Yes! Of course!
I’m in my late 30’s and I am learning, and having a blast! Here’s my story:
Four years ago I decided I wanted to learn how to play the guitar. At first I was a bit hesitant, because I wasn’t sure if at my age (again, late thirties) one could learn how to play an instrument (less neuronal plasticity, less time to practice, etc.). But the interest was still there… I kept thinking and researching a bit about it, until one day I stumbled upon a video, called Guitar for beginners, where a guy (Justin Sandercoe) was teaching the basics for those interested in playing the guitar.
I thought Justin had a different “tone” to how he approached his online course. He sounded very pedagogical… he explained things in a way anyone could understand. It got me really curious, so I decided to check out his website and look for more information. There I found he had a whole free (yes, completely free!!) course for beginners, with an article and video per class. Needless to say, it was exactly what I was looking for.
I went through the preparatory stage (9 videos!) all at once… and I was hooked! He seemed like a very sharp fellow who knew what he was teaching, and the one thing that took all my “age/time related doubts” was the fact that he stated that one would only need 15 minutes of practice per day to improve. I decided that was something I could do!
First thing I did was to re-watch the video that explained which guitar you should buy, and then the one where it tells you which accessories you’d need. That same day I went to the closest music store and bought the cheapest electric guitar I found (Justin recommends to start learning with an electric guitar), and all the accessories I needed…
So, here’s my gear:
- Brand: Western
- Type: Electric
- Price: less than $100
- Observation: As most cheap Chinese guitars, the action on this one is huge, which makes the task of learning a bit tougher on the fingers… but I guess what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…
- Brand: ?
- Type: Hamilton?
- Price: $9
- Brand: Jim Dunlop
- Type: Nylon .73mm (Justin recommends a thinner one, but I couldn’t find one)
- Price: $0.90
- Brand: Korg
- Model: CA-30
- Price: $15
Get set, go!
I was all set: Perfect mindset, every tool I needed, and the perfect teacher. And so I started my journey to become a guitar player. I started from the very beginning, reading and watching a class per day. I also thought it would be a good idea to record on video some of my practices and post them on a YouTube channel, so I would be “held accountable”. I also told people on the Justin Guitar Forum that I was going to document my progress. My idea was to feel that I also had a sort of “obligation” to follow through.
Day after day I practiced along each class until I finished the second stage of the course. Everything was going smoothly, but I had to make a “little” (4 year!) pause before I’d start Stage 3. What?? 4 years?! Why? Let’s say a had to put A LOT of time into work for some time, and the guitar playing and other leisure-type activities had to be postponed. Could I still managed to do at least 15 min practice every day if I would’ve tried? I’m not sure… maybe. But my full concentration had to be at work and at making a living… so, that was my decision, and I guess I’m able to have the luxury of being able to resume my learning because of it. 🙂
Resuming my classes
So I decided it was a good time to re-start Justin Beginners’ Course, from square 1. Amazingly the skills I learnt on those first weeks haven’t been lost completely during this time. I felt a lot more comfortable doing the basic chords than when I started back then. That’s a great sign, because it means that it’s something that you don’t lose easily (even at your thirties).
Course of action
This is my plan for this new phase of my learning:
- I will resume uploading videos, to the same channel.
- I will double the bet by creating this blog (TheGuitarStudent.com), and hopefully this will keep me even more accountable to my learning process. Besides, justin recommends taking notes and having your own folder. I thought it would be more or less of the same work to write on a piece of paper than to do it digitally. Also, one of the goals of the videos was to serve as “company” for those starting from scratch, like myself. It’s reassuring when you feel you’re not alone at a task… hopefully these posts and videos would be of help for someone. Basically I’ll make a post per class, as a sort of personal diary.
- I won’t go on to the next class until I feel I’ve practiced the previous one enough. That is to say, I I feel my changes between the A and the E chords need more practice, I’ll keep at it before learning a new chord.
- Instead of resuming from stage 3, I’ll start from stage 1. That way I’ll make sure I didn’t forget anything and I’ll get to practice and remember those first chords and strums.
Feel free to follow along
If, like me, you’re starting to learn how to play the guitar, feel free to follow along with me. Leave me a message, contact me, let me know if I’m doing something wrong, or even leave your questions… hopefully we can help each other on this path.
I think that’s it for an introduction. Let’s start this exciting journey!!