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5 Tips for Beginner Guitar Players

5 Tips for Beginner Guitar Players

So, you’ve decided to learn how to play the guitar. That’s great! Aside from feeling cooler by being able to wow your friends and family with your new skills, there are many other benefits of playing the guitar, and some important tips to keep in mind when starting out.

Why learning to play the guitar is good for your mind, body and soul

1. It’s good for the brain

Studies have shown that learning how to play a musical instrument goes a long way in boosting your brain power. You won’t instantly become the smartest person in class, but playing an instrument will help to stimulate your brain. You’ll pay closer attention to detail and think faster.

2. Good for mental health

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Are you stressed or troubled? You can strum the pain or stress away by picking on your guitar. Listening to music is a great way to relax and reduce pain (both physical and emotional). Time spent on your guitar can help in healing your mind and body.

3. Builds resilience and dedication.

Do you have a passion for music and specifically guitars? Then learning to play can help you perfect your skills and practice your passion. Perfecting something gives you a sense of what it takes to do so, and you will take that to other areas of your life.

Many people set out to learn how to play the guitar but don’t realize their dream of becoming proficient guitarists. Some get frustrated along the way. Others find it difficult to progress and give up. Learning to play the guitar takes time and a lot of practice. It is important to make sure that you’re on the right path to ensure that your time and practice bear fruits.

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The following tips will help you avoid developing bad habits and make better progress in learning to play the guitar:

1. Invest in the Right Guitar for You

There are so many gadgets and options in the market today that it can be overwhelming for a beginner searching for the right guitar. Learning with the wrong guitar will make things difficult for you right from the start. A good place to begin is by determining which type of guitar you want to learn to play: an acoustic or an electric guitar?

The type of guitar you choose will depend on your musical preferences. If you prefer hard rock, you’ll probably be more interested in learning how to play the electric guitar.

Many people however, begin with the acoustic guitar. This is because many of the skills learned in playing acoustic guitars are transferrable to electric guitars. Acoustic guitars are also much cheaper and easily portable as they don’t need to be hooked up to an amplifier.

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Don’t go for an expensive professional guitar or the cheapest guitar when starting out. Try out several guitars in the store and read reviews on brands. Sales assistants can also help you in making your choice.

2. Get a Tuner

It’s important to ensure that your guitar is properly tuned every time you play it. This ensures that you can play songs in tune and correctly learn what different chords sound like. However, you may not know how to tune your guitar as a beginner. It is therefore advisable to invest in a guitar tuner. This will help you properly tune your guitar. When your ear has been trained over time, you can begin to tune your guitar without the tuner.

3. Keep it Simple

You can’t expect to play like Jimi Hendrix on day one or even within the first months of learning to play the guitar. You’ll have trouble attempting to play a complex song when starting out. In fact, you’ll make a lot more progress if you keep it simple in the beginning and learn the basics.

Learn about the guitar, its parts, care and maintenance. Learn how to properly hold the guitar when playing standing or seated. Learn about guitar chords, scales and harmonics. Learn how to read music.

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All these things may seem boring in the beginning, but they will be invaluable as you progress.

4. Consistent Practice is Key

You’ve probably heard that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to perfect a skill. The point is consistent and frequent practice is vital to improving your skills in guitar playing. Practice the skills you learn in lessons consistently.

Be careful however, to avoid burnout. Schedule an hour three or four times a week in addition to your lessons to practice. This will help you avoid overtraining and provide you with adequate time to practice.

5. Enjoy the Journey

The most important thing is to enjoy the journey. Enjoy playing the guitar no matter how bad you sound at the beginning. Don’t be stressed by the information and advice others give you. Play what you enjoy and try out new techniques and ideas. Have fun with it.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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