1. Your Teacher Was a Student Once Too
Never forget that your teacher, no matter how great he sounds now in your lesson, once sucked at guitar too. He understands you because he has walked the path you are walking now. Consequently, your teacher is sure to have made many mistakes of his or her own because he/she is just as human as anybody else. Knowing that your teacher has been in the exact same chair you are in is extremely comforting. Your teachers didn’t become master musicians over night and you definitely won’t either… that’s okay! There are no shortcuts on the musical journey. Great guitarists aren’t born: they’re grown! So take your time and know that your teacher isn’t there to judge you: he’s there to help you!
2. Don’t be Afraid to Make Mistakes
You will play better in your lessons if you are calm, focused and in the moment. There is really no reason to be nervous. One way to control your nerves is to focus on your breathing. Pump lots of oxygen to your brain, and keep reminding yourself that you are in a lesson to mess up a lot and to learn from your mistakes. Even professional guitarists who play regular gigs, occasionally slip! The difference is that the professional guitarist can better cover it up, and he does not make a big deal out of his mistakes. They are not that important. When you make a mistake in front of an audience, and you just let it pass without reacting to it, most people forget that it happened instantly. If however you dwell on a mistake you made, or add a visual picture to it by adding an angry or disappointed facial expression, now your audience definitely knows you messed up and they will remember. Don’t let your mistakes hold you back: use them as learning opportunities!
3. You Aren’t Being Judged
The point of having a professional guitar instructor is to improve your musical knowledge and skills. The last thing any guitar teacher has on his agenda is judging you or thinking you play poorly. He already knows you will do badly, because his job is making sure that you do badly. A great guitar coach’s number one priority is making sure to give you things you can’t do, so he can guide you to being able to pull it off a little later. His whole focus is on helping you get better. The only thing he sees is your potential. As a result: he is not thinking anything negative about you, or about your intelligence, or your abilities, because there is no time for that, there is no point in that, and that is not what he is paid for. The only person a great teacher judges for you not progressing well: is himself.
4. No Need to Prove Anything
Your teacher knows that you play and sound much better outside of your guitar lesson than during your guitar lesson. He knows that for a fact, because exactly the same happened to him when he was a guitar student. You usually can do much better and know much more, than you can show in your lesson. That is fine. Your lessons are not a place where you need to prove anything to your teacher. Your lesson time is much better spent ironing out the weaknesses and issues in your playing and in your understanding, than on all the great things you can already play. 90% or more of a lesson should consist of working on areas you have difficulty with: while 10% or less is spent playing what comes easily to you.
5. World Famous Guitarists Make Mistakes Too.
All the top-class guitarists that you admire make mistakes too. We’re all humans. What guitar performance boils down to is an attitude of humility, knowing that you will always have room for improvement in your musicianship, no matter how great your playing gets. Becoming a great musician is a never-ending journey. Everything can always improve and you will never run out of things to learn about guitar and music. Even when you reach an amazing level, you will still have off days where nothing seems to work or come out right. Keeping this in mind certainly puts things in the right perspective. Considering that nervousness often is the result of unrealistic expectations, unrealistic viewpoints, and unfounded belief or thought systems, it’s not too hard to see how you benefit from seeing things in the right perspective. It helps you being more present and more in control of your nerves and your whole being.
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Do you want to learn how to play the guitar or improve your guitar playing? Are you a beginner, intermediate or advanced guitar player that is looking to improve your technique, knowledge or musicianship?