Whether it's a methodology that doesn't work for you or the apparent difficulty of learning to play the guitar, there are many mistakes that can discourage beginners.
The risk is at least to see your progress curve stagnate and your learning become less efficient, while some may go as far as giving up altogether. But keep in mind that mistakes are normal, logical, and inevitable. Only by making mistakes do we learn.
Here are the four key mistakes we think beginners should avoid making.
Like many other activities, learning the guitar requires a certain rigor and a proven methodology. In fact, whether or not one is accompanied by a teacher, the beginner guitarist generally has that little spark of enthusiasm for the instrument and its practice. The important thing is to keep this spark throughout your progress, and even throughout your life as a guitarist. Thus, avoid the pitfalls and mistakes of rushing to do things.
No mathematician has managed to excel in his or her subject without having first studied for many years. The parallel between this field and that of the guitar may be a stretch, but no experienced guitarist has become a virtuoso after a month of practice! Our advice here is simply to be patient: learning is done step-by-step and its results are not necessarily visible in the short term. However, at some point you will realize that your efforts were not in vain and have finally made you a skilled musician!
Many of us make this mistake, especially when we love the vast universe of music without any real limits. This is especially true when learning entirely on your own: it is not uncommon to switch from one technique to another, from one style to another, or from one piece to another as soon as the effort required gets tougher. There is nothing wrong with doing this. That is your choice, if you want to keep things enjoyable but realize that it can prevent your overall progress.
The ideal quality that one must deploy when starting out is certainly persistence. This means that you should not stop when an exercise or a piece becomes complicated. The idea is the same concerning the style, some are simpler to play than others and you should tackle more complex styles (in terms of rhythm for example) only after having learned the basics and therefore starting with lighter things. Of course, it is important to enjoy yourself first, but you might get discouraged if you start with more complicated rhythms and pieces of flamenco or gypsy jazz.
You can learn the guitar by being self-taught, some will succeed and others much less; it really depends on the skills and mindset of the guitarists. On the other hand, following a method recognized for its effectiveness (with or without a teacher) helps enormously for the simple reason that it offers you a framework for learning while providing a program that puts your goals and priorities in order. It can also be used on an ad hoc basis. The Internet offers an incredible amount of advice and tutorials, but sometimes real contact with a competent teacher or lessons designed by professional musicians will help a lot.
As a famous Smiths song asserts: “Shyness is nice but shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you’d like to.” Shyness is a natural thing, it is difficult to feel comfortable in public when you are still a beginner. However, performing in front of a small circle of people, such as friends and family, can help you build up your confidence. This confidence is obviously useful to overcome shyness, but it will also be useful during your learning process. On the other hand, don't hesitate to play with friends who are also beginners or intermediate players. You'll make progress through confidence, sharing knowledge and advice, and you'll definitely make playing and learning guitar more fun.