Your mind is a very powerful thing. Have you ever thought how many single actions are necessaries to play an instrument? Even in its simplest form, play a single note on the guitar, it must involve hundreds, if not thousands of impulses in our brain and around our body. This never ceases of amaze me. At the same time something so incredibly complex and powerful, can be our own worst enemy. How many times during your first attempts at playing a C major chord have you said to yourself ‘this is too hard’ or ‘I suck at this!’. Your little inner thoughts are silent for the rest of the world, but they resonate very loudly within yourself, don’t they?
The best piece of advice I can give to my students when they approach an instrument is to be critical, but in a positive way. How is this possible? An example: let’s say I want to play a piece of music I like, but I find it challenging. The worst thing you can do is get frustrated with it and go ‘sod it!’* and throw the music out of the window. You know then for sure that you will never be able to play that piece of music. A better approach to the problem is to ask yourself ‘why can’t I play this tune?’. Am I playing it too fast? Trying to play it all in one go and I should rather break it down in smaller pieces? I assure you this ‘find what’s wrong with what I am doing-and fix it’ attitude will get you to your goal quicker.
To sum it up: avoid negative thoughts from the very beginning as negative thoughts feed only other negative thoughts, and nothing else. As time passes you will look back and realize how much you have improved and how easy it is now to play that C major chord you thought it was impossible when you picked up your guitar the very first time.
* for the non UK population: sod it= a very British way of saying ‘forget it, I've had enough’