Myth 1 – You either ‘got it’ or you ain’t!
Fact – This is a very common ‘old wives’ tale were people believe that some people are truly gifted and have been touched by some ‘divine ray’… if fact, it simply comes down to those people who know how to learn ‘get it’ and those who don’t know how to learn can’t play.
Without exception, every single ‘player’ that I have ever met was someone who had the ability to work harder than anyone else!
Myth 2 – You have to spend hours on repetitive practice to teach your fingers how to play.
Fact – There’s two types of practice: Data memory practice where the guitarist focuses on ‘long term’ memory, with this type of practice the player works in very short time frames 2 – 5 mins; in fact long practice sessions actually produce negative results.
The other type of practice session is motor skills training – in this type of session the musician plays material that they have previously learned in their data memory sessions – motor skill practice sessions are usually 20 – 30 min sessions.
Myth 3 – You have to play really fast, to be really good.
Fact – Playing fast has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with music (it does however have everything to do with showing off).
Music is a language… it’s NOT how fast a person can speak or type, it’s the content of their message that’s important, it’s their communication skills… that’s how human beings connect; music is not a sporting event.
The “he who can play fastest stuff” is for robots!!!
Myth 4 – You have to practice scales over and over to be able to play lead guitar.
Fact – Nothing could be further from the truth… scales are nothing more than a musical alphabet, reciting your alphabet as fast as possible (no matter how fast and impressive) will NEVER communicate anything!
Scales can ‘free your fingers’ and ‘freeze your brain’! Mindlessly practice scales creates a musical bind “were the guitarist plays what they hear and ‘hear’ what they play; and if all they ever hear is scales all they ever play is scales.
Jazz guitarist Barney Kessel said it well… “Playing scales is like a boxer skipping rope or punching a bag. It’s not the thing in itself; it’s preparatory to the activity.”
Myth 5 – You have to be in your teens or twenties to really learn how to play guitar.
Fact – Whilst younger guitar students often have less commitments such as raising a family or full time employment and generally have more free time to practice they generally lack focus and much of their time and energies are wasted with “Google” Guitar Lessons.
Adult students, typically have more patience; progress may be slower, but the “quality” and long term memory retention of material is much better.
Think: Tortoise and the hare scenario.