One thing that affects motivation to practice the guitar daily is your expectations from the work you put in to achieve your guitar goals. Having unrealistic expectations can affect how you approach and progress on the instrument.
Let’s assume you are a beginner guitarist. You have to memorise the chords and deal with the transitions between them. On top of that, you also need to learn strumming, which can add to the overall weight you need to put in to achieve your guitar goals. There is so much to learn and so many things that can go wrong and frustrate you and, as a result, influence your motivation to practise the guitar.
You put a lot of work into getting through all of these obstacles. In return, you expect smoother chord changes, effortless strumming abilities, being fast with scales or being a better guitarist than you were yesterday. But where do these expectations come from? Why do you feel you can achieve certain things in a certain amount of time? Do you have enough experience to estimate your time frame to achieve your guitar goals?
I have noticed that most beginner guitarists have slightly unrealistic expectations. They say something like: ‘I should be able to do this’ or ‘I should be better by now’ and ‘ I should be able to play this song at full speed’. Many of these statements stretch the truth and may affect your motivation to practice and achieve your guitar goals.
A beginner guitarist will often estimate that after investing a particular amount of time into practising something, they should be capable of mastering it. But how do you know the realistic time frame to achieve your guitar goals?
Realistic Expectations To Achieve Your Guitar Goals
Let’s take barre chords as an example – specifically the F chord. It is ‘comfortably’ 🙂 located at the beginning of the fretboard, making it a tough one to get a clean sound from. It requires strength and proper technique to get it right ((by the way, this is something you can learn from my barre chords module, which is a part of the Online Guitar Lessons).
Building the strength in your hands takes time – the same is with the technical aspect of holding these types of chords. It may take a good few months to prepare your hands to play the F chord and six months or more to build a proper technique.
If, in the beginning, you estimated that learning the F chord would take you a day or two, you are already in trouble. After a few days, you may get frustrated with the lack of results, and as a result, your motivation level will go down because you haven’t been able to achieve your guitar goals. The funny thing is that there is nothing wrong with your progress, you just underestimated how quickly you will get better with this particular technique.
Setting expectations high to achieve your guitar goals might feel like the right thing to do, but realistic goals are much more important. I would aim for small victories because this will keep your motivation high and keep you returning daily with a positive attitude towards the guitar.
Example | How To Practice The F Chord To Achieve Your Guitar Goals
So if we continue with the F chord – the first goal might be to find the F chord on the neck. We aim to have your fingers in the correct positions without worrying about muted strings or how it sounds right now. You would practice it every day for 5 minutes for a week. As your hands get stronger, you will be able to get the sound from some of the strings – but that may take a few months, so don’t worry too much about it being perfect. Remember, you need to build strength in your hands, just like you would at the gym. It doesn’t happen overnight.
The next step would be to move the F chord up and down the neck to get used to the feel of the chord in different positions on the guitar and get a little bit different perspective. You could place this exercise between whatever else you are working on to achieve your guitar goals. For example, you can practice a particular strumming pattern, and then as a break, you would take the F shape and move it from the first fret to the second, third, and so on and then come back to your strumming. It’s a great refresher to help you achieve your guitar goals faster.
Over time you will start noticing minor improvements – for some of you, it might even take half a year, but that is ok. We are here to have fun and nurture our motivation to get good on the guitar.
The above example is a very simplistic explanation as the technical aspect of playing the F chord is not the main subject of this post. It serves us only as a quick example.
During my one-to-one lessons (Guitar Lessons In South West London), my students face this kind of problem all the time, and I find that everyone is different. Some students will progress faster with particular things, whereas others will struggle in the same area. Overall, if the student is dedicated, it doesn’t matter about the little hurdles; they eventually achieve their guitar goals.
Small Achievements Will Keep Your Motivation High To Achieve Your Guitar Goals
Small achievements will keep your motivation and passion for playing high. So to achieve your guitar goals, I would aim for small weekly improvements, such as:
How To Achieve Your Guitar Goals And Keep Your Motivation High?
So remember, focus on small bites of knowledge to improve those little things because they will accumulate and build on each other to help you achieve your guitar goals.
These little concepts will all stick and shape you into the guitarist you want to become, but… you have to remember it takes time, and we all progress at different rates. You can’t compare yourself to others. This is your passion, so focus on being content with what you have achieved and look forward to learning more.
Tell me, what is an unrealistic expectation you’ve had? Mine at the beginning was that I could play the F chord effortlessly after a few days of practising. So this is based on a true story!
Darius | Guitar Couch Lessons