This guitar practice tip may be one of the most important to keep in mind when learning the instrument(or anything new). Unfortunately, for some it might be one of the hardest pieces of advice to truly grasp and put in your tool box.
Recently, I’ve been reading about how adults learn vs. how children learn, not just guitar, but, in other areas like language, as well. As is often suggested, do kids really have a larger capacity to learn than adults? Looking back upon my most successful students over the years they all have had one thing….
As previously mentioned, it is often said that kids learn things so much easier. Brain science and genetics aside this may not be a true statement. In my experience teaching both adults and kids it has a lot to do with learning style.
Adults have learned how to learn already. We learn how to study, play sports and drive for success. There are as many strategies for tackling new things as there are people trying new things.
Kids are more pliable in their learning styles. More willing to take to heart what teachers suggest. Without as much life experience, they are more open to just purely DOING something new and seeing what happens.
By the time we are adults we have developed certain preconceived notions how to learn things. An athlete may learn by taking new experiences head on with brute force and strength. An engineer may face things analytically, breaking down problems, systematically and logically solving the unknown.
How we were brought up determines how we learn, as well…good ol’ nature vs. nurture.
Athletes pound it out, music ain’t like that…
Salesmen don’t take no for an answer, music ain’t like that…
Students work extremely hard studying to do well on tests, music ain’t like that…
Where am I going with all this? Teaching thousands of students from 4 year olds to elderly and all ages in between over the past 20 years one thing stands out.
To go Yoda on you, …”Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.”
Yeah it is kind of ‘use the force’ when learning music.
-You may need to check your learning and drive for success styles at the door when trying an instrument. (Although they may help some they may ultimately hinder you, as well)
-You need to be open to exposing yourself a bit by dropping your pre-conceived notions for success in other fields.
…So what is the one thing my most successful students possessed?
They had an adaptable approach…They knew when to push hard and when to let off the gas. When to listen and when to attack. On and on…
In essence they had a flexible approach rather than a rigid pre-learned approach to learning and achieving musical success.
Bottom line approach the guitar with an open mind!
Be willing to learn in a different way than you’ve previously had success in other areas of life, when needed.
Above all, at all levels of your journey enjoy playing!!