Monday, September 26, 2005

Why Play Guitar?

By: George Nellas

As a full-time guitar instructor, I am constantly faced with
people in all walks of life who, for all different kinds of
reasons, believe that playing the guitar will add something to
their lives. Most people that are just starting the guitar for
the first time are young (pre-university) although certainly not
all. One of my favorite students last year was a 65-year-old
retiree who wanted to learn enough to be able to start a bar
band with his friends.

There is no "one" reason to play the guitar. This instrument can
bring joy to everyone regardless of their primary motivations
for taking it up. There's no such thing as being too old or too
musically inexperienced for the guitar either. Neither the
Beatles or Jimi Hendrix could read music, and I think most would
agree that they did all right without it.

Many guitarists will ask me, after their first lesson, how long
it will take them to become good at the guitar. I've never been
able to answer this question. No one can. Your success or
failure in playing the guitar depends completely on the effort
that you put into it. One of my favorite stories is about Eddie
Van Halen: he would come home after school and pick up his
guitar. He would sit at the edge of his bed and play until he
had to go to sleep. Not once, not every once and a while: every
day. Of course, most of us don't have the luxury of this much
time to practice, but this story helps to illustrate that
success isn't completely dependant on some inborn talent, but on
hard work. There's no easy way into it. Please, whatever you do,
don't take up the guitar if you are only going to practice the
last hour before your lesson. You'll just annoy me and you'll
never get any better.

Remember, if you go to an instructor or you take lessons online
or from a book, what you learn is, for the most part, up to you.
You're the one hiring the teacher and, although you're putting
yourself under their direction, it's your responsibility to
inform them as to where you want to go. Find a teacher who will
help you succeed in the style of music that you want to go into.

So, why play the guitar? There isn't a day that I don't wake up
and am glad that music is such a big part of my life. Music has
brought me more happiness than almost anything else. When you
accomplish something, the sense of success becomes real, whether
you've recorded your first song, or finally learned to play all
the chords to "Smoke on the Water". Playing music, like any
other art form or skill, greatly enriches those who study it.

About the author:You can learn more about playing guitar at You can find here lots of information for players from beginner toadvanced, as well as tips about and links to online guitarlessons and other great player's resources!

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