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Playing a Musical Intrument

Playing a Musical Instrument

I had a friend who decided he wanted to play the guitar.  Being an experienced guitar player I recommended he take lessons and practice the basics so that he can learn the fundamentals of guitar, and then work on developing his own style and technique.  He felt that he could be more creative if he skipped the formal education part and jumped right in to developing his own style.  

The problem with this process, is that you never truly understand the underlying aspects of playing a music instrument and will struggle to improve.  His argument was that a formal education will only teach you a rigid process and will not have room for creativity.  I explained that once the fundamentals are learned, then you can focus on being creative because you will understand the guitar more thoroughly.  

The first step to learning the play the guitar is to develop a solid foundation.  Lessons can help if you do not have knowledge in music theory.  This is important because you want to make sure that as you develop a system to achieve your goal of being able play the guitar.

Once you understand the basics and what you hope to acquire, then set up a schedule.  Make sure that you are working on developing your craft daily for a set amount of time.  Practicing for 20 minutes every day is better than practicing once per week for 4 hours.  Regular practice is key.

As you start to gain a better understanding of guitar and develop the muscle memory in your fingers, you will want to improve on the system that you are using.  Add in additional exercises and change up your routine.  Make sure to focus on maintaining the schedule because the hardest thing to do it to stick with it long enough to become skilled at playing the instrument.

Over time it will be less mundane and your muscle memory will become more advanced.  You will be able to move away from repetitive aspects of practice and move to more creative aspects.  This is where the process becomes creative.  

Now you are armed with the knowledge to focus less on what your fingers are doing, and more on how to express yourself creatively.  There is no shortcut.  In order to get to this step you will need to have developed the basics which can only be done by systematically going through the process of learning how to play the instrument.