I started taking guitar lessons a couple of weeks ago. It has been a humbling experience.
I am starting this journey at ground zero. The only other experience I’ve had with playing a musical instrument was when I took keyboard lessons on and off for a couple of years when I was in my late 20’s. My keyboard was inexpensive, and the sound quality didn’t inspire me to go deeper into it. Plus, I was distracted by other things going on in my life. So, I let it go.
My husband is a big music fan and I bought him a guitar for his 60th birthday a couple of years ago. I made the purchase talking with a sales guy from a very popular instrument store locally. I knew virtually nothing about guitars. My husband has played the guitar a few times, yet says he hasn’t embraced it because the neck isn’t a good fit for his hands. It was about the same time recently that I started to think about possibly trying to learn to play it myself that my husband started encouraging me to give it a try. I’d been thinking a lot lately about not wanting to have any regrets at the end of my life so I decided to see what I can learn to do with a guitar.
In my ignorance of guitars, I didn’t realize that the strings were metal and that my fingertips would hurt from pressing on the strings. After a couple of weeks of study, I am still working on gaining a clear understanding of what each note is supposed to sound like. In my effort to tune the guitar by ear the other day, I accidentally tightened the wrong string and suddenly it snapped off with a loud plunk. The string has been fixed and the guitar professionally tuned, so I am continuing on my learning journey.
How I’m Persevering Outside My Comfort Zone
I am definitely very far out of my comfort zone—a rare place for me to be. I’m someone who thrives on learning new things, and usually those new things come to me rather easily. Yet I recognize now that most of my new learning in recent years has involved digital platforms or other practices that are on an intellectual or physical fitness level. I’m now working on developing a skill in the music realm which requires hand and finger coordination and a keen ear for sound—skills that I haven’t studied in decades, let alone practiced.
I am finding that being a beginning guitar student is hard for me. Remembering where to position my fingers for each chord, learning how to move my fingers smoothly from chord to chord, and how to strum in a pleasing rhythm. Hey, I didn’t even know the difference between a chord and a note until I started this practice. Yet I’m not going to let myself bag out on learning just because it’s hard. That would be a regret I wouldn’t want to face. I recognize that practice will enable me to get better. I also know that putting my ego aside and giving myself permission to do something that I’m not yet good at will help me to persevere.
Some thoughts that are helping me to stay committed:
- The initial pain in my fingertips is lessening as they get used to the practice
- It’s been helpful to explore different instructors that may be a better fit for my learning needs
- Acknowledge the progress that I’ve made rather than focusing on what I cannot yet do
- Seeing myself as a person who plays the guitar and creating visions for what that may look like as I get better
If you have a similar experience in stepping out of your comfort zone, I’d love to hear your comments.