This week I met with my best friend, Riley, for a jam session (and some coffee). It was great to play with and for someone else who is already an accomplished guitarist. She showed me some of the things that she has been working on this year, and it was encouraging to hear from her that it takes time to see progress!
After that, It was my turn to played for her. She noticed that the guitar that I’m using has a really wide fretboard, which makes it difficult for me to switch from one chord to the next, especially because my hands are small. She also said that the fretboard isn’t cut away where it meets the body of the guitar, which is why I’ve been struggling to play the high part at the beginning of “Brown Eyed Girl.” She recommended that I ask a professional about a better guitar if I’m serious about sticking with playing. (I think I am…) I had no idea that I was playing a guitar that was such a bad fit for me, and wouldn’t have learned differently without continuing to be frustrated, or by meeting with another more experienced guitar player. This kind of personal connection definitely makes a difference for this type of learning!
I’m still receiving Drue James‘ lesson and tip emails, and this week one of them was particularly fitting to the idea that a music student really benefits from face-to-face interactions with others when learning to play an instrument. He said:
I’ve been teaching beginners for 10 years now and one thing I’m seeing increasing is bad playing habits.
I think it’s because there’s more self taught YouTube guitarists than ever. Being self taught is awesome and without you guys watching my videos life wouldn’t be as much fun. It does have one big disadvantage…
No one is checking your playing and offering you personal feedback. Bad habits can make playing the guitar much harder than it needs to be and it’s easy for them to sneak in when you’re learning by yourself.
The video below has my top 5 bad playing habits. The video not only shows you what you might be doing wrong it also shows you how to correct it.
This video was so helpful, and I wish that I had found Drue James and his videos earlier in my learning journey.
The article suggests discussing practice time as “playing” time instead to foster a positive attitude toward learning to play an instrument. The difference between the connotations is substantial. Practicing is hard work. Playing is fun.
The other tip that the article suggests is to create a pleasant environment for playing. This means keeping your instrument in an accessible and comfortable place. I’m going to try to find a better home for my guitar so that I’m tempted to play (not practice!) more often. Let’s do this! I’m excited to share my song with you in a couple of weeks!