The roots of knowledge are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.
Aristotle

Why the guitar?

What does your guitar represent to you? What about music? Why are you trying to learn to play? These are all very important questions. If your answer is something like “in order to be popular”, “because of the money” or similar, you probably won’t get very far. On the other hand, if your answer is “because I enjoy listening to music” or “because I love playing the guitar”, then you are on the right road.

You should try to create the special kind of relationship with your guitar. The guitar is not just an object; neither is it just an item. It is an element which complements you. It’s a getaway. It’s a playground. It’s a muse. It is a tool which allows you to express yourself. Victor Hugo once said: “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent”.

The guitar or the TV

Why is it easier to spend an evening watching TV then practicing the guitar? Well, because the second option requires effort. If that is so, why don’t we just give up the effort? Why bother with practicing? The answer is very short - because of the accomplishment. We don’t feel fulfillment after watching a movie but we do after learning a new scale. It is harder but it is sweeter. Brian Tracy said: “Good habits are hard to form but easy to live with; bad habits are easy to form but hard to live with” - completely true.

Flow

After practicing for a while you will be able to experience the flow experience. What is the flow experience? It is that state of yours during which you are completely focused on your activity. You forget the time, and everything around you (sometimes you even forget to eat!). There is a complete absorption in the activity. People who have flow experience every day are much happier and live longer than those who don’t. Csíkszentmihály (the creator of the flow concept) has put it this way: “It is impossible to enjoy a tennis game, a book, or a conversation unless attention is fully concentrated on the activity”.

Discipline

In order to achieve this level, you have to develop the discipline. Discipline means to encourage yourself to do something that you don’t feel like doing, because you know the importance of it. It is not enough to force yourself to practice without actually focusing your attention on your playing (without it, you are just wasting your time). Discipline is the crucial point here because it determines how you practice. When you develop discipline your focus will be on your playing, and that is all that really matters.

Message Takeaway

Remember, don’t rush it. Be involved in your playing and enjoy it. That is all you have to do. Everything else will come by itself.

If you can’t play what you hear, hear what you play.
Zen Guitar