Learning a new instrument is a tough task, but with a few tips and tricks you can overcome some common hurdles many face when learning to play.
By Perry Martin
Learning to play an instrument is difficult. In fact, studies show that 90 percent of people learning to play guitar quit within the first three months. And it’s understandable! It’s a completely new skill that takes dedication, patience, time, and lots of other ingredients to be successful at it. But while it might seem the odds are stacked against you, with some helpful advice from Fender Play you can overcome lots of crucial roadblocks and be on your way to becoming a player for life!
In a recent episode of Fender Play Live, host Eugene Edwards sat down with Fender Play Instructors Jensen Trani and Dylan Caliguiri to talk about their advice for overcoming roadblocks, and to take some questions from the audience. They bring a lot of experience - Eugene is a touring lead guitarist for Dwight Yoakam, Jensen has taught guitar for well over a decade, and Dylan has a PhD in guitar - and below we’ll break down some of the best ways to not quit playing your instrument!
One of the biggest reasons why people quit an instrument is due to the perceived lack of time. You might think you need to spend hours a day practicing, but that can end up being counter-productive as it can be overwhelming and discouraging to learning. Watch as Jensen Trani breaks down how much you really need to practice early on:
Yes, playing an instrument like guitar, bass or uke should be all about fun, but learning is HARD. Your fingertips might hurt, you may get frustrated, it’s a slow process….all of which can take away your motivation to continue. But one way to keep that motivation up is to reward yourself. For Jensen, his reward is social media:
Setting a practice schedule is a great way to keep you focused on your learning journey. Just don’t forget Tip #1 when putting together your schedule! For advice on how to set a good practice schedule, check out the link below:
A very common issue for people learning a new instrument is the dreaded plateau. You might make lots of progress early on and then get stuck at a song or skill and not feel like you’re progressing anymore. The good news is that’s completely normal! It’s something that even experts like Eugene, Jensen and Dylan face, so you’re in good company. Plateaus can be frustrating though and sap your motivation, so how do you get past them? According to Eugene: dive into an entirely new style. Set aside what you’re working on and jump into something outside of your comfort zone. “It really will be a new world and hopefully will excite you” says Eugene.
Many people quit due to a lack of confidence that often stems from a variety of perceived issues. Some people feel their hands are too small (or too big), others feel that their fingers just don’t bend that way, and many people feel like they just don’t have the talent to play an instrument. It is easy to get discouraged when looking at the great players, but they struggled through learning just like everybody else. As Dylan puts it, “talent, to some extent, can be a myth”. Watch his advice for motivating yourself below:
Last but certainly not least - an incredibly effective way to not quit learning an instrument is to go through the learning journey with a friend. Playing with others is a great way to stay motivated, and to have fun while learning. If you don’t know anybody looking to learn an instrument, another option is the Fender Play Facebook Community, a supportive community of over 50,000 learners who come together to talk about their learning journeys, get real-time advice from experts such as Dylan & Jensen, and motivate each other to continue learning.