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Guitar Lessons


Learning to play a musical instrument requires daily practice – 30 minutes a day should be thought of as the minimum amount (20 mins – children under eight). It is better to do a little practice every day of the week than four hours on Sunday. Practising immediately after your lesson is highly recommended.

Think of your practice like this:
7 days-a-week = excellent
6 days-a-week = very good
5 days-a-week = good
4 days-a-week = fair, but slower progress
3 days-a-week = poor
2 days-a-week = very poor
1 day-a-week = hardly worth it

By far the biggest hurdle in learning to play a musical instrument is mastering the will to practice. It's like running around the block to get fit, or watching what we eat to lose weight – it's a daily thing, and hard to do consistently until one gets into the habit.

Take a positive approach – instead of saying to yourself, "I have to do my practice" (which sounds like work), say, "I am going to play my guitar" (which sounds like fun). Leave your guitar out of its case (in a safe spot, away from the sun) so that it's not out-of-sight, out-of-mind. You will pick it up more often than if it's in its case. Who cares if the instrument gets a slight scratch – do you want to become a guitarist, or the owner of a mint condition guitar? Play it, play it, play it – wear it out and have it repaired or buy a new one – the world is full of guitars and there is always one out there with your name on it.

"Children need to be 'encouraged' to practice every day. I have found that quite a lot of parents think that their child will do their practice without being asked – a rare exception to the rule. Children simply do not have the discipline to practice every day, and it's an unrealistic expectation that parents need to be aware of from the outset. In my experience, the children (and teenagers) who do best are the ones who are lucky enough to have parents who are consistently firm about practice.

I tried a number of different approaches with my boys (young men now) – but in the end, when they wouldn't co-operate, I simply removed their computer keyboards while they were at school and didn't give them back until practice was done. They didn't like it, but it worked – and their guitar-playing progressed in leaps and bounds! Practice MUST be done if students want to play well. It's a lesson that can also have a far-reaching effect in other aspects of their lives. 

As Tommy Emmanuel says, 'There are no short-cuts, there is no other way'.

Golden Rule: "No TV, computers or screens of any kind unless guitar-practice has been done. It works... try it" – Nigel Foote