GUITAR

You do not need an expensive guitar.

Some guitars of bad quality are nearly impossible to play comfortably - sometimes even causing injury. More so at the beginning stage when the hands have hardly any developed contextual strength, dexterity or stamina.

 

Additionally, cheaply manufactured guitars hardly ever sound in tune across the fretboard or keep their tuning long enough to even finish playing a song. If you are going to put the time and effort into learning the guitar, it is wise to make sure your instrument can support you.

If in doubt about buying a guitar or the state of your current guitar, please consult me, and I will be happy to assist you.

Attendance

Weekly Lessons

If you want bi-weekly lessons because you do not have time to practise; see the next section "Time".

Cannot constantly miss lessons.

Cannot have extended absence, unless it is due to circumstances and not due to not having time to practise.

Time

As with learning anything, especially when muscle memory is involved, daily stimulation is required. This means you need to ideally practise every day. If not, no less than five days a week without two consecutive days of not practising. 

Time spent practising per session varies per skill level. Keep in mind that you are not only building physical strength, endurance and dexterity, but also various mental processes like focus and memory - to name a few. I recommend taking short breaks, or distractions, every 20 minutes, even if you are at a higher level. So, break your practice into 20-minute segments.

 

Using graded music as a guide, I recommend the following practise time:

Grade 1 - 20mins

Grade 2 - 40mins (two blocks)

Grade 3 - 60mins (three blocks)

Grade 4 - 80mins (etc...)

Grade 5 - 100mins 

Grade 6 - 120mins

Grade 7 - 140mins

Grade 8 - 160mins

Level 4 Diploma - 180mins

Level 6 Diploma - 200mins

No athlete can run, swim, or train for 10 minutes, once a week and expect to compete on a realistic level, or compete at all. Just like an athlete, you require more time the better you get to see the same results.

Realistically, you need to adapt these times to your goals and lifestyle.

As a Beginner (Grade 1 & 2) you can not do less than one block of practice - 20 mins (1hr 40 mins a week),

Intermediate (Grades 3-5), no less than 2 blocks - 40 mins (3 hrs 20 mins a week), and

Advanced (Grades 6-8) no less than three blocks - 60 mins (5 hrs a week).

For the professional Diplomas, you will require at least 2 hours of practice, on no less than 5 out of 7 days (10 hours a week).

If you can not commit to spending some time behind your instrument, you will not see any significant results. This means the time that you DO spend, along with the money spent on a guitar, is essentially wasted. So, ensure you have time in your day to dedicate to practice before you decide to start the learning process.

Goal

Goals are famously common - and for good reason. It is always good to know why you are doing something and what you hope to get out of it. Also, what you are gaming for and how you are going to get there. In other words: Planning.

You could have decided to start playing the guitar for many reasons, and it is important not to apologise for it. You could be doing it to impress someone, to feel "cool", to want to show off a bit or groove with the attitude of a gritty blues riff. Maybe you love Music and want to learn about its intricacies through the guitar, or you could have been moved by a guitar solo or song that made you feel the need to do it as well. Or, you could just love the look and feel of a guitar and want to enjoy spending time with it, feeling how the strings glide beneath your fingers while its resonance fills the room with a wonderland of sound.

Whatever it is, you need to know why you are doing it and to what end.

Fingernails

The fingernails need to be short enough to not touch the wood of the fretboard when depressing the string.

 

Long fingernails on your fretting hand (the one around the guitar's neck), makes it extremely difficult to achieve proper contact of the string with the fret. Buzzing almost always occurs, causing unnecessary frustration.

When playing fingerstyle guitar, the nails on the hand plucking the strings might be required to be slightly longer. This helps with achieving higher volumes and prevents unnecessary friction between the finger and the string, which might cause clarity issues or pain with extended playing. There is no need for extreme length, just enough to extend past the tip of the finger.