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Why Study the Guitar? 3 Rules for Learning To Play

By Singing, Guitar and Bass Lessons @ ABC Studios Auckland City Centre

Why Study the Guitar? 3 Rules for Learning To Play

10/10/2014 There are so many reasons for studying the guitar and those reasons are shared with studying and learning other musical instruments, the piano, the violin and many others. In all cases we learn about the instrument and we learn about music. The guitar itself is a great instrument and has fascinated people for centuries even though more sophisticated instruments have been invented like the synthesizer, the Hammond organ, the Theremin!

I have taught people to play guitar for over thirty years now, longer if you count just jamming and talking about the guitar with the guys I grew up with - my brother Julian, Paul Iota who lived in the next street, Kevin Stanton, and so many others. So I have seen a lot of people learn and become good, Billy TK Junior, Stephen Bayliss, Nigel Gavin, Mayan Salama to just mention a few.
The Theremin. Nothing like a guitar! :-) Kevin Stanton of Misex - As teenagers Kevin and I used to hang out and talk music all the time. Listening to John McLaughlin! Joe Pass. Everyone.
So what makes a good guitar-player stand out from the rest and how does that tie in with guitar lessons?

The first thing is that if you want to become good at guitar-playing you have to change yourself. You cannot just continue doing what you have always done. As you get better and better at playing music, you need to spend more and more time, practising, writing, rehearsing, recording, looking after your instruments, business stuff, socialising, playing gigs, so many things, All of these activities take up your time. To become a good guitar-player you have to be a guitar-player! Not just someone who tries to play sometimes but a guitar-player and that takes time. It might mean you have less time for schmoozing, for drinking, or watching television. So? The rewards are obvious.

Rule number one. You cannot do it on your own. You might think that locking yourself away in a room is going to make you a good guitar-ist but it probably will not. Humans are social creatures and it does not matter how much time we spend learning a solitary craft or skill we have to share it otherwise it becomes meaningless.

Rule number two: You have to do it a lot to be good at it. Music is just like that. When you play every day you feel the music in your bones, you feel, think and live music - which is just fine by me - and a lot of other people too. What is for sure is that if you do not put time into learning nothing is going to happen. You do not just wake up one day and say "I am a cool guitar-player" without having done the work before.

Rule number three. If you want respect you need to give respect. When you learn to play you feel pride and joy in what you do. So do a lot of other people and no matter how 'good' you think you are as a musician there is always someone better than you. Not the same because we are all different, just better. When you recognise that there are other cool players out there that you can learn from you keep yourself humble and do not get caught up in ego and pride problems. I have worked with some fantastic musicians, guitar-players included and while I acknowledge they were and still are good musicians I know if I chose to I could criticise and complain about individual players, "That guy is a drunk", "That guy plays good solos, but cannot play rhythm", that sort of thing. You know we do not need to do this we are all sharing in the magic of making music and no matter where you are in your journey of learning music we all need to remember what we are doing it for and share the love.

So what I would say to anybody planning to take guitar lessons? Do it! You share your music with another person and sharing is good. You do it as much as you possibly can. Every day! Make music every day. It is good for your mind, your body, and spirit. And be cool. A calm spirit and determination to succeed make a winning combination for learning the most difficult and the most beautiful of human endeavours.
As the ancient philosopher Plato said "...a musical man will be most in love".

About This Author

Singing, Guitar and Bass Lessons @ ABC Studios Auckland City Centre

Singing, Guitar and Bass Lessons @ ABC Studios Auckland City Centre

ABC Studios provides Singing Lessons, Guitar Lessons and Bass Lessons in Auckland City Centre. Our approach is to provide student-centred learning to meet the goals of our students. We have a well-equipped modern recording studio which is in constant use and integrated into the learning process. We …

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