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Guitar Lessons


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

Think of your practise like this:
7 days-a-week = excellent
6 days-a-week = very good
5 days-a-week = good
4 days-a-week = slower progress
3 days-a-week = poor
2 days-a-week = hardly worth it
1 day-a-week = you don't really want to play guitar

By far the biggest hurdle in learning to play a musical instrument is mastering the will to practise. 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 practise" (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) 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 strings don't last as long, or 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 practise without being asked – a rare exception to the rule. Children simply do not have the discipline to practise 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 practise.

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 practise was done. They didn't like it, but it worked – and their guitar-playing progressed in leaps and bounds! Practise 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-practise has been done. It works... try it" – Nigel Foote