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From beginners to highly advanced players, guitarists always strive to play better and get better results as fast as possible. In reality, the majority of players tend to experience slow and inconsistent growth on their instrument no matter how much time they spend. Those who fail to achieve this level of progress generally do not have a solid practice plan and aren’t organised enough. The biggest factor holding them
back is their mindset, more specifically, their state of mind when playing or practicing.
If you fall into this category, the way to get out if it is to retrain your brain in a way that allows for more focused and efficient learning.
Be Aware of The State of Mind That You Are In
The first thing you need to do is to think back to any time where learning something new felt easy. It could be something physical on the instrument or even a theoretical idea or concept. Tune in to that state of mind you were in where everything just clicked more easily, information was easily absorbed and creativity just started flowing. It could be anything from playing a chord progression, switching between certain chords, a scale shape or sequence, a specific guitar technique, how you were improvising or any new piece of information presented to you at the time.
What was your state of mind during that time? Chances are that you were in a high and positive state of mind which allowed for the creativity in you to start flowing and for you to absorb information better. Try to identify what it was that put you in that state. Understand that the state of mind you’re in has a huge influence on efficiency of your learning and practice. When you are in the right state of mind, information is absorbed more quickly and creativity just flows.
Shape Your Thinking to Get You in The Right State of Mind
In the opposite way, being in a low and negative state of mind can have the reverse effect on your learning and practice. It is not always easy to maintain a high state of mind all the time. Everyday occurrences such work and family issues can put you in a negative state. Even being unwell or injured can affect your mental state. Such events are perfectly normal and expected. However, it is crucial that you recognise the impact it has on your mental state and consequently, your learning and practice. It might even be a good idea to not pick up the instrument at all when you are in this state. You risk being frustrated, impatient, easily distracted and not 100% focused. Guitar playing should be a fun experience and time off is sometimes a good thing.
A good way to counter this though is to consciously put yourself in the right state of mind before playing. For instance, find inspiration by watching a live performance of your favorite band or player. For some people it could be exercise, cooking or watching some comedy. Really anything that lifts you up is a good idea.
Another part of this is to have realistic expectations and goals. Make sure what you intend to achieve and the timeframe you set for yourself is realistic and attainable. If you aren’t sure, ask your guitar teacher. Having realistic goals gives you smaller but more frequent successes. If your goal is too unrealistic and not achievable at your current skill level, simply attempting it is going to unmotivate you and put you in a negative state of mind.
If you make a conscious effort to do this consistently each time you pick up the guitar, you will always be in the right state of mind whenever you play and not only will you have a better experience learning and practicing, but you will also see quicker and better results.
Learning to play guitar on your own can be frustrating and challenging, especially if you don’t know what to do. Having a great teacher makes the whole process more fun, enjoyable and gets you real results fast.