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Sunshinegirl11's avatar

How to teach yourself to play an instrument?

Asked by Sunshinegirl11 (1110points) March 24th, 2017
8 responses
“Great Question” (2points)

Hello everyone and happy Friday!

I have a guitar collecting dust in my room that I want to learn to play.

Thing is, I don’t have the money to pay for a teacher, and I can’t get myself to continue practicing when I try to teach myself.

I really want to learn though, I’m going to force myself to practice just 10 minutes a day. Once I’ve got that down, I’ll practice for longer.

So a question for all of you musicians or friends of musicians, how did you start? Should I just pick a song I like and start practicing that? Or should I really focus on chords and tabs first? Advice please :))

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ucme's avatar

Ahem, it’s easy, just put your lips together & blow…the Bacall Bugle that is.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

YouTube and practice.

kritiper's avatar

Get a beginners book or two on chords and such. Learn the basics. Learn to read music.

AshlynM's avatar

Get lesson books designed for kids, very helpful even for adults.

Youtube can also be very helpful. I have found very good tutorials for beginners for learning to play musical instruments. Enlarge your screen so it’s easier to follow along. Learn to read notes on the staff as well as where they are on the instrument.

Repetition is key.

Danebiggs's avatar

Umm…I learned to read notes first, but then tabs came out and are so much easier.
I started playing intros to songs like “Underneath your clothes” by Shakira and a bunch of AC/DC riffs.
Then once I learned how to follow tabs I started practicing chords.
I played some country stuff in standard tuning to get the feel of how to stum a and play basic chords, then I got an digital tuner and learned to tune my guitar down half a step to drop D tuning.
I discovered you tube and all the great guitar lessons on there.
I started playing Soundgarden and Everclear, Matchbox 20, Guns n Roses, Poison songs etc.
Tabs are great, YouTube is great, playing guitar is hard and most people quit.
Your fingers will be sore and eventually callus over and you will get sick of the songs you’re learning from playing them over and over, but if you learn and take a good break from it every now and then you can return to those songs and enjoy playing them and the cool thing about guitar is that it’s like riding a bicycle you just remember how.
You can’t remember the tabs after a while, but if you memorized it your finger’s will always figure it out just from muscle memory.
It’s weird.
I don’t play often, but every few years I get my dad’s Gibson Les Paul knockoff guitar out and I rock out.
It fun. : )
I hope you stick with it, it’s a great stress reliever.
Good Luck.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I started playing guitar about 20 years ago. I started with very simple things,and gradually taught myself how. I can’t play chords,because I have some minor nerve issues with my left hand. I can’t read music either. I learned by sound. Sitting in the dark, playing it,helped me know by feel where everything is. Now I can play with my eyes shut,or with it behind my head.

Anyway. I don’t have any great methods of learning, but I wanted to encourage you to learn. Sitting down, and playing something that you enjoy, is priceless. It’s also an excellent stress reliever.

Good luck.

Peace n love.

dxs's avatar

Don’t learn the “skills” and then apply them. This common method doesn’t lead to a “whole” understanding. Play songs you like and learn the “skills” as you need to. For piano, while I found Alfred’s piano lesson books pretty fun, I only used them for a few months after I’d been playing for a while. I mostly learned by playing songs I liked and looking at the sheet music for it. Looking at the sheet music is where you’ll understand the notation and recognize patterns (for instance, you’ll recognize what different chord progressions sound like). I think lesson books make things boring, which takes the passion out of it. And then, if you don’t have passion, you won’t be interested.

Learn two or three songs you’ve been wanting to learn and play them each day. Focus on getting the chords to sound more precise (don’t have any strings unintentionally muted, strum evenly, etc.), make the transitions from chord to chord shorter and smoother. Have confidence, too. At first I would sometimes switch a chord not even being sure of where my fingers were going, but I went with it. It eventually worked out after enough practice. Be patient and diligent. It won’t happen over night.

dxs (15160points)“Great Answer” (1points)
MrGrimm888's avatar

Yeah. If I could do it over, I would have learned to read music…

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