You’ve just purchased your own guitar and have started taking lessons, but it is a lot harder than you had first imagined. Do you feel you are struggling with learning to play the guitar? With a few simple tools, you can experience the joy of music and get on the road to becoming a better player. These are some unconventional ways to learn to play the guitar…
1. Learn Online Instead of In-Person
The internet is a fantastic resource for everything – including anything music-related. Learning from a teacher is great, but at times it can be hard to find set aside the time needed to become a pro, not to mention the cost! Thankfully, more and more music teachers are providing online lessons, which are both affordable and efficient for travel time. It’s very similar to in-person lessons, except they are done primarily via Skype, Facetime or other online tools. If you are struggling to find the time to travel for lessons, yet want to learn to play the various different styles of guitar, this option is for you. Your online teacher will show you the proper techniques and the necessary skills needed via Skype. Also, they often will provide audio files and tracks along with chord charts too, giving you the resources you’ll need to continue learning.
2. Guitar Tutorials
If there are certain songs you would like to learn and play, guitar tutorials are perfect for you. These provide step-by-step instructions on how to play each song, showing you the chord techniques via video, audio and even diagrams. There are tons of books and courses to choose from, and finding the right one depends on the style of guitar you wish to learn. Using tutorials in this way will allow you to play the music you already love, without becoming bogged down by technique. Youtube is also a great place to scour around when looking for online guitar tutorials.
3. Compose and Create Your Own Music
You’re probably thinking that creating your own music during these early stages is crazy, but it’s not as difficult as you would imagine. Once you have learned a few chord patterns, you can already start creating your own music using those chords as a guideline and incorporating your own notes. Grab a book of chords, learn some structures, such as the 12 bar blues, and start jamming away. You will be amazed at how easily you can create nice sounding music!
Learning to play an instrument can bring a lot of joy to you as well as the people around you. Music is an incredible emotional outlet, giving you the freedom to play the music you love. Using some of the above ideas, you will be on your way to becoming a fantastic guitar player, bringing music and joy to others.
This article was written by Sarah Jacobs who is a guitar enthusiast and has been playing mainly acoustic guitar for over ten years. When not obsessing about learning how to play the guitar and helping others in their lifelong pursuit, Sarah enjoys reading and looking after her two dogs.
The major problem with the way middle American culture approaches learning music is that tries to teach it in a vacuum. That is, it is taught devoid of context. I think the best practice for learning to make music is to begin with pieces one is totally familiar with. Music that one has grown up hearing, that one can whistle, hum, sing, and/or dance to. Music that has personal meaning. I think it is an abomination to teach anyone music that they have never heard played before, let alone have no personal attachment to.
That said, IMHO, the easiest way to get into the guitar is to learn it in open tunings where the guitar is tuned to a chord. That way, you always have a tonic chord to work from and you can fret one string to create a simple melody. Or you can use a glass or metal slide to change the pitch of the strings. As you work out simple melodies, you start to add simple chords. They learning curve is faster than it is in standard tuning, and the skills are transferable.
Many of my favorite musicians would use standard tuning and one or two open tunings in the course of a set. Robert Johnson and Elizabeth Cotten, for example. And many of the delta bluesmen played only in open tunings. Mississippi Fred McDowell and Furry Lewis, for example.