Finding The Courage To Start Learning Guitar

Learning a new skill in life is hard. It takes a lot of mental strength to even get started and then a lot of mental fortitude to persevere through the learning process and all the flubs that come with it. On the other side of this awaits mastery of a new life skill, personal pride, and a new piece of your identity.

As humans we find peace and comfort in the things we know and understand because, first of all, it's predictable: when we're experienced with something we more or less know the outcomes of our actions. Some might argue this is part of human evolution: we try to gain mastery of our environment so we can develop a sense of security. Imagine you're stranded on an island (think Tom Hanks in Castaway). The first thing you'll try to do is scout out a good spot to set up a camp. You'll spend a lot of time setting up a fire, a place to sleep, and gather nearby resources to eat and support yourself. 


Exploring the rest of the island is a hard mental barrier to get past. Why would I leave my camp? I know I'll be safe there. In fact, out there I don't even know what I'll need to do to prepare. I hear that and I understand that line of thinking, but you're not Tom Hanks in Castaway. You're not alone on an island. You can reach out for help and the best thing you can do to get started exploring guitar and get started playing is to find a guide: someone to show you the ropes, tell you what you'll need on your journey, help you through the tough parts, and celebrate your accomplishments. At AI Music Lessons, we're that guide for you to get started. We'll teach you right from the beginning, assuming you've never picked up a guitar before and lead you all the way to playing your first song with lesson videos from our guitar instructors that have been teaching for decades. Moving out of your comfort zone is an opportunity for great personal growth, but bring along a guide.

vai 3 wing guitar

The second mental barrier to get past is comparing yourself to experts. As someone who wants to pick up the guitar and start learning, the most discouraging moments can be watching videos on YouTube, Instagram, or Tik Tok of people shredding on guitar. They're so good - absolute monsters on the guitar. It's easy to think, "hmmm, I'll never be that good, why even try?" To that I say, "Maybe you will, maybe you won't, but be honest with yourself, is that the goal?" The real question is, what do you want to accomplish? Maybe your goal is to be able to bring your acoustic guitar out to the campfire with friends and strum a couple songs late at night. Maybe your goal is to play a specific song, or join a band. Set expectations for yourself. It's OK that you won't stack up with a YouTuber who's been practicing guitar for 15 years when you've only been learning for a couple months. It's your journey of a new skill and your progress, goals and dreams are personal to you. Everyone learns at a different pace and in a different way. In our lessons, we really focused on approachability: we modify popular songs to make them easier and playable at the difficulty level you're at so you can learn by playing a bunch of songs. The goal is not to play things that are intended for guitarists with 15 years of practice behind them. Don't compare yourself to experts on the internet. You do you.

The third mental barrier to get past is failing, and failing publicly. It's hard when you're learning a new skill and you know you're going to make mistakes and be bad to learn with people around. Maybe that's your room mate, your partner, or your parents. They're going to hear you playing and making mistakes. It's human nature to want to present ourselves in the best possible light. That's why you never see sad, real-life images on social media. If we're publicly making mistakes it's hard to shake the mentality that people will think you're bad at something. Think about it this way: you meet up with a friend and they bring their friend who's visiting from another country and their English isn't great but they can put together sentences and have a basic conversation. If they're actively trying to speak your language and hang out with you, you're probably going to be super pumped that they're trying and even help them out a bit. I know I would! On the other hand, if they didn't say a word because they were scared of making mistakes your perception of them might be very different. Everyone was a learner at some point and as humans we are really receptive and encouraging of that process. 

audio interface

Still, you might not want people hearing you, and that's cool. A lot of guitar amps or pedal boards have headphone jacks where you can plug in headphones and not have everyone in your house listen to you. Look up "digital audio interface" on Google and you can find a little device for < $60 that you can plug into your computer and plug your guitar into it. With that you can plug in headphones and even record yourself playing on your computer for your ears only!

There's always going to be excuses to not start. There's a lot of mental work involved to make the leap and hop in. When you're ready, we're here for you. Here's the link to start: Start Learning Guitar