Are we there yet?

Posted on May 2, 2012 by


Over the last 7 months I have deliberately practiced over 100 hours on the guitar.  I have tracked and motivated my progress by using Beeminder and I have recorded myself at 50 and 100 hours to demonstrate where I started and hopefully how far I have come.

To tell you the truth, I never thought I would make it this far.  I feared I would just be another guy who decided he was going to learn guitar and then fizzled out after a couple weeks.  In fact, I almost was that guy and I wrote an article on how I motivated myself to stick with it.

Progress has been slower than I thought it would be, but I have enjoyed practicing more than I thought I would.  I look forward to my nightly practice and even though I am usually practicing simple scales or basic strumming patterns I get lost in it.  It is a form of escape, but one that feels healthy and positive.

We all start somewhere.

When I first picked up the guitar I didn’t even know how to hold it.  It felt so strange and awkward in my arms.  Over the last 100 hours we have started to fit each other.

When I first tried strumming the guitar I could only make clumsy downstrokes.  Now I can make smooth downstrokes, upstrokes and have learned a number of different strumming rhythms.

When I first tried to form a C chord I had to grab and place each finger individually.  Now I can quickly form the C chord along with the D, E, Em, G, A and Am chords.

Sure progress has been slow, but there has definitely been progress.

One of the reasons I wanted to learn guitar was so that I could learn songs and play with friends.  A couple weeks ago a friend of mine came over for dinner and brought his guitar.  We jammed together in my living room.  Now I am learning a song he taught me.

One of the reasons I wanted to learn guitar was so that my daughter would be inspired to learn and play music.  Every couple days my daughter comes up to me while I am practicing and asks to play.  I always stop and lay the guitar in her lap and she strums and sing songs.

One of the reasons I wanted to learn guitar was to expand my understanding of music and gain deeper appreciation of all styles.  Over the last 6 months I have listened to new artists  and I have found new appreciation for some of my old favorites.

Its not just about learning guitar, it is about bringing new experiences into my life.

When I started this project I set a goal to practice 400 hours in two years.  The idea being that I will be “good enough” after logging 400 hours of practice.  I am pretty confident that I will reach 400 hours, I am less confident that I will be good enough by then, and I am almost certain that it doesn’t really matter.

Why worry about the destination when the ride is this fun?

Posted in: Guitar, Practice