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?