your lifestyle, consider a video guitar lesson program. One of the most powerful features of good video programs is that they offer instructor guided practice sessions. I cannot over emphasize the importance of this feature for obtaining predictable results.

3. Have Realistic Expectations

You may feel so awkward at times that you may not be able to imagine ever being able to play well enough to have fun. These feelings are not unusual. Try recording a video of each practice session for 2 weeks. Then compare the first and last practice sessions. I am sure that you will be encouraged by the results.

4. Understand That Your Finger Tips Will Be Sore At First

Again typical – not to worry. The skin on your fingers will need to toughen up. When they become sore just quit until tomorrow or the next day. Only practice 10 miniutes at a time. A little soreness is OK but never ever play with big time pain.

5. Make Sure Your First Guitar Is Actually Playable

Some inexpensive guitars will never sound any good. In fact many are not even tunable. Expect to pay a minimum of $150 to $200 for a decent guitar. Take someone that plays guitar with you when you plan make the purchase.

Be cautious about buying a used guitar unless you get the advice from a trusted friend or teacher. Many used acoustic guitars are warped from poor maintenance and cannot always be fixed. To the uninitiated these problems are not always easy to spot.

Also, make sure that the guitar is a comfortable fit. Kids often struggle with full sized guitars. Consider having small students try ¾ or ½ size guitars.

6. Learn How To Practice

For some odd reason the skill of practicing is either not adequately taught even though this is how most of the progress will take place. It is not nearly enough to practice, practice, practice. You really need to know how to do it.

Effective practice makes the difference between the professional level success and being forever frustrated. This is one important reason that I really like the video guitar lesson programs that contain guided practice sessions.

Here are a few brief practice tips:

  • Make practice sessions short and frequent. 10 to 15 minutes tops.
  • Practice when you are rested.
  • Do not work on too many lessons at once.
  • Always use a metronome.
  • Never play an exercise any faster that you can play it perfectly even if it seems ridiculously slow. Your brain is just as capable of learning something wrong as right. Slow down and you will actually learn faster.
  • End every practice with a fun time either working on a favorite song or use the time to goof off and experiment.

7. Learn Something Tangible And Fun Right Away

Try learning a simple but familiar popular song that uses only 2 or 3 chords. Then play it for friends and family. Sometimes this can give you just the right motivation needed to get through the more tedious lessons.

Consider the above tips to be like kindling wood is to building a fire. Overcoming the above hurdles is like starting a little flame that is essential to igniting the bigger fire that will ultimately lead to learning to play acoustic guitar with a degree of mastery.

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