Seems like not that long ago I was lugging my acoustic guitar from my friend's house eager to learn how to play with my new toy and stopping off at the local music store to pick up a guitar book. Now ten years later the thought of going to a music shop to buy a guitar book seems almost unheard of since the widespread of the internet changing the way we research information. My last guitar video, which was admittedly on VHS, now seems so outdated and obsolete compared to the online guitar videos available (some for free).
Many young people are more likely to learn how to play the guitar on their own, with some opting to seek out a private tutor if they are able to afford the cost. However, these days guitar videos are downloadable off the internet, or are available in DVD format that are a good cost effective way for people who pick things up better when they can see how to use a certain technique rather than reading from a book.
If like me, you are not familiar with listening to a song then going to play it on your guitar, then the best option is not to second guess but to grab as many guitar videos as you can to pick up how to play your favourite tunes. Tutors and expert guitarists will claim that the best way of learning how to play the guitar is by learning to play your favourite tunes and then picking up on the strumming or picking techniques to improve playing upon playing the tune.
The one thing that a person should remember is that when they begin to play the guitar they will be very rigid and tense in the fingers and arm. This is normal, as you may or may not have picked up a guitar like this before. It is a new thing to pick up and like most new things it requires a lot of focus and thinking. Try not beat yourself up if you feel frustrated and impatient over perfecting a tune you want to play, it is only natural for a beginner to play a song wrong and go over it as many times as they can to get it spot on. The whole point of learning to play the guitar is to know how to play but also enjoy the process. What could be enjoyable than playing your favourite tunes?
Eventually you will learn to relax and play smoothly. The mistakes are a good way of knowing how to correct yourself and getting to know the right way of playing. Learning from guitar videos will give a clear visual perspective on how to get your strumming, plucking and fretting action right. One thing you will expect from any video lesson is that you will need to go over the same technique or piece over and again. As mentioned before, this is something you will have to accept if you want to be able to attain professional level.
Now that you have grasped the importance of practising and repetition, the next thing to do is to work on a realistic goal. Spend some time perfecting a song that you like, playing it with ease and feeling relaxed when playing it, before setting a date to play in front friends or people who are experienced guitarists. This way you will receive good quality feedback you need to get better as you continue to play and gain the confidence in playing the guitar. Giving yourself a goal like this will in fact motivate you more to carry on playing and keep you on your toes when practising.
It is a good idea to eventually think about playing with others, or playing along to some guitar backing tracks. This will help you grasp the concept of playing to a rhythm and also become familiar with musical notes (leading to you picking up tunes by ear).
Anna Stenning knows a lot of people who use guitar videos to learn to play and pick up new tunes.