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Image by Alessandro Diesse from Pixabay

Image by Alessandro Diesse from Pixabay

We all have things we think we’d like to do or have. We set goals and sometimes they happen, sometimes they don’t, and often, it doesn’t really matter. And if a goal does come to pass it may not be life-changing like we imagined. But, if you want something bad enough… you have to do something different.

There are other goals that won’t happen just by wanting them or giving it a half-ass try.

If you want something bad enough… you have to take the necessary steps to bring it to pass. It takes work. It takes planning.

Simply wanting something usually doesn’t make it happen.

You need to make a plan. Put some thought into the steps needed to make it happen. Write it down – it’s always easier to stick to the plan when you write it down then you can cross it off your list.

These steps are good for any project you want to do.

But, let’s get to the primary project, learning to play guitar.


Obstacles in Learning to Play Guitar

This applies to any instrument you might want to learn to play, but I’ve chosen the guitar as an illustration.

As I mentioned in my last article, Learning To Play An Instrument, I was only four years of age when I started taking classical piano lessons, at my mother’s insistence. I didn’t know anything about setting goals or making plans. My role was to practice what the teacher gave me to practice.

I took lessons until well into my teenage years and played off and on during my early adult years. I could do what needed to be done. But I wasn’t even close to being a good pianist, not to mention, a master pianist.

My husband, Larry, is a guitarist and singer/songwriter, who is very good. When we started trying to play together I had to face the fact that I was just okay. If I was going to accompany him I would have to set some musical goals with the steps to reach those goals. I had to do some soul searching to determine if I liked playing well enough to invest the time and energy to reach my goal.

It would have taken a substantial amount of work to even get close to his level of proficiency. Instead, I chose to put my time and energy into writing.

With my training, I’m still part of our musical effort, but as you see, I’d rather write about it.


The Biggest Obstacle

Photo by JESHOOTS.com from Pexels

Photo by JESHOOTS.com from Pexels

So, the biggest obstacle in becoming a great guitarist or master musician on any instrument is not learning the techniques for a particular instrument or learning music theory. The biggest problem, as in my case, is not making the commitment to doing what needs to be done to accomplish your mastery.

First of all, you have to make the commitment to doing whatever is needed to make it happen. You have to be willing to invest the time and energy into the music rather than, perhaps, partying with friends or watching your favorite TV show.

Get Serious

When we take a serious look at what is ahead, it may be overwhelming or even intimidating. But focusing on the issue will not help you reach mastery.

  1. It all starts with setting your musical goals.
  2. Get an online or personal teacher who will take you one step at a time.

You will never reach your goal if your perspective is too broad. It’s just like Francis of Assisi’s quote on how to eat an elephant.

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

With the help of an instructor, you work these steps into your plan. Keep your focus on the step you are on and before you know it you will be that master musician.


If You Want Something Bad Enough??

Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi from Pexels

Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi from Pexels

With either a face-to-face or online teacher you will be given the steps to get you to music mastery. But you will have to take those steps, one step at a time. You will have to invest the time and energy, as mentioned above. The question is, Do You Want It Bad Enough?

I can see some of you pause to think about that question. You are wondering if you will have a personal life at all. No, you will not have to practice all day, every day. You won’t even need to practice 6, 8, or 10 hours every day.

Wanting It Bad Enough does mean making good choices. Yes, you may have to give up partying with your friends or sitting in front of the TV for hours at a time. You will need to make some decisions that will get you to your goal. It will be worth it!!

 Change Your Mindset

 When we allow negative thoughts about ourselves or, in this case, about achieving our musical goals the negative thoughts can become self-fulfilling.

We can also talk ourselves into believing the positive, which leads to seeing our musical goals fulfilled.

Adopt a positive “Can Do” mindset about your practice and your progress instead of a pessimistic, negative mindset.


For example:

“I’d Like To” – Mental Poison                              “I Can Do This” – Mental Nutrition

“I don’t have the time or energy to practice.        “I can invest the time and energy”

“It’s too hard to get up early to practice”               “I’ll go to bed earlier so I can get up.”

“I’d like to be taught by a top guitarist.”                 “I can get a top guitarist as a teacher.”

“I’m not disciplined enough to do this.”                “I can have fun and be disciplined.”

“I don’t know if I can be a great guitarist.”            “I can become a great guitarist.”


Confess Positive Thoughts

It’s not only important to change your mindset, it’s just as important to say these ideas out loud. These are just examples of what you might say to yourself.

It is important that you repeat them out loud, loud enough so your ears can hear them. When we say them out loud, it’s kind of magical, but it registers more in our brains.

