Have you ever wondered why some guitar players become great, and why some don’t? What is it that makes them different?

 

Is it where they were brought up? Seeming as great guitar players have come from rich families and also the poorest families imaginable, it can’t be anything to do with that.

 

Is it to do with their physiology? There are great guitar players that are scrawny, some that are overweight, some with huge muscles… so it can’t be that.

 

Could it be some sort of talent? The concept of talent has been repeatedly debunked (see the Talent Code, Bounce for books on that). So it can’t be that.

 

So what is it?

 

What makes the difference?

 

The key, is in mindset. Great guitar players have a “growth mindset” (at least, towards their instrument they do) and guitar players that never get that far have a “fixed mindset” (sometimes even if they have growth mindset in another area of their lives). So what do these two terms mean, what are their implications and how can we move from having a fixed mindset to a growth mindset?

 

What is a fixed mindset?

A fixed mindset can be summarised as “I can or I can’t”. If you can’t get it in about 5 minutes of trying, then it was never meant to be and you will never be able to get it. Children often have this. They struggle with something and give up after 5 minutes. But do you, as a parent, let them give up? No!! Why? Because you know with enough application of effort, they will eventually get it.

 

People often experience this with their guitar playing – they think they don’t have the talent for it, or that if they can’t get it, they never will. Now when it comes to guitar playing… there can be an element of truth to this. Allow me to explain.

 

The fault here is partially bad teachers and bad expectations on the part of the student. A bad teacher gives the student concept A, concept B then concept Z and assumes the student will get all the intermediary steps (or doesn’t even realise that the intermediary steps in the learning process exist). A student with false expectations understands concept A, concept B and then assumes that either concepts C to Y to not exist, or that because they understood A and B they should understand Z. This is quite common with guitar playing… but for some reason not so common with astrophysics – can you imagine if you learnt a basic part of physics, for example, then when on Earth, and you let go of a ball, it will drop until it hits the floor and then, because you understood that, you expected to be able to understand how to integrate a quantum mechanical wave function in 4 dimensions (space and time) and to also understand the implications of that integration? No! No-one would ever think that was a reasonable expectation to set of themselves. What they would expect was, they could move from understanding that a ball drops, to understanding quantum mechanics, with several years of highly specialised tuition and guidance.

 

Learning to play guitar is exactly the same. There are concepts we need to intellectually grasp. There are mechanical motions we need to train out hands to make. We have to integrate the two together. And there is a process that we go through to do so. And that is what we will do for you, logically and systematically take you step by step through everything you need to know, and train on, to become the guitar player that you want to be.

 

 

What is a growth mindset?

A growth mindset consists of “I can’t do this. Why?” And that last question is vitally important. If you are unable to do something that you want to do, it is because you are missing a skill or a piece of knowledge. And the answers are out there, waiting to be discovered! And you can and will discover them.

 

What we do is vastly speed up the process. Rather than having to figure out everything on your own, we take decades of experiences from the greatest musicians, guitar players and teachers in the world; and condense it into a highly effective training program for you, so that you become the guitar player that you want to be.

 

 

How do we move between the two?

Next time you find yourself unable to do something and wondering if it is impossible, rather than give up, don’t ask yourself why you are unable to perform the piece or exercise perfectly, instead, ask yourself, “How can I play this just 5% better?”. 5% isn’t very much. I’m sure you can improve it by that much :) Figure out how, then train it.

 

 

If you are unsure about anything I talked about here or want to find out how we can help you become the guitar player that you want to be, get in contact w