I know a lot of technophiles that are into music so I’d like to share what I’ve learned during my guitar-playing journey. When I first started learning guitar I picked up an intro to guitar book and they had me playing sheet music right away. Rarely, did it sound anything like music and I gave up after a month or so. I was fortunate enough to find a teacher a few years later and the roadmap he gave me was invaluable when it comes to making music on the guitar – and it was so simple!
1) Find a 3-chord song from a list like this.
2) Take those 3 chords (ex. A, G, D) and figure out where to put your fingers on each chord. Practice switching between those 3 chords quickly.
3) Figure out the strumming pattern (ex. Down Down Up Down Up Down) and ONLY practice that until it becomes automatic.
4) You now have the ingredients to play a song! Practice putting the strumming and chords together.
5) Use your voice and sing, it’s one of the most powerful tools you have.
6) Play for at least an hour every day and develop a schedule. (10 minutes of warm-up exercises, 40 minutes playing music, 10 minutes of learning something new).
You can master a 3-chord song within a month if you practice for at least an hour every day. Make sure the song is playing in the background while you’re practicing to ensure your rhythm is in sync. If you don’t have a guitar yet, I would start by buying a guitar that’s meant for learning. FretLight has an amazing product that I’m still thinking about buying. To keep your interest, consider buying the game ‘Rocksmith’ – you can plug your guitar into the computer, PS4, Xbox and it will show you exactly which notes to play. If you’re playing on PC, check out CustomsForge. There’s a massive community that creates files that you can import so you don’t have to pay for each song. Another great idea is to record yourself once you’re barely capable of playing a song. Record a few songs every month, this will give you something to gauge how much you’re improving from month to month. I am definitely not the most musically talented, and never thought I’d be able to play music. But after a few months of practice, I was singing and playing the guitar after someone pushed me out of my comfort zone. Consider finding a teacher, but if they’re bombarding you with technicalities and you’re not having fun then quickly find another.