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Find out how you can turn your failures in learning guitar into success using the principles of Psycho-Cybernetics

I thought I will share with you a concept taken from a book recommended by a a friend of mine, the book is called: Psycho-Cybernetics, written by Maxwell Maltz about a half century ago. The principles of Psycho-Cybernetics can be applied to any area of your life including guitar playing and learning music.

According to the author every human being has a built in a goal oriented servo-mechanism(an automatic device that uses error-sensing negative feedback to correct the performance of a mechanism) This mechanism is designed to reach the goal using the data we feed into it. To cut a long story short, if you feed your servo-mechanism with a negative data such as: (‘I am too old to learn guitar’, ‘I suck at guitar’, ‘I am a disaster’, ‘I am a failure’, ‘I will never make it’, ‘I will never be able to change chords fast enough’, ‘I will never be able to memorise the scales on the guitar’, I will never be good enough to play in a band’, ) your servo-mechanism will turn into a ‘failure-mechanism’

and most likely you will never be a good guitar player. But on the other hand if you feed your servo-mechanism with positive data such as: (‘I will be able to play that song if I keep practicing long enough’, ‘I will practice guitar two hours every day and within a year or two I will be able to play any song I like’, ‘I will memorise all positions of minor pentatonic scale in one week’, ‘In two years I will be so good at guitar that I am going to join the best rock band in the local area’) You are going to reach your goals because your servo-mechanism will work for you and make you taking necessary actions to reach that goal.

From my own experience as a guitar player I can tell you that I have never had any doubts that one day I will be able to play guitar at the certain level. I never thought I will stop playing guitar because of my failures. I had of course my doubts and moments of frustration but I knew that one day I will be able to play songs that I like, improvise or even write songs and nothing will stop me.

As a guitar teacher I find that a lot of people give up too early so they don’t really experience enough positive feedback/data related to guitar. They simply don’t experience enough fun as it’s usualy too early for that to happen.(learning a song takes a lot of practice and time to get it right and sometimes it requires other musician to form a band).

Guitar students take a negative feedback from process of learning guitar too personally. For example instead of treating inability to execute chord changes as a learning experience they explain this inability as ‘being useless’ or ‘having no natural talent’, or ‘being rubbish at guitar’. What I would do instead is to take this negative feedback such as string buzz and I will try to find a way to correct the problem just like the servo-mechanism is doing.

Each time you ‘fail at guitar’ you are actually receiving a ‘negative feedback’ that will allow you to correct the error. Your task as a guitar student is to correct errors and not accepting the negative feedback as a result of your practice and for sure not as a personal information/comment about you and your potential. Once all your errors are corrected you will receive a positive feedback that will allow you to take your guitar skills to the next level. On the next level though you will receive another negative feedback that will enable you to correct future errors and move to the next level

I highly recommend the book Psycho-Cybernetics and if you don’t want to gamble watch this four part interview with Maxwell Maltz:

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