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5 Ways to Motivate Yourself as a Beginner Guitarist

Whether it’s a new language or any new skill, finding the motivation to learn something can be the toughest obstacle. This is definitely the case with learning guitar. However, learning guitar can be one of the most-rewarding processes that never ends. Here are five tips for staying motivated.

Many Small Goals vs. One Big Goal
The biggest mistake someone can make is picking up a guitar for the first time and expect to be able to masterfully play “Stairway to Heaven” better than Mr. Page in just a week’s time. 

However, let’s say that “Stairway to Heaven” is the song that inspired you to pick up a guitar in the first place and you desperately want to learn it. In that case, break the song up. Focus on mastering just a couple measures at a time. 

It may be an arduous task, but it allows you to experience achievements far more often, which thus sustains your motivation over a longer period. Then, after a couple weeks (or even months) of playing all its parts perfectly, you will be ready to put them all together, possibly with your own improvisations!

If you try to play the entire song all the way through each time with the expectation of doing it perfectly, you will likely find yourself being hung up on the small details while the massive goal looms stressfully overhead.

Reward Yourself
Don’t forget that learning guitar should be fun, and part of that fun involves rewarding yourself when you deserve it.

After you’ve achieved one of your small goals—such as learning a new song, nailing a difficult solo, or learning a new finger-picking style on your acoustic guitar—treat yourself to concert tickets, a nice dinner, a new guitar pedal or other equipment, or even a day off from practicing (because rest is also imperative). 

If you stress out over each goal without taking your mind off of the task at hand once in a while, playing guitar becomes a chore, instead the continually rewarding hobby that it’s capable of becoming. 

Learn New Songs
We’ve talked about the importance of setting goals for yourself when beginning to play guitar, but this is also important for more experienced players. 

You should never be completely satisfied with your repertoire of songs, because there are always new songs out there that are full of new challenges that will only add to your skill set. 

Sometimes it’s nice to even drift outside of your preferred genre to make your skill set more varied (and therefore more fruitful). This approach might even give you a new, more-profound understanding of a genre and make yourself a more well-rounded musician.

It’s important to remember that learning guitar is a never-ending process, and continually learning new songs is a great way to perpetuate it. 

Play with Others
Although playing guitar by yourself is great for learning new technical feats, it can get awfully lonesome. Playing with others can resolve this issue.

It’s not like you have to join a band (though that’s not always a terrible idea), but playing with others can open you to new styles while helping you learn more about your skills. 

Jam sessions with other guitarists or others instrumentalists are great for stumbling onto new licks and progressions that you might not have otherwise come across. Delving yourself into the moment while fiddling around with a group of friends can be some of the most-enlightening moments while learning guitar.

Playing with others also challenges you to keep up with those better than yourself and provides new skills that you can aspire to learn. The opposite is also true: you might be a little better than someone else and have the chance to impart some of your knowledge to others.

Always Keep It in Sight
While laying out specified practice times in which you focus on achieving some goal or other is extremely important to learning new skills, nothing can keep you motivated like seeing your guitar and being filled with the urge to play around for a bit. 

Say you’re lying around watching TV, but what you’re watching is riddled with commercials. And then what do you know, on just the other side of the couch you see your acoustic guitar. You’re instantly overcome with the desire to fiddle around between commercials. And who knows, maybe you come across a new chord progression that transforms itself into a hit song!

Learning guitar can be arduous at times, meaning motivation can easily dissipate over time. Hopefully, by rewarding yourself for achieving short goals, learning a breadth of new songs, jamming out with friends, and picking up the guitar while it’s in eyesight helps keep the magic alive. In addition to these tips, be sure to check out this video. 

Sources and Further Reading
Increase Your Motivation to Practice the Guitar

Finding Your First Axe
The Art of Practicing

Author Bio: Colleen has a passion for guitars and ukuleles. She enjoys jamming, teaching, and getting others involved in music. Her website, Coustii, focuses specifically on guitars and ukes. Colleen loves to travel and uses her guitar as a conversation starter on the road. 

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