Here are common myths about learning guitar that prevented many people from reaching their musical potential.
Learning guitar on my own saves money.
Saving money by teaching yourself is only an illusion. Although it feels like there is more money in your pocket, the reality is that you are spending more by trying to fill the gaps by buying various instructional products that don’t work. By teaching yourself you are wasting not only your money but also your time. People who have started learning guitar at the same time as you with some help from professional guitar teacher are moving forward at least 10 times faster than you. Even if you put more practice time they will be always ahead of you(assuming they still practice in between lessons). Can you afford to be uncertain about your guitar skills? Can you afford being constantly frustrated with your slow progress? Can you afford constantly missing some important pieces of information that is available to guitar students who study with a teacher?
You need to start learning guitar early.
My adult students are the best proof that this statement is false. You can pick up guitar at any age providing you find the confidence to do that. Visit the blog page of this website to see my students playing their favorite songs and enjoy jamming with like-minded friends. Most of my students are either complete beginners or intermediate players. They are usually late starters. Most of them have passed their 30’s. I have many students in their 40’s and 50’s up to mid 60’s. The ideal age to start guitar is right now! But don’t just take my word for it. Meet me for an introductory lesson and I will prove to you that it’s not too late for you too.
If you want to learn the electric guitar, you need to learn on acoustic guitar first.
Many aspiring guitarists believe that an electric guitar is the next step from learning on the acoustic. The truth is that those instruments are equal. Great acoustic guitar players find themselves struggling on the electric and vice versa. Those two types of guitar are just different and require different techniques and skill sets. If you enjoy listening acoustic guitar players you should probably stick to an acoustic but if you find yourself listening more to electric styles such as blues, rock or metal go for an electric. You can also learn both at the same time as some skills are transferable.
You need to know how to read music to be able to play guitar well.
Not many people realize that music has been around long time before the music notation was invented. In the past people used to learn from each other. Reading music is not the only way to be able to play. Most blues and rock guitar players don’t want or can’t read music using traditional notation. It doesn’t make their music any worse. It actually improves the groove and feel of the music. I can teach you how to play music by ear so that you will be able to figure out any song you would like to play.
Children learn faster than adults.
This myth may hold true in other areas, but is not true for music. It all depends on how motivated you are and how much time you put in. Children tend to have plenty of time to practice, whereas an adult has a job, mortgage, family, or whatever to think about so it is much easier to get distracted. Teenagers and adults learn quicker but tend to practice less unless they are highly organised and motivated.
You Can Learn Anything Online.
Do you think that good guitar players will share all their secrets with you for free? Would you give away for free 20-30 years of hard work? Internet is full of some generic info about guitar. It’s true that there is a lot of good stuff out there but you need to be able to know what you are looking for. The trouble is that as an inexperienced player you don’t know what to look for or don’t know what is actually good and what is not. You also don’t know which information is right for the skill level you are at. Even the right information can be wrong once it’s approached at the wrong time. Have you noticed that most free YouTube tutorials refer you to the prime paid content?
The other problem of on line learning is complete lack of feed back and interaction with other musician. This is not how used to be in old days when people used to sit face to face and jam together.
Taking lessons is a sign of weakness. Talented Musicians Don’t Take Lessons.
I used to believe in that myth. When I was young and inexperienced I have read an interview with my favorite guitarist who claimed that he has never taken any guitar lessons. What I didn’t realize at that time was that he came from musical family with long traditions in playing professionally!!! So even though he didn’t go to any guitar lesson he was surrounded by musicians and he was given a lot of good advice from highly successful music family members. The chances are that your favorite guitarist who claims he/she never took any guitar lessons have played other instrument or had some musicians in their family.
If you don’t have musicians in your family or among your friends , someone who can give you advice or teach you, why not to consider taking guitar lessons that will kick start your playing and help you to develop the habits of advanced guitar player. Adding practice and time and you will develop your music skills and your own style.
Taking guitar lessons is not a sign of weakness but wisdom. By studying with a professional and experienced guitar teacher you will learn to play in shortest possible time and the only limitation you will have is own commitment to practicing and time you are willing to invest.
You need to have rhythm (or be born with it) to play guitar.
I am the best example of how false this statement is. I always used to struggle with the rhythm. Even after 10 years of my guitar playing. One day I decided that I won’t be held back by this weakness so I started studying it. The best way to learn rhythm is to take music lessons. An experienced teacher will be able to explain to you in easy to follow way how rhythm works. In lessons with me my students learn how to apply different rhythms in their favorite songs. Rhythm, just like confidence is the muscle you have to exercise to grow.
You need long, skinny fingers to play guitar well.
Most professional guitarists I know don’t have long, skinny fingers. It really doesn’t matter what your fingers are like, though it would help to have five of them of course. Some of my students have sport injuries, broken fingers. I even taught someone who had his finger cut off and re-attached. I can help you to develop good guitar technique that allows to play with any type of fingers.
All guitar teachers are the same.
Most beginner guitar students believe that all guitar teachers are the same. For that reason they look for a teacher that is based in convenient location and offers lessons at cheap price. Unfortunately not all teachers are the same. Experienced teachers run their professional practice from the teaching studio and they do it full-time. They are registered as self-employed traders and they have a professional website. Experienced guitar teacher have the proven track record of their work. The best way of proving the work is to see their students playing music and making progress.
Don’t be fooled by guitar website showing models posing with guitars but can’t actually play a note! You should be able to see real people like you playing real music. On my website you will find student testimonials featuring real people siting in my teaching studio or. You will also see my students playing music at the student events and jam sessions.
Learning guitar from someone else will kill your own music style.
The good news is that you already have your own style and nothing will change it. No matter what skill level you are at. Think about playing guitar as if it was your voice when you speak. The tone of your voice, the accent, the vocabulary, your favorite words and expressions. They all depend entirely on who you are! They are affected by your background, people you often interact with and things you are interested in. Those factors make you unique.
With playing guitar is the same. You can try to play your favorite song note for note but the way you sound will be heavily affected by who you are and how you hear things. Different people pay attention to different things and with music is the same. Also the way you hold your guitar, the amount of pressure you put on guitar strings while playing, how hard you hit the strings, what scales do you use, favorite note choices in scales, favorite chord shapes. Those factors already make you different.
Even if you try to emulate a music phrase, a guitar lick or melody of your favorite player or guitar teacher sitting in front of you. There is no chance you will be able to do it exactly the same way. This is something highly advanced players can’t do. They also don’t want to play constantly the same way. For that reason even if you are taught by someone how to play guitar you will always play like you. Most successful guitar players will tell you to meet and play with as many people as you can because that will give you more ideas and it will help you to grow faster as a player. Guitar lessons are good start!
You need to have a good ear.
Why is it that some people pick things up faster than others? Probably they have a good ear? Or maybe they take more time to listen music. In my eight years of proven teaching career I have noticed that students who listen to music more often pick things faster than students who only learn to play and never listen to music. I have noticed even myself that I tend ton struggle more with learning songs I don’t know that well. The key to good ear is familiarity so why don’t you spend more time on focused music listening. Why not to focus on one specific instrument at the time? Why not to completely ignore the singer and listen to the band only? Good ear is something everyone can develop.