Learning a new instrument is tough, and sticking with it is even tougher as time goes on. In this article, I want to highlight a few of those you may have read before (probably about a year ago now! Wow! How time flies!). Here are the three things I’ve found that keep me going even when times get busy and the guitar gets tough.
#1 Keep A Video Journal
Whether I’m teaching my young students or my older ones, I’ve always encouraged them to keep a video journal. I even do it myself.
A video journal is a great way to keep track of your progress. There are many ways to do it, but here is what I do:
1. Record yourself playing one or more of the following before you learn or master it.
b. Chord progressions
d. Your favorite songs
2. Don’t watch it. Don’t look at it for 1-3 months.
3. Record yourself again doing the exact same things.
4. Watch both back to back.
It’s hard when you’re in the heart of learning to get a grasp of how much you’re improving. And believe me, you ARE improving. The little steps are harder to measure, but when you look back at the whole path, you’ll see exactly how far you’ve gone.
Seeing progress is so exciting. I can always tell when my students actually do this because they come to the lesson after they watch their video and are so motivated to learn and keep getting better.
#2 Follow An Engaging Program
Another great way to stay motivated is to follow a specific plan. It’s often the not-knowing where to go next that stops your desire. So find a good program and stick with it.
A private lesson instructor will give you a method and direction, but they’re expensive. Still, this is the best option, but coming in closely behind it is to follow a dedicated online program.
I love Guitar Tricks for its learning paths and courses on guitar. More than any other program, it features a clear direction and motivating badges and rewards for progressing and sticking with the guitar.
Check out Guitar Tricks for motivation!
#3 Learn The Songs You Love
I’m not just a guitar player and teacher; I teach all kinds of music. So I love teaching about sheet music and exercises and theoretical understanding.
But that isn’t what motivates people to keep with it. Not even I (a self-confessing music nerd) love it enough to have that be my motivating factor.
Take the time—block it out—to spend time on the songs you love. If you can’t play it all, whatever. Learn part of it. Rock it out. You need to enjoy what you’re doing, and little will motivate you as much as learning the songs that inspired you to pick up the guitar in the first place.
For me, it was songs like Blackbird and Sweet Baby James. For you, it may be something else.
Find it and work on it, bit by bit. I can’t tell you how amazing it feels when you can finally play those songs. There’s nothing quite like it.