My first year of guitar was a bit of a whirlwind. I can sort of remember my Dad looking sideways at me when I said I wanted to learn, to say I wasn’t exactly the most committed student would be an understatement. My first guitar was a very cheap little acoustic brought from Argos, it came with a bag, a pitch pipe and a VHS on how to learn which was a about as useful as a pair of sunglasses on a person with one ear. I also got a ‘best of Jimi Hendrix album’ to sort of help spark some inspiration.
After a few weeks of me trying to teach myself my Mum kindly suggested that learning with a teacher might be a better option, I sometimes wonder how bad I sounded back then before my first lesson to drive her to that point. We quickly found a teacher thats where my guitar lessons and thus my guitar journey begun properly
One of my greatest reasons for sticking with the guitar was the fact that most if not all my friends played instruments. Some played Drums or Bass and some were Guitarists but we were all musical. We would regularly meet up at school and listen to the newest ‘Metallica’ CD we’d bought or whatever and feel instantly inspired. We would also sit down with our guitars and go over little riffs that we may have learnt over the weekend whilst we were away from school. There was always a bit of a competitive edge when it came to the guitar players and honestly I don’t think I ranked anywhere near as one of the best.
I found the concept of playing the guitar quite hard at first. It demanded a lot of concentration and coordinated and both were things I wasn’t exactly famous for. At times I can honestly say I sounded awful but I was very Ok with it. I knew what I wanted to do and learn and I just settled in with the fact it would take a really really long time, I was prepared to wait. We didn’t have YouTube back then and there was no IPhone apps to use for info, we only had our one lesson a week as our source of knowledge. My lessons were initially 30 minutes and then went to an hour within the first year. The more patient I was with guitar the better I got at it and in turn, the more I wanted to learn and practice.
I think the problem is most guitar players in the early days is the expectation is totally wrong. It’s not uncommon in this instant ‘gratification world’ to think that I we’re not playing blinding guitar solo’s in the first week ‘its not for me’. It simply isn’t true. I never thought I would go on to study music, start bands or even have my own Guitar School back then. The expectation was simple, I just wanted to learn. Having that realistic expectation was key for my success, I encourage all my students despite the overwhelming temptation to sink into the ‘why is it taking so long’ mind-set to keep going.
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