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Everybody's Still Free To...

Enjoy playing guitar.

Don’t live to practice, even if you know one chord or one simple melody, take pleasure in playing it. If you learn how to love your playing you will want to do it more and therefore play more.

Be realistic of how good you are. Record yourself playing and LISTEN. What you hear is the truth of your skill, not what others say, not what you think to be true when you are playing. What you hear when you listen back is the truth.

Don’t worry about how fast you are progressing with your learning and playing. There’s a lot to learn so never think that it’s a race to know it all. It’s whether you are enjoying the journey that matters the most.

The odd little mistake, unclean note, accidental open string or out of tune bend don’t really matter. Be aware of them but also be patient and these things will work themselves in time.

Try learning something new every day. Even if it’s just a new chord or lead guitar lick. A little bit of something new will help you to stay fresh with your playing and remind you that there’s a huge world of music out there that’s exciting and inspiring.

Don’t look down your nose at other players because they are less experienced and skilled as you. You were as good as them once upon a time. Similarly, don’t beat yourself up that you are not as good as player XYZ. There’s always time to learn more.

Keep your guitar in tune.

If someone pays you a compliment then recognise that someone was impressed with your playing and thank them. Don’t turn it aside and and think about much better you could have done. You made someone happy. That’s an important thing. Ignore insults, the person dishing these out probably has their own issues so feel sorry for them.

Keep your old recordings of you playing and revisit them when you are not feeling as good with your playing. They will help to show you how far you’ve come with your playing.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t have any particular goals or aspirations. Remember that enjoyment comes first and the rest will follow.

Never play guitar when you’ve just had a bath or shower or washed the pots. Your finger tip calluses will thank you.

Maybe you’ll join a band, maybe you’ll write songs, maybe you’ll become a YouTube sensation or maybe you’ll be none of those things and be content just learning and playing guitar by yourself. As long as you are happy then that’s all that matters.

Do consider joining a band though. Playing music live is the most fun that you can have with your cloths on.

Don’t worry about your ‘guitar face’. When you are making a face whilst playing it means that you are enjoying yourself too much to care.

Be careful of Youtube Guitar Teachers. Sometimes they will try to make you feel bad for not being able to do things that they can do to make quick cash.

Find a good teacher. Not just any teacher but a good teacher. Someone who has been there and knows what to do, and sometimes more importantly, what not to do. Some charge money for their services but some are just people you will meet who just want to help.

Keep your mind open to new music. If it sounds good then it is good. Don’t deny yourself the pleasure of listening to and learning from a genre of music that does not appeal to you straight away.

Older music is still new if you haven’t heard it before. New music is important too and will offer you new experiences that are as new and refreshing as the old tunes will.

Respect all forms of music. Even if you don’t like it then it doesn’t make it bad. Somewhere in the world this music is making someone happy, which is the whole point.

Change your strings regularly. Dirty old strings will only let you down.

Maybe the guitar you have cost a pittance. Maybe the guitar you had cost the same as a family’s annual food budget. It doesn’t matter. Love your instrument and be content that you can make even the simplest of things sound good on it. A good guitar will make you want to play it all day, regardless if whether it cost £100 or £100,000.

Remember, if you enjoy playing you have already succeeded.

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