Many people would like to play an instrument but are put off for different reasons. Some may not have the room to have certain instruments in the house such as pianos or a drumkit. Others may be put off by the perceived cost that buying the equipment will entail or the time to learn. One more reason is that some people feel that they will need to take professional lessons.
This is one reason that people don’t take up instruments such as the guitar and regret it later in life. The guitar (and other instruments) are perfectly possible to learn by yourself and there are plenty of tools to help. The best guitar apps for the iPad and iPhone help beginners and experienced players with chords, effects, and other areas.
So, should you learn the guitar after all, and is it possible to do this at home on your own?
Why should you learn the guitar?
For one, it is probably the best time to take up a new hobby or instrument. With the pandemic ongoing and lockdowns and other restrictions still in place, many people have time on their hands they wouldn’t normally. Also, the guitar and music, in general, is a great hobby. It brings pleasure to millions of people daily and allows musicians to be creative on their own or in front of an audience.
Learning an instrument can lead you towards playing and performing either solo or as part of a band. It can bring you together with like-minded people, improve your confidence, and even lead to a career. It is within a talented person’s grasp to find their niche where they may become a musician or teacher or get involved in music in another way.
All in all, learning the guitar has many perks and one of them is it can help you to look pretty cool. If you learn to play the guitar properly that is.
Is it difficult?
There is no easy answer to this question as everyone is different but the standard answer is that it is hard. In the beginning. This is why many people give up the guitar. Some instruments like the piano give immediate satisfaction as it is impossible to hit a bum note and that gratification encourages a student to continue. Guitars are different beasts and they need to be treated accordingly.
You will likely find the guitar difficult to play at the beginning and there are common areas that most players find awkward. The main thing, just like other learning experiences, is to keep practicing.
What areas do most guitar beginners find difficult?
There are a few common areas that beginners will all find awkward to start with. They are the following:
- Bar or barre chords
- Changing between chords
- String skipping
There are some other issues but these are three that most guitar beginners struggle with. Another is trying to move on to a different song to learn before really mastering the one before. You cannot rush to learn the guitar, it takes time and practice.
When it comes to chords it will take some time to get used to holding down two chords and then changing but when you have it down you will enjoy learning new songs. You can use technology and special websites to learn Beatles chords and other artists just as soon as your practice pays off and you start getting to grips with the guitar.
Choosing your first guitar
Before you can learn guitar you will need to have one in your possession. There is no easy way to explain how to choose your first guitar because everyone is different. The first thing to say though is if you already have a guitar then use that one. You can learn with this guitar and upgrade later. However, if you need to buy one or just don’t like the one you have then there are 3 things to consider:
- Your budget
- How the guitar feels
- How the guitar sounds
Don’t spend a fortune on a guitar. An expensive guitar won’t make you learn quicker although some guitars are easier than others. How it feels is most important. Try holding a few guitars and see how they feel to you. What is comfortable and what feels right. This area is a personal preference but it is more important than sound for a beginner. The last criteria are sound but if you are a complete newbie you should choose feel over the sound.
For a beginner, the best choice would be an acoustic guitar. When you choose the guitar go for one with steel strings. Wait to get an electric guitar once you have spent a few months with the acoustic one. If you already have an electric guitar or are insistent on buying one then that is fine but an acoustic is easier to start with.
Learning to play guitar
Now you have your guitar you will want to play it. There are many music education websites around and some of these have lessons you can sign up for for free. Search around until you find one that sounds right for you and stay with it. Don’t be tempted to keep jumping around between different lesson plans, the key here is to practice, there aren’t shortcuts.
- This is a checklist for learning the guitar at home:
- Learn guitar tablature
- Learn basic chords
- Learn how to change between chords
- Practice strumming
- Learn one song perfectly
- Practice every day
Many people try to learn a song and then move on to another before they have it right. Find a suitable beginner’s song or a couple, and stick with them. If you learn the basic chords at the start you will be surprised how many songs are now at your fingertips. You will need to learn strumming patterns, ideally as many as you can plus how to change between chords. This can be tricky but it is just down to practice. Try to keep some time every day just for practice. It shouldn’t be a chore though, guitar playing should be fun.
Some people are blessed and can ‘play by ear’, that is to say, they can listen to a song once or twice and can then play it themselves. There are some quick ways to find out what chords are in your favorite songs. Go online to one of the music education sites and upload some of your favorite Beatles songs and these websites will display Here Comes the Sun chords instantly for you to learn. There are numerous other apps available for budding musicians too.
Mobile apps to help musicians
Apple has long been known for its association with music. From iTunes to the GarageBand app which has been used by professional bands to create music. There are many music apps for iPads and iPhones and they can help with lyrics; Songwriter’s Pad and recording; GarageBand. There are also apps for guitar effects and more. Once you are learning more songs you might want to consider recording tracks at home and playing around with your ideas.
Performing and showcasing your work
After some time and a lot of practice. A LOT of practice. You might want to start playing for others and this is a natural progression. If you are serious about being a musician and you have put in the hard work learning chords and strumming patterns then you will want others to appreciate your new skills.
Apps like Rhymer’s Block and Songwriter Pro can help you with lyrics and when you get writer’s block. Platforms such as YouTube and Soundcloud will let you upload your music, videos and promote yourself. People all across the world can then hear your music and comment. If you want to get out in the real world then try busking, but only where it is legal. Many musicians have spent time on the streets putting in the hours and it is a great way to practice, potentially make some fans and even possibly make a few bucks.
Once you have chosen your guitar it is up to you to practice. Learn the basic chords, learn to strum, learn to change chords. Now practice, and practice some more. All the guitarists you admire learned by putting in the hours. You can do this at home by sticking to your lessons, not switching around, and not constantly dropping songs to try another.
Who knows? With time you could end up being a guitar teacher helping others, all your need is your talent and time. Or, maybe you will be a musician in your own right. Playing guitar is a great hobby and all you need is time and practice.Tweet