IS IT HARD TO PLAY GUITAR?
Is it hard to play guitar? Well, it all comes down to what you mean by "hard".
I can tell you one thing, it is not easy, but it also doesn't have to be hard.
Above everything, whether you find it to be easy or hard, it should be enjoyable. If you don't find joy in the process of learning, you will probably not make it very far. No one learns guitar because it is a requisite for a promotion at work, or because your life depends on it. You learn guitar to enhance your life, to bring music into your life. It is a joyful decision and it should be enjoyable from the minute you start.
Let me share some situations you may find hard ...
You may find it hard when you realize that guitar is not as easy as you thought.
There is too much false information out there that builds up false hopes. "buy my method, it is so easy..." "you will be playing all your favorite songs in 2 days..."" Learn Guitar Overnight..." etc.. These sell pitches, while encouraging and effective, are far from reality. It could take you weeks to start playing anything worth listening to. However, as long as everyday you sound better than the day before, you are on the right track. If this form of measurement is too small, think of it in weeks or month. Do I sound better today than 3 weeks ago?
...when you realize that you sound awful.
Ok, so you are trying to learn a song and you don't sound like the record? That is like trying to fly a plane with no training, or to code software with no computer skills. The musician on the record has decades of experience playing guitar, this is what he/she does for a living, it's called a professional. Many people never think of musicians as professionals because music is fun. I can't tell you how many times I've been asked: "You are a guitarist?? Is that all you do??"
Musicians put more time and effort in to their craft than most professionals ever do in other fields. The difference is that we love it. So when you think you sound awful, don't be so hard on your self. Most musicians think they don't sound as good as they could, even at the highest level. A quote from Paco de Lucia, one of the most amazing guitarist to ever walk this earth." I was driving in my car when I heard this guitarist on the radio, I though he was pretty good, until I realized it was me who was playing, so I immediately disk-liked it and turned the radio of"
...when your finger tips hurt.
Yes, your finger tips will be in discomfort on your fretboard hand until you develop calluses.
The good news is that this will only last for a few days. The bad news is that if you stop playing for a couple of days you will loose your calluses and you have to start over again.
The only solution for this is consistency. Keep playing and your fingers won't hurt.
... when both your hands doing something completely different
This is one of the main challenges of guitar vs other instruments. Each hand is in a different position, different direction and doing something completely different from the other.
So here is the solution to this situation: Make sure each hand can do its job independently before having both hands work together. Practice each hand separately until the task is accomplished. Follow this rule: If either hand can't do the job independently, it's most likely not going to happen together.
...when you feel you are not improving.
When you encounter this situation there are two questions you should ask yourself:
1-Am I really not improving? Do I sound the same as last week or last month? Don't use yesterday, that's too close.
2-Am I spending my practice time productively. Am I practicing or just playing? This are two very different concepts which will be on a separate blog post all together. But in a nut shell, think of practicing as "fixing", so you can then play better. If the is no "fixing" things will remain broken and you will feel no improvement.
Practice slow, and pay attention to what is not working. Isolate that problem and fix it.
This is what we call in music "practice".
You may find it hard when your question yourself "why the hell am I doing this?"
Well, why are you doing this? (with out the "hell"). This I cannot answer for you but it is the most important question of them all. Read my blog on "How can I start playing Guitar" for motivational ideas.
You need to set long term goals that keep your motivation alive. Motivation creates good practice habits, and good practice habits result in improvement. Improvement feeds your motivation and therefore gets you closer to your goals.
Enjoy your journey,