Write down the negative thoughts about yourself or about your accomplishing your musical goals. Then, like above, write out the positive statements or affirmations.

Design these positive statements to help you challenge and overcome any self-sabotaging, negative thoughts that keep you from accomplishing your musical or other goals.

When you repeat the affirmations out loud you begin to believe them. When you start believing them you start making positive changes.

It is important to say your positive affirmations about music. But just as important, or maybe, more importantly, you must invest the time and energy and “Do The Work.”

Get Rid Of Toxic Thoughts

Our minds are often like children, disobedient children.

We tell our minds that “we aren’t going to think those negative thoughts anymore, we’re going to think positive thoughts.”  We may even tell ourselves, “stop thinking that you’ll never be a great guitarist.” Your mind talks back, “are you talking to me? Why should I stop thinking negative thoughts? I’ll do what I want to do.”

With a disobedient child, we will disciple them. We might sit them in the corner, or take privileges away or even spank them. But, how are you going to do that to your mind? It’s not going to happen.

Using direct force to change your mind rarely, if ever, works. You can’t say, “mind, change that thought,” and get it to work. Your mind doesn’t listen and obey.

So how do you deal with it?

We have to ‘trick” our minds. One way that has proven to be effective is to use symbolism and rituals.

Because most of our thinking is subconscious, conscious thinking, reasoning, and logic often do not work. Self-improvement methods will only take you so far.

How to Trick Your Mind

Image by SupremeRyan from Pixabay

Image by SupremeRyan from Pixabay

The use of symbolism and rituals plants thoughts and suggestions into your subconscious mind without being direct. The direct approach will almost always be rejected. And you can count on demands being rejected without any consideration – just like a rebellious child.

Here is a very simple method that really works:

  • Take the paper that contains your negative thoughts
  • Tear the paper into little pieces
  • Place them in a large ashtray, a bucket, or fireplace (either inside or outside)
  • Grab a match or a lighter
  • Take the pieces of paper, the ashtray, or bucket outside (unless you’re using an indoor fireplace)
  • Set it on fire
  • Stand and watch it burn until it’s gone

You might think this is to simples, it won’t work. But it does. We went over this in my Psychology class. It is amazing, it’s simple, it’s super easy, but it works.

Often, especially in changing habits, this is how we have to communicate with our minds to get them to listen – “child’s play.”

Why Does It Work?

By nature, fire is a physical change agent. Right now on the West Coast, the landscape has been devastated by fire. Everything has changed and been transformed.

Next year at this time, the towns and neighborhoods will look nothing like they did months ago. The fire changed everything. In fact, in some areas, the fire totally wiped out small towns.

Fire is a change agent.

You can use that same change agent to make changes in your own life by burning your old thoughts and destructive beliefs and rebuilding with new positive thoughts and beliefs.

Try it. It works.


“Practice, practice, practice.” If you’ve tried to learn how to play a musical instrument or tried to play sports you’ve heard the phrase, “Practice, practice, practice,” or “Practice Makes Perfect.” But for many music students, it seems that the more they practice or the harder they practice or how long they practice doesn’t seem to make any difference. Why? TrueFire has the answer.

The answer is quite simple. Like Vince Lombardi used to say, “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” So the time you spend practicing, or how hard you practice doesn’t make a lot of difference. The answer is how you practice.

Jeff Scheetz, the Director of Education for TrueFire has designed a practice system, especially for guitarists, called Smart Practice. The system walks the student through practice step-by-step.

The answer is really very simple. It’s not just how long you practice. Or how hard you practice. Or even what you practice. It’s how you practice. Vince Lombardi said it best, ”Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” TrueFire’s Director of Education, Jeff Scheetz calls it Smart Practice and he’s designed a step-by-step practice system just for guitarists.

TrueFire also has Jam Tracks to practice with. They give you the feel of playing with a live band.

How To Practice Guitar

In The Jam – Practice With Jam Tracks

If You Want Something Bad Enough

How To Change A Habit

TrueFire also provides a wide array of Jam Tracks that are fully-adjustable for practice playing with a band. On their website, they offer 200 free jam tracks and embedded pdf chart that you can stream for free. This gives you the opportunity to sample the tracks FREE. Or, you can purchase the full Jam Track Library.

TrueFire’s In The Jam provides an exceptional jamming experience for the practicing musician. The Jam is different from any other on the market. It is the next best thing to practicing with a live band. And you will be practicing with some of the top artists.

