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Great Expectations

After 30 plus years of playing the guitar, a full third of that time in a professional capacity, a decade of on-again/off-again teaching, and finally, as a full time professional guitar instructor, I’ve come to the conclusion that virtually anyone can learn to play the guitar, even those with severe disabilities.

[excerpted from Chad Phillips’ upcoming book, Guitar Therapy]

After 30 plus years of playing the guitar, a full third of that time in a professional capacity, a decade of on-again/off-again teaching, and finally, as a full time professional guitar instructor, I’ve come to the conclusion that virtually anyone can learn to play the guitar, even those with severe disabilities. That’s good news if you’re considering picking up the instrument. The problem is that while many begin trying to learn, very few actually stay with it.

For every 10 people who inquire about lessons with me, approximately half will actually sign up for a course of instruction. Out of those five, 1-2 will be serious long term students. When you consider how many people I talk to in a year’s time about lessons, that’s a lot of people who either don’t sign up at all, or sign up, but simply wash out of the program. It’s the latter group I want to focus on here. The problem begs the question. If virtually anyone can learn to play the guitar, why do so many fail, and fail miserably? The simple answer is determination. The main ingredient for success with the guitar is essentially an intense desire. Success in this context means becoming proficient with the instrument and it takes willpower to get the job done. But most beginners don’t have the will to succeed with the instrument. When you couple that lack of will with unrealistic expectations, you get students who invariably give up and quit the program.

 


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