There is a magic word which will help you get better at guitar much faster and much easier. It is a surprisingly simple word to use and when you hear it you will probably be thinking: “Why didn’t I realise that?” Don’t worry. Even though the magic word feels obvious, it is not easy to come up with on your own. I myself haven’t learned it on my own, but from my peer group of like-minded guitar teachers.
Before I explain what the magic word is, let me show what happens if you don’t use the magic word. The result is a phrase that many players say to themselves and thus give themselves lots of headaches. What is the phrase without the magic word?
“My playing sucks.”
What will happen if you don’t use the magic word ?
If you only say “My playing sucks,” you will get all sorts of problems which could have easily been avoided by using the magic word:
- You will receive zero useful information about your playing and as a result will waste energy and thought that you could use to improve and have fun.
- You will get frustrated, because you will not get at all closer to finding a solution, but instead will probably continue doing what you’ve been doing all along.
- You will find it hard to set goals for improvement, making it hard to stay motivated to practice regularly and improve over the long term.
- You will have less fun practicing and playing, making them feel like a chore instead of making you feel like a rockstar.
What would happen if you could turn those around? Would you make considerably more progress in your playing? Would you have more fun playing and practicing? Would you be much more eager to play guitar to your friends?
The magic word turns it all around for you!
What’s the magic word? The magic word isn’t ‘please’, like it is when the desired outcome is being polite. If you want to turn around the problems you are facing as a learning guitarist, your magic word will be ‘because’.
Add that into the phrase and it becomes a powerful phrase: “My playing sucks, because…”
You need to continue the sentence with specific reasons for what could be improved. Doing this will make it easy for you to find how you will improve:
- You will gain much more accurate information on what is lacking in your playing and will find it much easier to generate good practice items to solve them.
- You will be much less frustrated, because you know that each of the problems that you list can be solved if you tackle each of them and eliminate them.
- You will have a much easier time setting goals, since you will have distinct items on which you can measure your progress. This will increase motivation to practice.
- You will have much more fun practicing and playing, because you know each time you practice you are getting closer to the playing of your dreams.
What if you still can’t find all the solutions?
Don’t worry, this is to be expected. Unless you already are very advanced on guitar, you will not be able to find all the solutions by yourself. The biggest value in the magic word is the mindset shift. It makes you think of solutions, which is miles better than not knowing any specifics.
After you have changed your thinking around, the best thing you can do is find yourself a great guitar teacher who can help you. He or she will be able to see many more problems in your playing than you can. He or she will also know what to work on first and know the best exercises to overcome each issue. A great guitar teacher will also keep you accountable and make sure you keep your thoughts positive throughout the learning process.
About the author:
Hi, I am Jere Toikka and I am a guitar instructor living in Turku, FInland. I love finding solutions for my students and to see them progress. If you liked reading the article, feel free to share it with someone who could benefit from it!