Each edition of In The Jam is uniquely organized with  10 multi-track video jams separated into video and audio tracks for each instrument.

You can adjust the video for your ultimate experience by muting, soloing, or adjusting the volume of all of the tracks. Plus, each jam includes a lead sheet chart showing the chord changes and the general structure of the jam.

A Live Band Experience

There’s no better way to develop your improvisational skills than getting up on the bandstand and jamming with a solid rhythm section and other players. In The Jam brings that bandstand into your practice room!

Jam Tracks are available with the purchased lessons or you can purchase the Jam Tracks in a bundle.

The best part, though, on TrueFire’s website you can play the Jam Tracks for free!!

Now, how good is that.

Find out How To Practice Guitar in TrueFire’s Sure-Fire way to learn guitar.

Your first step along any of the Learning Paths is FREE!!

Learning Path TrueFire

Are you beginning to lose motivation because it is so hard? Did you know that everyone faces the same challenge? When we are learning something new it takes time, it’s often frustrating. When we get frustrated it often takes longer to become the guitar player that you’ve been dreaming about.

Why?? You might ask. There are several reasons why this happens. As you learn more about the reasons, you will also learn how to overcome the obstacles and practicing will become easier. You will also get better faster.

One of the most common reasons you struggle with practicing is because you aren’t sure what to practice or how long to practice each lesson, or what things to practice to be the best guitarist you can be.

Not knowing what to practice or how much to practice makes it very difficult to stay motivated. Some people get information from a variety of sources, which may introduce different strategies or methods of practice. They often introduce different lessons and riffs making your practice confusing. You then end up with too much “stuff” to practice, creating even more problems.

I have learned from personal experience that too much “stuff” can actually keep you from reaching your goals. You need to limit your scope to practice material that will be the most valuable and build your skill the fastest. Remember, every teacher, every musician has differences in the way they teach or approach different ways of playing. Don’t jump around.

The Learning Path will give you some of the most valuable information to become the guitarist you’ve always dreamed of being. The Learning Path will help you determine what it is that you need to make your guitar practice the most fun part of your day and be valuable to become the best possible guitarist as quickly as possible.




Motivation To Practice - Photo by Roy Reyna from PexelsKey Point: 

Do you seem to be losing motivation to practice your guitar? In your guitar practice, if you are trying to practice too many things, each item gets less and less of your attention. Then, it’s not long before you have no motivation to practice the guitar or any other instrument.

As we all know, you can find anything you’re looking for on the internet. Actually, you’ll find numerous sources for the same info. Which in some cases is good, but when you collect practice material from several different sources you will also get different teaching strategies, which could be very confusing. You could also get material that is beyond your skillset, which could make you very discouraged and less motivated. By trying to practice everything,  you will not get the practice time needed on the skills your progress will be slow. When progress is slower you will have less motivation to practice.

How To Find Motivation To Practice: 

Find a teacher, in person, or online, that specializes in the type of music you want to play. For example, if you want to play heavy metal, find a heavy metal guitar teacher. You can learn the basics from any guitar teacher, but you will make faster progress with the right teacher. With the right teacher and a personalized guitar practice schedule, you will have more motivation and make faster progress.

What To Expect From Your Teacher: 

Your teacher should tell you what to practice. If you pick up some practice material from a different source, ask your teacher about it. Don’t waste valuable practice time on something that is not going to get you where you want to go. Make sure you stay focused on the practice material given to you by your teacher. Ignore everything else.  If you do what your teacher tells you to do you will make faster progress and have more fun doing it. This is also the way to reach your musical goal faster.

Reason For No Progress:

Often, when we try to reach specific musical goals without effective practice schedules, we have very slow progress. Many beginning musicians think they will become the next overnight wonder. They have a guitar and an amp. But, they soon learn that the skill is learned over time. It doesn’t just happen. In order to reach your dream goal, it’s best to slow down, take your time, learn the fundamentals, and move on only when you are ready.

It’s very important to get a practice plan from your instructor and stick to it. Follow the plan that is given to you. The plan will tell you exactly what to practice, how long to practice, and how to practice your lessons. When you follow your practice schedule you will get a sense of improvement that will keep you motivated to practice.

FREE Resources to help you be a better guitarist:

229 Easy Guitar Songs You Can Play With 4 Chords
Unlock Your Tonal Potential with These 5 Free Robbie Calvo Guitar Lessons
9 Free Beginner Bluegrass Banjo Lessons
How To Turn Practice Into Performance – Motivation & Practice: Episode 6 – Rob Garland
TrueFire Now Available on Roku!