Guitar - Lessons

5 Tips For Learning Guitar as an Adult

5 Tips For Learning Guitar as an Adult

Most people believe when they reach adulthood it can be too difficult to take on learning a new instrument, and that you should start those types of music lessons as a child.

But the truth is, you are never too old to teach yourself a new skill, and the guitar is no exception.

In fact, the guitar is one of the best beginner instruments to start with at any age – the only exception to this possibly being the piano as a first choice.

Learning the guitar as an adult can even have some advantages, as adults are more disciplined and have more of a willingness to learn and apply their education. Many guitar teachers will accept adult students, and if you’ve always been interested, there is no reason to wait any longer.

While taking guitar lessons, whether it is online or in the New York City area, there are some important things to keep in mind that will aid you along. These tips will help you to feel prepared in your new endeavor as a guitarist.

These 5 tips will help you learn guitar as an adult

  1. MAKE SURE TO HAVE YOUR OWN GUITAR TO USE FIRST
  2. BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF
  3. ORGANIZE AND SCHEDULE YOUR PRACTICE TIME AHEAD OF TIME
  4. KEEP YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE
  5. CHOOSE SONGS THAT SUIT YOUR LEARNING LEVEL

1. MAKE SURE TO HAVE YOUR OWN GUITAR TO USE FIRST

First and foremost, find a guitar you actually want to learn how to play.

In some cases, you may be interested in playing an acoustic guitar, or if you’re more interested in playing difficult riffs, you may want to learn chords with an electric guitar.

It’s important to find a guitar that will be easy for you to utilize and stay well in tune with. It may not be cheap to invest in one, but it will be worth it so that you can have your own instrument to learn off of that you will become well-adjusted to.

As an aside, once you purchase a guitar, a second investment that you can make is to buy a guitar tuner. This can help you to be sure while practicing and before your lessons that your guitar is in tune and ready to play.

2. BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF

This is going to be one of the hardest hurdles for adult beginners, but try to be patient with yourself.

You will be developing new muscles, learning new skills, and working to find extra practice time to help move along in your guitar playing.

It takes time to adjust to the learning process. It is important to exercise patience and try to be understanding that to become a good guitarist, it will likely take many years of learning techniques, trying chords, and enrolling in lessons.

Another aspect that can be difficult to grasp is basic music theory. This is another essential piece to learning guitar that can be difficult to pick up, but it is a part of playing properly, so be sure to embrace it.

Music theory is oftentimes a relief for instructors to teach adults rather than young children, as adults are more likely to understand the concepts and apply them.

3. ORGANIZE AND SCHEDULE YOUR PRACTICE TIME AHEAD OF TIME

This is very important when learning beginner guitar. Because it takes years to solidify and develop your progressions from basic chords to barre chords, having a place and enough time to be able to practice is essential.

Do not count on the time within your music lessons as enough for your learning. There are things you’ll learn that will only get better the more that you are able to practice them, such as strumming, open chords, progressions, patterns, and muscle memory.

Be honest about your free time and how much of it you can actually dedicate as a guitar student. If you want to be sure you make progress with learning guitar, this is a very important step to take.

4. KEEP YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE

Once you have organized the time and scheduled your practices, make sure you stick to it. It can be all too easy to be distracted by things going on around you, especially as adults because we have husbands/wives, kids, etc. that always seem to take our attention away from the task at hand. Prioritize perfecting your ability, so that you can see your successes.

Be sure you are doing your best to stay on task so that you can improve your skills as you go along. That doesn’t mean that you can’t adjust when things come up. You don’t want to be hard on yourself if you missed a practice time you had scheduled. Once in a while – that’s ok. Just don’t make a habit of it, instead try for the habit to be the same time every day is dedicated to your guitar learning, even if it’s only a 20-minute timeframe.

5. CHOOSE SONGS THAT SUIT YOUR LEARNING LEVEL

This part of the process can be easier for adults than younger children. As an adult, you have a better sense of yourself and you will know what kind of songs you’ll want to learn to play.

Try to be aware of the difficulty level of the songs you’re interested in. Look up some easy-to-play beginner guitar pieces that you would be willing to try before jumping into the likes of more advanced songs.

You can also trust your guitar teacher and lean on him or her for recommendations of what music to play if you’re not exactly sure where to start.

This is part of what taking your music lessons will be for, so utilize your instructor as a resource. If they insist that your favorite song will be difficult to learn, they will also be able to suggest some easier alternatives to consider trying first.


While you’ll want to hold yourself accountable, exercise patience, and make sure to put in practice time as much as possible, make sure to also give yourself some grace as you go.

It is all too easy to get frustrated with your lack of the right strumming pattern or be bothered by an unexpected need to skip a guitar practice, but it’s okay to “fail” a bit the first time you try an instrument out.

Don’t get too discouraged and try to stay positive. Have fun with your learning, and if it gets to the point where it’s not any more fun, then give yourself a break before picking up your instrument again. Soon you’ll be well on your way to becoming a natural guitar player. Good luck!

 

Vincent Reina
Vincent Reina
Vincent received a Bachelor of Music Degree in Piano Performance from Purchase Conservatory, earned a Masters of Arts in Teaching Music from Manhattanville College and is an alumnus of the prestigious Manhattan School of Music Preparatory Division. Vincent has performed for television, audio recordings and on professional stages in various genres of music. He’s the proud winner of many significant piano competitions, including the Westminster Choir College Artistic Excellence in Piano Award.
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