New Year’s Resolution: 5 Tips for Starting Guitar

New Year’s Resolution

Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution to try something new?  I did and it’s taken me on an amazing journey.  The year was 2002 and my resolution was to learn to play guitar.  I found a group class, bought an inexpensive starter guitar and in May of that year I was off to my first lesson.  I felt a little intimidated, but I thought to myself “this is my goal and I’m going to stick to it, if only for the satisfaction of knowing that I’d tried.”  That feeling evaporated as soon as I strummed the guitar for the first time ~ I was hooked!


There was (and still is) an immense personal satisfaction knowing that I was creating, what seemed to me, to be beautiful music.  Of course my tunes were not flawless and beauty was certainly in the ears of the beholder, but I was playing guitar.  I played songs that I grew up with, prompting fond memories and inspiring me to make the songs sound just right.  My fingers got sore (a normal guitar event), but I was determined to get better so I played all the time.  As the mother of four children that was a bit of a challenge.  I managed to squeeze in time to play guitar by multi-tasking.  For instance during each child’s bath time I would bring in my guitar and play songs while they splashed around in the water.  My repertoire became familiar to them and in no time I was taking requests.  We dubbed this time TRB ~ Total Request Bathtub!

I played in my son’s kindergarten class, my daughter’s pre-school class and as a substitute teacher I brought my guitar along to play for my students.  I played with our church band, at senior care facilities, and local art festivals, basically everywhere that I could play.  I loved playing my guitar and sharing my music.  The response I received was extremely positive and within the first year I had friends ask me to show them how to play guitar, that’s when my lesson program began.

Fast forward to today, I teach private guitar lessons and I have the privilege of traveling around the United States to teach my “Learn to Play Guitar in a Day!” workshops which I created to meet the needs of busy adults.  The DVD of my workshop airs on PBS and has been featured on TV, radio and in print.  My goal is simple, I want everyone to play guitar because it’s so much fun!

I guess it’s safe to say that a New Year’s resolution can bring about great new experiences and opportunities.  In fact, learning to play guitar was life changing for me.  Just think…my 2002 New Year’s resolution helped me to discover my life’s passion.  So what’s your New Year’s resolution?

If you’re having trouble with your own resolution, here are 5 quick tips to help you.

1. Set a realistic time frame to start working on your resolution, for example take your first class/lesson by June 1. Remember your resolution does not have to be done by January 3rd!

2. Picture it! Find a photo of your New Year’s resolution idea (in my case it was a guitar) on-line or in a magazine and place it on your refrigerator, better yet make it your screen saver on your phone and/or computer.

3. Investigate ways to achieve your goal. For instance you might need to find a class to attend and get yourself registered, or you might find that there are no local resources and you’ll need to find another way to learn, on-line perhaps.

4. Ask for referrals from family and friends or talk to an employee at a local store related to your idea (i.e. guitar shop employee for lesson referrals). The more people you talk to about your resolution, the more committed you will get to the idea.

5. Invest in yourself! Purchase the items you’ll need to make your resolution attainable, not only is it an investment in your future but you will feel prepared for your new adventure.


About the Author:

Marlene Hutchinson lives and teaches guitar in Orange County, California and teaches her “Learn to Play Guitar in a Day!” workshop at colleges, universities and other locations around the United States.  Her DVD airs on PBS stations and she has been featured on CBS 2, KCal9, NBC 9News, NPR (National Public Radio), Acoustic Guitar, the Women’s International Music Network and several newspapers including the Orange County Register.  “Learn to Play Guitar in a Day!”  is a 2014 Player’s Choice Award nominee and Marlene is a spokesperson/clinician for GAMA (Guitar & Accessories Marketing Association).  Visit Marlene at her website

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