- Myth #1: Knowing Music Theory is Necessary to Learn How to Play the Guitar.
- Myth #2: I'm Too Old to Learn How to Play Guitar
- Myth #3: How Do I Play Music If I Don't Have a Sense of Rhythm?
- Myth #4: I Don't Have the Musical Ear. This is a Handicap to Play the Guitar.
- Myth #5: I Don't have the Proper Hands and Fingers to Play the Guitar Well.
- Myth #6: Learning the Guitar is Too Hard
The guitar is a very popular instrument, regardless of one's gender or age. As teenagers, boys and girls start to strum and play the guitar to play for themselves, a band, or people they want to impress. As adults, we have all dreamed of moving beyond the position of beginner guitar player and one day creating a band and making incredible guitar solos before a crazy audience.
Or even to break into pieces our favourite instrument just to seem cool.
In short, the guitar still has good days ahead of it. Yet, many people pay too much attention to "preconceived" ideas and things such as "a buddy told me that ...". That it's either very difficult or very easy to play guitar chords. Either that a guitar teacher is important or it is not. That you should take a guitar lesson or you should not.
Rather than a long speech about the wealth and class of this instrument, we will break the myth and put some misconceptions to the test. These should never stop you from starting the guitar!
Myth #1: Knowing Music Theory is Necessary to Learn How to Play the Guitar.
The guitar teachers and musicians are positive about it: no, you do not have to learn music theory to play the guitar. The power chords you need for rhythm guitar do not need academic knowledge of chord progressions. To play rock riffs or lead guitar like Eric Clapton, you do not need to know the major scale or even really the pentatonic.
Not when you are starting out on your first guitar lesson at least. Later on, when you have the basics of rock guitar down - or you can play songs but want something more - it comes advisable. Indeed, the guitar is one of the only instruments that does not require you to begin by learning music theory and arpeggio classes.
For the guitar, we have what the pros call a tablature. That is, a document on which you have the exact transcription of the mechanical movement of your hands. This will tell you whether to play fingerstyle or with a guitar pick, which finger to put on which fret of the guitar neck, and the rhythms that you will need to play. Guitar tabs are generally a great support for anyone wanting to play guitar music.
So you know precisely where to position your fingers to play the different notes that make up your melody just by looking at it carefully. Thus, unlike other instruments, you can play the guitar right away, without necessarily knowing the music theory.
To do so, reproduce the gestures indicated on your tabs without thinking too hard about it.
That being said, if you really like the guitar, you will, at some point, learn the basics of music theory. There are several reasons for this.
- To be able to exchange easily with other musicians if you want to play in a group.
- But also to know what you play, and so to progress, maybe even compose your own music.
- Moreover, if you are a fan of jazz guitar and classical music, solfeggio will be a must.
Even then, some incredible guitar players will understand the sound of a barre chord or particular arpeggios - with out the music. You can do the same through ear training.
When Theory Might be Helpful.
It's up to you to see why you want to play different guitar styles.
If it's just for fun and you plan to play something other than jazz or classical, you may not need to learn music theory.
If you want to improve, on the other hand, solfeggio will be a necessary passage. Even during private guitar classes, teachers don't always make you practice solfeggio when you're a beginner. The first steps of learning how to play the guitar are about placing your fingers on the fretboard, strumming, learning about fingerpicking and chords.
Music theory can come later on if you want to be more independent, want to start improvising, or simply want to go to the next level. And when you start looking at complex chord shapes, being able to read a chord chart will help you play acoustic guitar.
But do not worry, musicians say that by giving your best a little every day (5 to 10 minutes), you will learn in a few weeks the basics of music theory. And, some of the best guitar players - players in blues guitar or in fingerstyle - never went on a guitar course or had a guitar instructor. If they can do without the theory, so can you.
Myth #2: I'm Too Old to Learn How to Play Guitar
After the music theory (which can be a brake for some) comes the argument: it is better to learn the guitar when you are young, or can you learn some guitar tricks at any time throughout life?
It's true that as a child we can learn more quickly. We are real sponges capable of ingesting an incredible amount of information. As we grow, it becomes more difficult to retain and assimilate the same information. But this above all concerns annoying things that we don't like doing.
If you take pleasure you will see that you will progress quickly - no matter your age. And above all: you will want to improve yourself and discover new things.
Moreover, many retired people choose to take up the guitar to pass time and stay active. Because yes, the practice of an instrument is a great vehicle to continue to meet people and to make our neurons work. Not to mention that the older we get, the more time we have.
Discover the history of the guitar! And throw yourself into the adventure!
Often, a child must juggle between classes, homework, various activities and leisure activities. Older, once the children have grown up and left home, we finally have more time to devote to our leisure time.
Either you can spend your free time remaining passive in front of the television (which is not really stimulating for our brain) or you can enjoy yourself, learn the guitar and take a lot of pleasure playing mythical hits or create new ones.
So, as long as you can get your hands around a guitar chord, you can play. As long as you are interested in learning songs to play, you can play. As long as you are dedicated to guitar practice, you can play.
In fact, there is no age to play music. It takes just the will, passion and motivation to do so. That's all.
