- Why don’t I progress on the guitar? Here are the reasons
- 1 – You are not constant
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- 2- You are easily distracted
- 3- You don’t finish what you started
- 4- You don’t have your space to rehearse
- 5- You are not learning progressively
- 6- You don’t go to guitar class
- 7- You are not motivated
- 8- Your guitar is not the right one
- 9- You play too fast
- 10- You don’t think about what you are doing
- 11- You don’t repeat
- 12- You have no patience
Why don’t I progress on the guitar? Here are the reasons
How many times have I not heard these words? Someone writes to me, asks me and says: “Why don’t I progress on the guitar? I’ve been playing for some time and I have the feeling that I don’t know anything”. Relax, this happens to all of us at first. Here below you have some answers that will make you think about why you are not making any progress with your instrument.
- You are not constant
- You are easily distracted
- You don’t finish what you started
- You don’t have your space to rehearse
- You are not learning progressively
- You don’t go to guitar class
- You are not motivated
- Your guitar is not the right one
- You play too fast
- You don’t think about what you’re doing
- You don’t repeat
- You have no patience
1 – You are not constant
Constancy is one of the most important things when learning to play the guitar. If you don’t have a routine of repeating your playing every few minutes, just like you have your breakfast habit, you won’t make any progress. This routine can be every other day half an hour, every day for 1 hour, every day 15 minutes, etc. But make it constant.
Obviously, we are not machines and there are days when it seems impossible to play the guitar because we have our obligations. However, you have to try to be persistent with what you do and if it can be at the same time better. That’s why, when playing the guitar is one more habit in your life and you see it as something normal you will start to notice a significant improvement.
2- You are easily distracted
Let’s say that you sit down to play the guitar, the first 5 minutes you concentrate well but you pass the barrier and start wandering, to think about the food you have to make, to put the washing machine, to go to the bank, to go to the supermarket, to the movie you saw the night before, to your problems…NO.
When you are playing and practicing you have to abstract from everything, put all your five senses into what you feel, what you see and what you hear. It is true that we are human and sometimes we can have days when we are not attentive, however, make the effort and do not get distracted.
A good way to do this is to divide your practice time into small doses. For example, if you are practicing 3 songs and only have half an hour, spend the first 5 minutes warming up with some exercise and another 10 minutes for each song.
You also have to be smart and think that if you are motivated by a particular song, spend all your time on what you like. But if you already know how to play it from top to bottom, do something different.
3- You don’t finish what you started
The last thing I said in the paragraph in the previous point is very important and is related to this one. Finish what you started! But if you see that the song is better than you, it’s because you chose it wrong and it’s too difficult. But in general, if you have looked for an easy song to play on the guitar and you start playing it and you never finish it, you are doing it wrong (and finishing it means knowing how to play it well).
That’s why, don’t leave the songs half done, you have to build up your repertoire and the more extensive the better.
4- You don’t have your space to rehearse
Another reason why some fail on playing guitar is rehearsal space. I have given private lessons in houses where some students study and practice in the dining room of the house, with the noise of the TV in the background, with relatives talking on the phone, with the noise of the washing machine, etc. This is the worst thing that can happen.
Choose the farthest corner of the house and lock yourself in. Tell your family members that you are going to play the guitar a little bit and that they should leave you alone for a while. If you can’t be alone because you are a mother or father and have to be with your child, take advantage of the times when your children are low on energy and tired to play the guitar. Look for time and space so that you don’t say the dreaded phrase: “I’m not progressing on the guitar”
5- You are not learning progressively
I have already commented on this issue in more depth in this post. But in general terms, sometimes we tend to practice songs that surpass us, for example, we start playing the guitar from the first day learning a song that has the FA chord with a capo. This is a serious mistake that you have to avoid, try to take a practice plan, either with a book or with some guitar course.
The house is not built by the roof, knowledge is built block by block, step by step.
6- You don’t go to guitar class
This is not necessary because you can learn to play the guitar by being self-taught, but in some cases, there are people who need a guide, a person who tells them what they have to practice and who also corrects them. If you are one of these people, sign up for guitar lessons. But don’t waste your time with people who don’t teach well. If you don’t like how he explains it or how he does it, don’t continue, we all don’t like the same teacher.
7- You are not motivated
Have you been given a guitar and wanted to learn to play? do you sit down to play and think you’re wasting your time? do you keep telling yourself “I’m not progressing on the guitar”? Then stop playing and don’t go on. It sounds cruel and discouraging to say it but we all don’t like the same thing, maybe music is not your thing, look for another hobby or another instrument if the guitar doesn’t catch your attention.
Motivation is essential, you have to have the desire, even if it’s only a few because this will be the engine that will push you to continue in difficult moments, for example when you play things that you don’t like because it’s necessary to develop a technique or when you don’t want to continue because you’re tired.
Motivated people may hate the instrument for a day or two and say: how lazy I am to play now. But they think about it on the third day and think: I’m going to try again what I was doing.
8- Your guitar is not the right one
We often buy guitars that may not be right for us. For example, some cheap guitar you have seen that goes out of tune easily or for example an acoustic guitar with the strings too far apart from the neck (high action). In the latter case, learning with this type of guitar can be very laborious since the notes you play are not going to play and you will need much more strength to get a clean sound.
This may also lead to pain in the joints, fingers and even the wrist. So be careful when you decide to get an acoustic guitar that is not of very good quality because you may keep saying “no progress on the guitar” and progressing at a snail’s pace until you get enough strength to make it sound.
9- You play too fast
The problem of thinking “I’m not progressing on the guitar” is linked to the fact that sometimes we play too fast and badly. That is, we play the song we are learning at an excessive speed but stop every time. Remember: If it doesn’t come out slowly (as slowly as you can) it will NEVER come out fast. Well, maybe it will, but it will take longer and this has to do with the next point.
10- You don’t think about what you are doing
When we go slowly, as I said before, your brain has time to process all the information it is trying to assimilate. If that’s not the case, we’ll learn to play but not as well as we’d like.
So, slow down, play slowly and think. Play a piece of the song and think about what you have done, when a small piece already sounds, play the next piece and when piece no. 2 already sounds put 1 and 2 together. Try this tactic and you’ll stop saying to yourself “I’m not progressing on the guitar”.
11- You don’t repeat
In practice, repetition is essential and when we do not repeat we do not assimilate. It is important to repeat, both the whole song and the other smaller parts. Repeat quickly, repeat slowly, repeat while looking at the neck, repeat while looking at the score, etc. But more importantly: repeat well. If you repeat wrong, that is, with a rhythm that is not correct or too fast, you will learn it…wrong.
12- You have no patience
This is the last but not the least important point. You have to be patient with yourself so you don’t say to yourself “I’m not progressing on the guitar”. Every artistic process takes time to acquire. Even in other areas of life, for example, when you start working in a new place you have to get used to new ways of doing things.
So don’t be hard on yourself and stop saying “no progress on the guitar. Because our instrument can become a foreign body that has to be tamed. Think of something that you are not good at and reflect on it. In my case, for example, I don’t know how to skate and if I started skating now I would do it badly, but what if I do it for a month in a row every day you think it will happen? What if I give up on the first day because of a lack of patience?
And another reflection, let’s see what the dictionary says about the word “learn”:
Acquiring knowledge of something through the study of experience
Having said that, a study is necessary even if it sounds like an obligation and experience is also achieved through study. So, cheer up and move on.