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Can anyone learn the guitar?

If you’re asking whether you can learn the guitar or not, I have good news for you. 

If you can read this article, you definitely have enough mental abilities to learn the guitar.

Yes, some people do have “natural talent” that is, the ability to learn (either  everything in life, or a specific thing, such as music) faster than others.

But the absolute majority of adult guitar players, including many professionals, don’t have these special gifts. 

Anyone who has developed the ability to read and understand the English language (or any other language) also has the ability to learn the language of music.

Now, this does not mean that anyone who picks up the guitar will actually become good, or great on the instrument.

In fact the majority won’t ever reach any significant level.

And in nearly every circumstance, the reason for this is the same: They quit before they reach that level.

Thus, in this article, rather than give you any more reasons why you can learn the guitar, I will show you what you need to do so that you will not stop before you start reaping the rewards.

Why do so many people fail to learn the guitar due to quitting too soon?

  1. Unrealistic expectations

Learning the guitar is a marathon not a sprint.

You’ve probably seen online courses promising to teach you the guitar in 30 days.

I don’t call these courses a scam because they could give you some workable knowledge of the guitar so that you can do some simple things in a few days.

However they do give the wrong impression that you can learn the guitar with a short course.

In reality, in 30 days, you would have barely started to scratch the surface.
For those passionate enough about the guitar – those who actually reach advanced levels of guitar playing – learning the guitar is a lifelong journey.

If you’ve been practicing for a few months or even years, and find yourself still far away from the level you had originally desired, don’t let that fool you into thinking that “you don’t have it in you” and can’t learn the guitar.

It only means you need to give it more time and improve the quality and/or increase the quantity of your guitar practicing.

  1. You don’t measure your progress

Though learning the guitar is a long term game, you actually improve every minute you allocate to deliberate focused practicing.

Yet many guitar students quit during periods of time when they don’t feel like they’re improving on the guitar.

These periods of time are called plateaus.

They can be frustrating because you don’t see the results for the hours you’re putting in.

When this happens, you need to keep in mind that you are actually improving if the quality of your practicing is good, and that what comes after a plateau is a breakthrough.

An exciting period of time where things start making sense sense, dots start getting connected and you’re improving fast.

If you measure your progress you will increase your overall level of motivation to practice as well as start noticing these plateau-breakthrough patterns and have them under your control, rather than let them control you.

The best ways to measure your progress are to record yourself playing as well as using a metronome.

  1. Your guitar teacher sucks

A good guitar teacher will reach out to all your potential, guide you towards reaching your musical goals in the shortest time possible and enjoy the process.

A bad guitar teacher (who may at times be a good guitar player) will kill your motivation and make you quit.

Look out for people who are not interested in your goals but only in theirs, or who don’t seem to know what they’re doing.

If you’re considering quitting on the guitar and you suspect your teacher is the problem, try out a few guitar teachers in your area.

Take a lesson from say, 3 different teachers.

This should give you a clear idea if the reason you’re not getting the results you desire is the way you’re being taught.

  1. Learning the guitar is not your passion after all

I started learning the guitar because music was my obsession. Becoming a professional musician has been my major goal since the day I picked up the guitar 26 years ago.

It is for this reason that though (at first) I had unrealistic expectations, didn’t measure my progress and had horrible teachers, I never quit.

This isn’t the case for everyone though.

Some students come for lessons because they want to start a new hobby, have more time on their hands due to retirement or would like to play in the local church choir.

Some of these students will fall in love with the guitar, but others will find that it isn’t their real passion.

Maybe their real passion is sport, painting or business. Learning the guitar is just a skill they would like to have, but not to the extent of spending all those hours trying to acquire it.

This is the only case where quitting the guitar might be a good idea.

You cannot learn the guitar up to any decent level if you’re not willing to practice regularly for a long period of time.

Conclusion

The most important message I want to convey in this article is that whether you can learn the guitar or not depends completely on yourself.

The guitar learning process is not hard, but it’s long.

If you are prepared for that, and if you’re willing to give what it takes, there is no reason on earth why you shouldn’t be able to learn the guitar up to the level of playing you desire.


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