Myth #3: How Do I Play Music If I Don't Have a Sense of Rhythm?
Not having a sense of rhythm is not an excuse but rather an accepted idea. And a very bad one.
Obviously when you're going to start, you will not be in rhythm (unless you're a genius or have already played of a musical instrument to a high level).
But you will quickly discover this famous sense of rhythm by simply practicing. Using a metronome during your exercises can be very useful for practicing. This can be used to keep time to whilst you are practicing your basic chords, barre chords or open chords, or you an use it for jamplay or to keep time to your favorite songs.
In reality, we all have a sense of rhythm. Moreover, our daily life is rhythmic, according to different tempos. Our heart, above all, that beats steadily and constantly (with more or less speed depending on the situations).
But also according to the day / night rhythm imposing our body to rest at specific times and to be active during others. The seasons also come to rhythm our year with this famous cycle winter / spring / summer / autumn that repeats indefinitely.
Or the rhythm imposed by our own timetable. Some will need a faster pace than others. But we all have a clear sense of clean rhythm. So even if you aren't a born guitar player with instinctive rhythm you can still hope to learn how to play guitar just as anyone else.
Regarding the guitar, with a good teacher, you will quickly catch the rhythm of the instrument and you will just as quickly enter into total symbiosis with it. As you do for every day activity. The musicians say: "The objective is to reconnect to your inner rhythm". It's beautiful and true.
Myth #4: I Don't Have the Musical Ear. This is a Handicap to Play the Guitar.
Not having a musical ear is also a preconceived idea that means absolutely nothing. Just as we have the rhythm in our blood, we all know how to listen and imitate. This is the very principle of the human being.
Should we be a real musician to play the guitar?
It was by imitating others that we were able to evolve. It was by listening to our teacher that we learned new things. We're pretty much always surrounded by music too - and a lot of this these days is guitar songs.
In fact, the real problem of our society is that we no longer know how to listen - although we are constantly surrounded by noise.
A whole bunch of nuisance prevents us from using our ears as we can use our other senses. It's a bit like if you were feeding yourself all the time with unhealthy food. Your sense of taste would be disrupted.
The practice of music enables you to reuse your ears fully.
Obviously, it works.
The aim is to re-learn to hear and, above all, to listen. The nuance between the two terms is important because we can hear a sound without necessarily focusing on it. This aspect of guitar playing is one of the scientifically proven benefits of playing the guitar!
Few people know how to listen. To listen means to take out a sound and to understand it. So do not worry if you do not have a musical ear. That's one thing you'll learn. Test your musical ear!
Just as you have learned to use your hands, your mouth and your eyes when you were a toddler.
Myth #5: I Don't have the Proper Hands and Fingers to Play the Guitar Well.
Still a bad excuse to avoid getting started. It is true that playing guitar requires dexterity with your fingers. But who said that only people with fine hands are clever with their fingers? This is totally wrong!
Some musicians have suffered serious accidents that have handicapped them at the hands. Other legendary guitarists had very big fingers. Yet this did not stop them from continuing to play their favorite instrument.
It's not because you have gigantic hands that you're not going to be good at the guitar. With a little training and work, you will succeed in placing your plump fingers exactly where you need them to be.
Maybe you will have a little more difficulty than other people who have fine fingers (but not necessarily more agile). We are not all equal at the physical level. That's how it should be done. Then go ahead and get to it. The human body is a beautiful machine capable of many miracles with a little hard work and willpower.
This also applies to left-handed guitarists. Just because you are not part of the majority of right-handers, does not mean you'll be bad at the guitar. On the contrary! This should not be an excuse for not trying out this instrument.
So, get yourself a new guitar, tune your guitar, and get to know some basic guitar music and guitar licks. There are plenty of complex guitar techniques, but the guitar basics just require you to get to know the fret board and to be able to put your ring finger next to your middle finger next to your index finger. Honestly, it won't take too much to learn your first song, a major chord, or the blues scale!
Myth #6: Learning the Guitar is Too Hard
Who said that playing music was easy? Not us anyway. Learning the guitar requires time, some investment and passion. And it would certainly help if you got yourself some beginner guitar lessons - either online guitar lessons or in person. These will get you comfortable with the parts of the guitar, as well as how to tune a guitar. (You'll find plenty of free guitar lessons online - a video lesson perhaps, or written guitar lessons for beginners. There are a lot of people offering teaching for guitar online.)
After that, you will cover a chord progression (maybe from C major) and fingerstyle guitar, and you'll move on up to improvisation, chromatic techniques, and your first guitar solo.
Come on, finish with your excuses and don't believe everything that people who know nothing tell you! The guitar is like everything. As long as you are motivated, you will have everything you need to learn to play.
Maybe you are not a genius and you will not be the new Jimi Hendrix. But at the same time, how many geniuses are there in the known and less known current guitarists? Very few. Most just take pleasure in playing. And that's all that counts. In reality, the guitar is 50% passion and 50% pleasure.
Find your teacher now who will give you the right method to learn the guitar and take guitar lessons without waiting.
You will see: once you have started, you will find it hard to do without it.
And then the guitar is a weapon of massive seduction!