Adults need a bit of encouragement the same way that kids do, or even more when trying to find the motivation around work and family commitments! Taking regular lessons with a great tutor will keep you motivated and give you weekly tasks to work on to constantly encourage you to pick up the guitar at home. I always say to my students that the key to seeing progress is short but frequent bursts of practice. This can be incredibly hard to do on your own accord, so the thought of turning up to your weekly lessons and making an absolute fool out of yourself in front of your tutor because you haven’t touched the guitar since the last time you saw each other is a good kick in the rear end to pick the thing up and do some practice!
Plan Your Practice
Free time can often feel like something out of a fairy tale for an adult with work commitments, kids, a partner that you want to spend time with, and all sorts of other life stuff! This is why it is extremely important to schedule when you plan on practicing the guitar as if it were a meeting or something else of great importance (because it is important!). Popular times for adults can often be just after dinner or shortly before bed when everything has died down for the day. Having a regular time is a great way to establish a routine so you know and are ready to sit down and play some guitar after dinner for example. Just think about it; if you were planning on going to the gym you would have to plan this since you would need to allow yourself enough time to commute there and back and to complete your workout, so why should your guitar practice be any different?
Have Focused Goals
Having specific goals in mind that you want to achieve on the guitar is a great way to keep up the motivation and to feel success once you complete these goals. This could be as simple as learning your favourite song from start to finish, or more complicated topics such as improvising over a jazz standard. A combination of long and short term goals is a great way to constantly challenge yourself but also feel the reward with small wins, whilst still having a bigger picture to work towards.
Having the right equipment is actually extremely important to learning the guitar, since it will make your life much harder if you’re not setup correctly. For example, if you want to learn some AC/DC songs it is very important to have an electric guitar and an amplifier that can give you a distorted rock tone (or pedals that will do this). If you’re trying to achieve this sound on a nylon string classical guitar you won’t ever feel like you’re reaching that sound that you are looking for, simply because it’s almost a completely different instrument altogether.
More commonly I quite often see people bring in guitars to their lessons that are not setup correctly, or at least not setup in a way that would benefit them in their practice. Very often I see people bring in guitars that have a high action, meaning that the string height from the string to the fretboard is lifting much higher than it needs to, resulting in more pressure needing to be applied to produce a note. This will quickly make your hands sore and make practice feel challenging and not at all enjoyable. Taking your guitar to a local music store to have it setup will get the action to a nice playable height, as well as a fresh set of strings to get your guitar playing like butter.
Learn With friends
Some people find the thought of starting guitar lessons very intimidating, perhaps because they are self conscious about their playing. Well why not start group lessons with a friend of yours? Or perhaps there is someone in your workplace that also wants to start guitar lessons and has a similar level of experience to you? This can be a great way to learn the guitar in a relaxed and social setting, and a great way to blow off some steam after work!
If you’ve been playing for a while but are struggling to make the leap from someone who plays to themselves at home to more of an experienced musician, then jamming with others would be a great way to gain more musical experience and awareness. Playing with other people is a whole other skill and experience to playing at home by yourself, and is often the final piece of the puzzle that many intermediate players are missing after just playing by themselves for so long. Try giving a quick google search for “guitar jams in my area” to see if there are any organised jam sessions occurring around you. If you already know some people who play instruments who may be open to jamming, then why not ask them if you can bring a 6-pack over to enjoy while jamming some of your favourite songs!
Get the family involved
Another great way to getting as much experience on the guitar as possible is to get other members of your family involved! I’ve often taught both parents and their children guitar at the same time, since this can be a great way to get everyone involved and keen for the guitar. There will often come a time when both players need to split up into their own independent lessons, but this can still be a great way to start out to keep the routine of practicing guitar and going to guitar lessons.
Or perhaps you’re looking for a fun activity to use to spend some extra time with your partner? Why not show them a few chords and riffs that you’ve learnt on the guitar so that you are able to jam together!
Tags: Adult guitar lessons
, Guitar advice
, Guitar technique
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, Guitar wisdom