Some of you clicked on this post thinking.. “dang nabit Shawn, them is fightin’ words”… Yes, they are. But please don’t open a can of wup ass on me 🙂
Now some of you clicked on this post saying…”Oh, no. Maybe I’m too old to learn how to play the guitar. I better read this and see”. And I know there are a good number of you with this feeling. And I have proof…
As I’ve been going over questions asked in a recent survey I did, and looking for some of the most common ones. Low and behold, the question of age soon became the clear front runner.
Another question in the survey asked their age. Some lied… or maybe I have some 2 and 3 year olds coming to the site. And there was one person who was 7,778 years old. Man, the stories that person could tell! But what I found was the question of “am I too old?” was asked by people ranging in age from 22 on up to 82.
So let’s get this straight. Age is rarely a factor in not being able to learn something new or become better at something you have been doing for awhile. We do sometimes resist change, preferring to stay in the well worn paths of our habits. But that is not an age factor.
For those of you who are more seasoned, there are sometimes factors with arthritis that make playing certain chords more difficult. In that case you just need to find different ways to get a similar result. Playing only part of a particular chord would be an example. If you do have a physical limitation, just work within its boundaries …and even stretch those boundaries a little.
I love stories of people who excel regardless of a “limitation”. Django Reinhardt was a great jazz guitar player who had 2 crippled fingers on his left hand. Check out this video and you will see that he didn’t really use his 3rd and 4th fingers other than in a very limited way.
Skip to 2:27 for the part where Django is playing….
If you have decided you would like to learn to play the guitar, or make an effort to improve your guitar playing, you need to go through a period of defying gravity. Think of the analogy a rocket being launched into space. The majority of fuel that is used is in lift off. That fuel is your willpower.
You are going to have to put in some consistent practice time to start making progress. That doesn’t mean hours per day. In fact if you would just make a commitment to practice 15 minutes every day as a starting point, you would help yourself establish a habit, and start making progress.
So you will have to make a lot of effort at first to help yourself establish some new habits. And that does mean “forcing” yourself to practice at first. I know some of you just want to have some fun, and forcing yourself to do something doesn’t sound like fun.
But if you can get yourself past the point of defying gravity, you will start making progress and improving and it will no longer require burning large amounts of willpower to practice and play on a regular basis.
There is a great quote from Henry Ford. “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right!”.
So think that you can learn to play, or improve your guitar playing, and you can.