The Missing Ingredients in Learning Guitar

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Forgotten Elements That Can Improve Playing the Guitar

Whether you have just begun as a guitarist or are an advanced player, you may find yourself in a lull in your training and playing. This can happen for a number of reasons. Anything from fatigue and boredom to simply not “feeling it” while practicing or playing. Maybe you have simply found yourself at a point where you feel you cannot progress any more and feel you are stuck in a rut.

You are not alone. Virtually every student and practicing musician experiences this from time to time. Indeed, bands have often broken up or replaced members over these very issues. For this article, however, we are going to concentrate on your training and playing, and not on band dynamics.

There are many different ways you can challenge and inspire yourself to greater playing. This article contains but a couple of these methods. While these methods may seem overly simplistic, it is often because they are so easy that they are overlooked. Keep an open mind as you look over these methods.


There are two aspects to “teachability.” How teachable are you? What is your willingness to change? In other words, how open-minded are you to new genres or new methods of playing? Have you learned playing habits that it would help to unlearn? How willing are you to unlearn?

Here is another question to ponder: If becoming a great guitar player is a primary goal in your life, what are you willing to give up to make it? Does it mean watching less TV? Spending less time with friends? Giving up Facebook for a while? Please understand that there are no right or wrong answers here; it’s your life. But an honest self-assessment may open doors that you had shut on yourself.

Creative Visualization

If you find yourself in a rut during learning or playing, some visualization may prove effective. Here is an example: Let’s say you have been struggling to learn a musical passage that is very difficult. Close your eyes, take a couple deep breaths, and picture in your mind’s eye performing the passage with ease. If this makes you feel better, you are further along in your path to mastering it. If not, that’s okay too. Just continue to practice, visualize, and be patient.

Here is another example for inspiration: Picture yourself playing for a sold-out crowd who came just to see you. It could be a large stadium, a Las Vegas casino, or your favorite coffee shop or bar; whatever venue makes you happy is fine. Take time to imagine the sights, sounds, and smells of the venue. Now picture yourself getting on stage and playing with grace and style. Picture the smiling faces and the applause. You take your bow and give them an encore.

These kinds of visualizations can be used in your family, work, and social life, as well. It is a valuable and often-overlooked tool for success.

By using these and other methods, you can expand your creativity and get out of your rut.

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