If You Listen to Only One Episode... This Is the One – 135

podcast Jul 28, 2020

Today, I share with you the two most powerful things I've found that will get you out of your guitar rut and help you to experience consistent progress, and I'm pretty sure they aren't what you would think.

Hello and Welcome friends to episode 135 of the Play Guitar podcast.
I'm Lee and this is the podcast that's determined to make you a better guitar player.
No matter if you are just starting out or you've been playing for years, this is the show that will help you become the guitarist that you always wanted to be.

"Excuse me sir, I have a question." "How long does it take to get good at guitar?"

Are you smiling yet? I am. Why, because it's the ultimate beginners question.

That's definitely the mark of a new guitarist. But, don't gloss over this one. it's a really good and honest question.

It's one that we need to revisit from time to time. And it's one that I keep on my mind a lot.
The disconnect that early guitarists experience is that they want instant results but they don't realize that they have just left on a long journey.

It's the equivalent of the all too familiar vacation questions "Are we there yet? How much longer?"

What's good and what's bad about this guitar journey, is that it never ends. We never arrive at our destination and say "Phew, thank god that's over.""we're finally here".

This is something very different. Why would you want to start something that you never really finish?

Being a musician isn't about the end goal, it's about the process. It's about being who you are, at the stage you are, and sharing your music.

Music has value at all of it's different stages. There is something to be enjoyed and learned from players who have just started, played for a while, been playing for a few years, all the way to advanced players.

It's true.

So what's the answer to the question: How long does it take to be good at the guitar?

I like to answer that with a question: Have you practiced today? Then you're in good shape. If you haven't, you need to go home and set up a practice schedule, then you will be good?

If you are listening to this podcast, then you're searching out ways to get better at guitar. I help frustrated guitarists get back to getting better at the guitar.

So this episode is the ground floor. Once you get these two concepts that I'm about to go over, you've won half the battle already.

There is a better way to learn guitar than just beating your head against the wall over and over again. Today I want to start you off correctly so that you can enjoy the experience of playing music instead of experiencing stress and frustration.

Here is something interesting that I have discovered. Success as a guitarist is usually combined with something unexpected:


I've noticed that students that practice on a regular basis move forward, and get encouraged, when binge practicers stay stagnant.

So we are going to call this first concept: Harnessing the power of repetition
Repetition is the best way to get better at anything.

We all remember putting things off till the last minute in school. It's one of the common things we share the world over: procrastination.

How did you feel that night before the test that you weren't prepared for. Were you Calm, relaxed, of course not. You were stressed.

The opposite happens when you studied a little bit every day. When the quiz or test comes around this time how did you feel. Confident, present, and relaxed. Just the way you would think a performer who is having a great time playing music would be.

Would you want to watch a performer who was stressed and unsure of his or her self? Most likely not.

So repetition for guitar can be a reliever of stress.

Why is guitar stressful? It's not supposed to be.

It's because you don't really know what you are doing and you aren't sure if you can pull it off. - sound familiar - That's stressful!

Or it could be because you feel like you have put in enough time and you aren't any better.
Something very different and special happens when you work on guitar, even for a short amount of time, on a daily basis, it's the best stress reliever ever.

Why, because you become better acquainted with what you know and what you don't. You can make peace with it. Your path becomes clear. You can easily determine what you know well and what you could use some time in the woodshed with.

Also, you are keeping the things that you are working on, at the front of your mind, without effort. You are committing your thoughts, concepts, and your movements to long term memory. To the place, in your mind, that knows how to walk, and tie your shoes, and drive a car, and eat, and sleep, and speak.

It also gets you used to achieving regular small goals. Getting used to working on new things that you aren't good at, on a daily basis, is key to moving forward on the guitar. Not being embarrassed that you don't know everything about guitar yet is very healthy.

Learning the guitar is huge. It's enormous. There is so much and so many different directions to go in. You can't be good at everything. But, what you can do, is focus on specific things, use the power of repetition, and chip away at them one milestone at a time.

The other really special thing about daily repetition is that you get some help that you may not have thought was there. You get help from your subconscious mind.

I can't tell you how many times that I have heard something like this. "I have been working on this thing yesterday and I couldn't do it. I went to sleep and when I practiced the next day, I could play it."

Have you ever experienced something like this?

What happened over night? Were you like Neo and downloaded super kung fu skills?

No, your brain was processing things that you weren't able to get at the time. It's working. I'm not a brain scientist so I can't tell you how this works at all. I can just tell you that I've seen the evidence that there is a helper in there somewhere.

So, today, set aside a small amount of time each day to work on these difficult guitar problems, and start getting some of the best help you've had as a musician.

Start the journey

Is the group is always right?

What is the way that guitarists have decided that they want to learn today? It's by watching very random and disjointed snippets of content so that they can copy other guitarists without the burden of knowing actually what it is that they are doing.

