I thought I will share with you my personal story. It’s my my guitar journey starting at 16 years of age to present day when I am a 33 year old professional musician. First of all recently I have been visiting parents and after one of the music events I bumped in an old friend who owns an old guitar of my former bandmate from 17+ years back. This is a guitar I am holding on a photo!!! This guitar is probably the second guitar I have ever played in my life! I used to have exactly the same model as this and I bought mine at the same time as he did. I need to add that this guitar was a total piece of s*** but after so many years of playing guitar it does not feel as bad as I thought back then. This was really crazy to hold this instrument after 17 plus years. It felt like going back to past in a time machine.
It reminded me how little I knew and how uncertain my future as a musician will be. At that time I was not even in a position to dream about calling myself a musician. I just wanted to play songs of bands I was into! When I was starting out people used to say that 16 is far too late to become a good guitarist because you need to start very early like 5 or 7 years old. Of course after all these years of playing and teaching I can tell you that this was all bullshit. All this crap I heard was a bunch of statements and opinions expressed by non musicians! WTF? Please never take an advice from someone who hasn’t made it ok? I have had students starting guitar at their mid 60’s and they are doing just as fine as teenagers if not better!
What helped me to keep going for so many years?
I used to buy a guitar magazine and once I read there some advice from a pro player regarding professional music career. The guy was very clear that the journey is very tough and many people don’t make it. At that time I thought I was pretty crap at everything since I wasn’t doing that great at school to be honest so I thought that for me it will be extra hard. What I remember this guy said was this. ‘Whether you become a pro musician one day or not it doesn’t matter, what matters is that you should practice your guitar and try to become the best player you can possibly become and don’t worry too much about the future music opportunities.’ He was right! I focussed on becoming a more competent player and I stopped worrying about the results that usually put other people off. I didn’t focus on results but on the process of becoming a better guitarist day by day. It was so much fun! This is really a secret if you want to become good at playing music.
Missed opportunities and regrets.
There are not that many regrets but few I want to list here. I wish I was more open minded for other styles of music because this could generate more playing opportunities. I wish I was less self-centred and take on board other people’s music ideas. I wish I have started on an electric guitar first – I had that opportunity but I was too scared. I was told that you must learn acoustic first if you wanna get good at electric. WTF!? (another advice from non musicians). I wish I believed in myself a little bit more. I had a lot of self-doubt along the way and my level of self-motivation were not always as high as nowadays. I also regret I didn’t look for a guitar teacher earlier as I believed in some nonsense like:guitar teacher will restrict you and you will never develop your own style.
I am a fan of the idea of deliberate practice and studying with an expert guitar teacher and coach. I am currently taking guitar lessons to get better as I still feel there is so much to learn.I don’t want to waste time on figuring things out by myself as this can take ages! I want to see where I will be after another 17+ years of playing guitar. This photo will be my reminder of where I was and where I will get to.
Let me know about your guitar journey. Are you at the beginning or somewhere in the middle? Feel free to share it here.