4 Ways to Be a Good Guitar Student

4 Ways to Be a Good Guitar Student

Last time, we have talked about the 6 Qualities of a Great Guitar Teacher. It’s time to move on to the students’ side—we will be exploring the 5 factors that determine whether one is a good guitar student.

1. The Way You Practice

Sometimes, though we have been making slow progress, we keep on reminding ourselves (and most likely others as well) by saying, “At least I have tried and practiced, right?” You know, the fact is perseverance can either make you or kill you. If you are not practicing in the right way, you are in fact murdering your guitar career.

How to ruin your life as a beginner? That’s easy. Just START by doing terribly boring and harsh finger exercises for HOURS EVERYDAY, working on fast playing and increasing your guitar speed. This should be good enough to make you feel unbearably pain and thus quit playing the guitar soon after. Inactivity is simple. You eliminate those who are motivated.

Haste make waste. Speed does not come from trying to play really fast. It is a result of mastering MANY guitar technique elements that make fast playing possible, such as developing picking and fretting hand discipline in combination with developing synchronization between the two. The key to play really fast is that you first play slow. Very slow. As slow as you can. So, relax. Keep calm and carry on.

2. The Way You Learn

As a beginner, everything (and every morning) is new to you. Among the many skills to be acquire or much knowledge to be learnt, you could have chosen those that can make you indifferent towards guitar playing. For example, you may struggle to understand ALL the THEORIES and PRINCIPLES behind chords and scales before you actually trying them out. You can also find out ALL the musical symbols that could possibly appear in a music note sheet before you actually learn to play ONE single song on the guitar. Some also like to find cool guitar licks to play in his/her guitar solos on the internet before they have any ideas on guitar soloing… Ugh! That’s devastating!

Our suggestion to you will be LEARN AS YOU GO. Do it step by step. You are not doing a research on guitar learning nor aiming to become a Google search expert. Learn to play the guitar in a way that interests you most. As you play, for example, you gradually understand how to make your guitar playing sound more vibrant and expressive. And that’s the only way you truly master your guitar phrasing, and thus solos. If you want to accompany a singer (maybe yourself), learn to bend chords and master a few strumming patterns. In brief, work on a plan that will help you to reach your goals.

3. The Way You Think

I can’t make it. If I fail this time, I will never become successful in the future. My life is too busy to practice (or even play) the guitar. It’s impossible for me to be a great (or even better) guitar player because I am not that talented… I believe you can think of many other utterances made by a no person or a pessimistic guitarist.

Stop self-sabotaging! Stop telling yourself you’ll never be good. If you continue to talk to yourself in this way, you will eventually fulfill your own prophecy. Overcome frustrations NOW by making a list on how you are going to be benefited by playing the guitar. Write down something like “I will be able to play a happy birthday song to my grand-mother by her next birthday” or “I can be in a band and play on a stage” or even “It will help me get girls”, so on and so forth. Next, track your progress and keep your own achievement records.

4. The Way You Treat Your Teacher

The worst case is you don’t have any teacher at all. A teacher is not necessary the one who teach you lessons. So if you are self-taught learners, don’t worry. Pick yourself a role model, who could be a famous guitarist or a tutor who gives online guitar lessons. Why does it matter? Because we all have to take inspiration from our teachers (or role models). They are the ones whom we want to emulate. Since “you can’t hit a target you can’t see”, you can’t fly high without aiming high beforehand either.

Once you have picked a teacher, instead of merely address, do TREAT him/her as your teacher. There are way too many “students” never follow closely to their teachers’ instructions. Some never fulfill the assignment requirements set up by their teachers. Some won’t wait until the teacher’s explanation in class and start on their own. Some even question the professionalism of their teachers. As usual, what really matters in guitar teaching and learning is MUTUAL RESPECT. Of course, you can have your own ideas and thoughts, and you are welcome to speak up too. Just remember to do the right thing at the right time. Don’t have a teacher as if you don’t have one.

From now on, act properly and behave as a good guitar student. You can do it!