It that the best way to learn?

Well, if this isn't working out for you - you are not alone. There are a ton of frustrated guitarists out there who typed into their phone: How to play guitar. Being scattered is never the best way to learn anything.

The way you approach learning guitar means everything.

Think of being a musician as being someone who is on a journey. This goes back to the opening statement from today. "How long is it going to to take to get good on the guitar." That's the wrong thinking.

This is not competition between players or a race to acquire the most songs. This is a very valuable lifelong process that you will reap endless rewards from.

The earlier line from the introduction today makes a lot of sense:

Being a musician isn't about the end goal, it's about the process. It's about being who you are, at the stage you are, and sharing your music.
Music has value at all of it's different stages. There is something to be enjoyed and learned from players who have just started, played for a while, been playing for a few years, all the way to advanced players. It's true.

Being content that you are on the path and that if you keep at it you will progress is the key. And the farther you go, the more confident you become because you have experienced the regular completion of small goals. And you get used to that feeling: Achievement.


Small Goals.

Splitting up something large into smaller easy to accomplish bits is something that we can all handle. And, if you do the research into what it takes to learn to do something, what do you need to know, you can list out all of the small goals to achieve that.

And what is that list of small goals: a roadmap. And what does a roadmap do. It gives you the shortest route to a destination.

Learning to play a certain song in the shortest time possible where you understand why it works and you have trained your subconscious to be able to play it on autopilot. Sounds good right!

All from taking the 10 minutes to list all of the things that you need to be able to do to play that song.

1. learn the chords
2. play the chords in time.
3. Learn the licks
4. find out how the licks work over chords
5. be able to improvise over the song
6 Polish your performance.

Being on the journey brings focus to the present.

"Oh, I'll never be able to play that." Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever said that out loud? That phrase is a killer. It's toxic. Remove that saying and the thinking behind it right now. Let me tell you, playing guitar isn't easy, but it is nothing you can't handle if you think of it as a journey and use the power of repetition.

When you are on a journey, and have mapped out your roadmap, you stop stressing on how you are going to do something, or if you are going to be able to do it at all.

That thinking is gone because you have to focus on the small goal at hand. And what is also a bonus for today's guitarists, you tend to stop looking at all of the other shiny guitar things, until you are ready to move on to your next set of goals.

So let's set up a daily Routine by creating our roadmap of small goals and finding a time each day to chip away at them.

What are you always putting off that never gets done? What is something that you know is holding you back but it feels like too big a job for you?

It could be your rhythm needs work. You might rush when you are playing, or you are having a hard time playing certain rhythms at a certain speed.

Decide the big thing that you need to work on.

Then, create your list of small goals that you would need to conquer this dragon.

For example:

  • If its rhythm, start with the basics: a metronome and quarter notes.
  • Then, it could be playing at certain speeds, up to the speed of your problem rhythm.
  • Next, change those quarter notes to 8th note rhythms at the lower speed.
  • Then increase to your problem speed.
  • Then go to 16th note rhythms from low to high speed.
  • Then mix quarter, eighth, and 16th rhythms from low to high speed.
  • Finally when you have achieved all of these supportive skills that you need for your problem rhythm, attack the problem from low to high.

There it is a map of small goals that you can work on daily that will not just improve your playing for your problem rhythm, but for all of your rhythm work as well.

Find your manageable times

Even with the best intentions, life can get in the way. If you can schedule a consistent time for daily practice, that's great. But, for a lot of us, that's not possible.

Don't let that stress you out. Be flexible with your family and work when it comes to your routine. Sometimes, having different times for weekdays and weekends is necessary.

That's OK. Even if you have to set your times differently from day to day that's fine. Just as long as you get that worked out ahead of time and try to stick to some sort of schedule, you will be headed on the right path.

So there it is, ground zero. Get out of the a la carte method of learning. Make some decisions on what you need to do. And go forward with them in a daily but easily manageable practice routine, and you will be ahead of the game, even if you have just started playing today.

If you have made it this far, congratulations! you are headed in the right direction.

I have a free gift for you. It's my guide to setting up your ultimate practice space.

Having a daily routine needs to be distraction free and comfortable. This is a checklist for you to make sure you have everything set up for maximum progress.

It's at:

So that's a wrap!
Thanks for joining me today for the play guitar podcast.
If you like what you heard please subscribe to the show in apple podcasts or your favorite podcast player.
Also, I would really appreciate it if you could leave a review for the show.
If you are just starting or new to the guitar head over to starthereguitar.com to check out my premium 11 week beginners course that will give you the foundation you need to move forward correctly on the guitar.
Follow me on all of my different social media pages. Links to them are at playguitaracademy.com
Thanks again and I"ll see you on the next episode!


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