PHIL KEAGGY - Grammy nominated and seven-time Dove Award winner, is one of the world’s great guitar players and a pioneer in contemporary Christian music.
- February 3, 2017
- Guitar 101
Anything in life worth pursuing takes time and determination. “Nothing comes easy,” they say. It’s true, some people are more gifted than others for certain things. Michael Jordan might not play guitar, but he can sure play basketball. If you’re 5’ 8’’ and dream of playing in the NBA, it’s a long shot, but that doesn’t mean you can’t play basketball. You may be asking yourself “Why should I learn to play guitar?” Playing guitar has so many rewarding aspects. The coordination it takes really develops your motor skills. The pleasure of playing a song through correctly makes you feel like you’ve really accomplished something, especially when others are applauding. The ability to express yourself is a plus too. Let’s look at the many reasons why you should learn to play guitar.
The Joy Of Making Music
Whether you are playing alone or with someone else, there’s just something about playing your guitar and enjoying the soothing atmosphere. “Soothing, you say?” Yes, after many hours of working out the bad notes, squeaks, and dead strings, you finally find that first time you play “Dust In The Wind” all the way through without a single flub. You smile and, since there’s no one there to see it, you applaud yourself.
Don’t ever confuse confidence with conceit. It may seem odd to put a statement like that in this early, but you did it, you deserve the applause. Making music is great for your self- esteem. Why should you learn to play guitar? It’s great for your self-confidence. Go ahead, text your buds and tell them you nailed it.
The Best Tool In The Shed
If you dream of writing songs and being an artist, you need to play an instrument. Now, there’s no rule that says you have to, but if you’re a singer and lyricist, you may feel handicapped when it comes to contributing as a songwriter. You have melodies and words, but if you can’t play a little bit, you have to find someone you trust and like to co-write with to put the music to your songs.
One reason you should learn to play guitar is it’s a very portable instrument you can whip out and start creating with musically. Just knowing a few basic chords can help you get that song written. No one says you have to be a guitar virtuoso to write great songs. In fact, many songwriters aren’t. It’s awesome if you can play like James Taylor and write songs like him, but don’t worry if that’s not your level of skill. Just enjoy the experience and write a better song each time.
The Mental and Physical Gain
Playing guitar is great therapy. You may get so mad you wanna cuss, but after you press through and perform that song or musical piece perfectly, you get the most wonderful sense of satisfaction. It takes mental toughness to play guitar. You must think both ahead and in the moment at the same time. Even the past few seconds are in your thoughts. Have I played the first chorus yet? Is this the bridge coming up? Am I at the turnaround? All of these things are spinning in your head as you perform the song. Meanwhile, your hands, finger muscles and tendons are getting a good workout. That’s the half of the battle you know.
Your first 50 times are sloppy because you haven’t built up the muscles to pull it off. Then the 51st time, you suddenly nail it. Are we exaggerating? Not really. When you’ve played the piece until you aren’t thinking at all, that’s when it suddenly happens. You should play guitar to improve your mental health and your hands’ physical endurance.
“To Get The Girls,” you say?
Hm, ok, let’s go there. Or maybe you’re a gal and wanna get the boys? Either way, in the grand scheme of rock and roll, there might be some attraction to the stage that lures you. Playing guitar in a band or even as a solo artist might attract groupies that are easily impressed. If you’ll watch old episodes of “Where Are They Now,” though, you’ll discover that all of these rockstars have some regrets when it comes to “the good life.” There’s nothing wrong with wanting a little fame, but remember to keep everything in perspective.
Hopefully you will attract the right kind of people, both musically and personally. A musician’s life isn’t for everyone. If getting the girl is really your reason, it’s likely you’ll endure some disappointments on the journey. You should play guitar because it’s your passion. Let the rest just happen organically. Play guitar because you love music and feel that sense of satisfaction.
You Were Born to Learn to Play Guitar
If learning guitar is very difficult for you, don’t sweat it. You may be better at accounting or some other 9 to 5 skill set. Everyone learns at a different pace and using different methods. You’re not a failure just because the first month or two is grueling. People who really love the music will stick it out.
For the people that have a natural inclination for music and guitar comes easy for you, count your blessings and give it all you've got. There are so many musicians who could have been great and missed their moment for any number of reasons. Don’t be one of those kids who wastes their lives on mindless entertainment only to wake up in their thirties and wonder what happened.
It’s true that you can learn to play guitar at just about any age, but making a living from it is a narrower window. Being a successful music artist isn’t as likely after you leave your 20’s. You can miss your calling and end up a wannabe or has-been if you’re not careful. If this has happened to you, it’s not over. You just have to realize the season you’re in and make the most of it. Play guitar because it’s who you are.
There are plenty of other reasons why you should learn to play guitar. A simple one is that it’s cool. To play a song you like or write something that expresses your heart and then perform it for your friends and others. How rewarding is that? Just get started, buy a guitar, and get some instruction. You’ll figure out in a couple months if it’s for you. Not everyone is meant to play an instrument, but anyone can with a little determination and some hard work. Find someone a little better than you at guitar and ask them if you can play some tunes together. It’ll make you grow a little more each session. “Iron sharpens iron,” they say. Just playing guitar with someone else will help you stay in time and get better.
If you’re thinking about starting to learn guitar or you’ve been playing for a while now, it’s important to find ways to challenge yourself. One of the best things you can do to improve your playing is to take guitar lessons. For some people, online guitar lessons are the easiest and cheapest solution. At Pro Lessons, we offer affordable plans taught by professional musicians who earn their money on the road. Find out how you can enroll by clicking on the link below.