5 Key Steps To Make Learning Guitar Enjoyable For Beginners

Guitar, along with the piano, is one of the most popular instruments in the world, and the versatility of these instruments has got a lot to do with it. It has been used in a wide range of genres including classical music, jazz, blues, rock and metal. The great thing about this guitar is that musicians can make use of it as both solo and rhythm instruments.

Although it has worked perfectly as an addition to a band, the instrument has also been used for solo performances. Some guitar players who’ve done so are Joe Pass and Tommy Emmanuel. On the other hand, players like Jimi Hendrix and Joe Satriani have used it as the leading instrument in a band. For a person who has just picked up the guitar, there are certain things to keep in mind that might help them get good at it.

The Basics

Patience and getting the foundation right is the key part in learning any kind of skills or artform, be it Parkour or reading. Getting the fundamentals right is not only crucial in learning the guitar but all instruments. The things that you learn in the early stages act as a foundation in creating records, playing as a session player, or even in improvisational genres like jazz and blues.

To simplify learning, it’s best to look at songs as a combination of melody and rhythm and get good at both through practice. Trying to play the correct notes while keeping the time can be difficult at first, but it’ll help you level up in the long run. 

Don’t rush wondering when you’ll play guitar like Hendrix, just start with something simple, even if it is a song that consists of merely two simple chords. Just remember the wise words of legend Bruce Lee:’I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who had practiced one kick 10,000 times“.

Improvising

The art of improvising can seem intimidating for a beginner guitar player, but once you’ve got the basics right and can play comfortably to a certain level, adding improvisation to your practice routine can be of great help. When you’re meddling with notes on a guitar, you’re not only discovering the fretboard but also flirting with the groove.

It’s all in your hands when to land a note, and smaller things like that can change the impact of the intended melody. This is why improvisation has been a big part of musical innovation in all eras. Even if you know only a few notes, and even if your fingers are not dexterous enough, it’s always best to improvise with whatever skill you have. By improvising, you challenge yourself and come out better every time.

Playing Phrases Instead Of Scales

Practising scales is important- it is part of the basics of learning an instrument. Having said that, playing the same scales over and over again can be stressful and get mechanical over time. It can stagnate your growth. Music is all about the feel, and there’s no better way to convey feelings through a guitar by playing in phrases rather than mindlessly noodling. It’s important to have muscle memory, and practicing scales can give you that. But when you get to that point, it’s better to make use of that leverage in taking the time to think and convey something sweet.

Playing phrases is like communicating a sweet passing melody that has feelings. A phrase is not a mere accumulation of notes, but an expression through the instrument. A melody is the key element of a musical passage, and chords are supplementary to that melody. Therefore, to develop a great sense of melody, phrasing can be an effective tool.

Visualizing Melody And Chords Together

Now that you’ve practised the basics, started improvising and composing melodies, the only thing lacking would be adding a character to your music. Even if you’re playing sweet phrases, they won’t be able to convey as much without the support of harmonies.

For that reason, writing melodies to chords can be a step-up from what you’ve been doing with single-line guitar phrases. The technique of backing up the leading melody with harmonies has been widely used in classical music and solo jazz guitars.

Listening

Of all other skills to incorporate into your playing, listening can be the most forgiving one, yet the most integral for creativity. What and when you should listen to any piece of music is not written in the cards. It’s a matter of taste, mood and trying to hit nostalgic feelings that certain songs uniquely trigger in us. Listening to music is not only entertaining but also therapeutic, and consequently, we turn a blind eye to its significance in composition.

Some songs are written out of personal feelings, some out of momentary fling, whereas some are written out of the immediate or long-term influence of our favorite artists. Bearing that in mind, listening to music comes at all stages of learning to play the guitar. Whether you’re just a beginner or have become quite competent at playing the instrument, listening can still be monumental in your growth. 

Conclusively, most of the time, we get obsessed with mastering the fretboard and tend to forget that playing the guitar is enjoyable. To be skilful, and at the same time, grow musically, it’s necessary to balance both aspects of learning. While learning the basics can be tiresome, improvising can be gratifying. With a wholesome learning approach, playing the guitar can be a lot more enjoyable.

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Atif Abidi
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