When looking to learn the guitar, one of the first questions everyone has is, “How long will it take me to learn?” This is a common question, and before you dive into buying equipment or signing up for guitar lessons in Atlanta, you should have an accurate idea of how long it will take you to reach your guitar goals. We’ll provide you with realistic ideas of how you can learn the guitar effectively and quickly.
A Month-by-Month Guide to Learning the Guitar
Like any undertaking, your success when it comes to learning the guitar depends on how often you practice and how intense those practice sessions are. It will also matter if you’re taking guitar lessons in Atlanta or trying to learn by yourself. We’ll touch more on this later, but for now, let’s make some basic assumptions about practice times and intensities so you can have a better understanding of what it will take to hit these milestones. If you practice for 30 minutes per day, 3 to 5 days per week, you should be able to hit the following goals.
Beginner (0 to 2 months)
- Be able to play basic chords
- Begin to execute basic strumming patterns
- Simple plucking patterns
- A few easy songs
Intermediate (3-6 months)
- Technique improves
- Begin to explore and understand some music theory
- Advanced (barre) chords
- Switch back and forth between fingering combos
Intermediate-Advanced (12 – 18 months)
- Mastery of basic chords
- Beginning to master barre chords and advanced fingering combos
- Mastery of beginner and intermediate songs
Advanced (18 – 36 months)
- Mastery of music and guitar theory
- Technique is proficient
- Ability to play whatever song you’d like
- Ability to play by ear and improvise
Setting Expectations for Learning the Guitar
As we mentioned previously, it’s important to recognize your goals with learning the guitar. If you plan on playing the guitar for life, you should know that guitar learning can and should be a life-long process. The type of mastery achieved in 3 years of practicing and playing does not make you a professional musician, even though you might be able to play anything on the guitar that you please.
Whether or not you take guitar lessons in Atlanta will greatly impact how quickly you’re able to learn techniques and adapt them to playing the guitar at your leisure. While there are many options when attempting to learn guitar “on your own,” if you want to learn the guitar quickly, hiring a guitar teacher in Atlanta is one way to accelerate your progress.
If you choose to pursue learning the guitar without a formal teacher, there are a few basic dos and don’ts. You have to identify someone or something to guide you. Otherwise, your learning will be aimless and undisciplined. This may be a free course on Youtube, or this may be a podcast or a book. Whatever method or combination of methods you choose, try to avoid watching guitar videos on Youtube without any understanding of how those videos fit into your progress plan or goals. Make sure you’re not skipping over basic techniques that you haven’t mastered yet. One way that self-taught guitar players get into trouble is by skipping to advanced material too soon. This often leads to frustration with learning and can lead to giving up or having unrealistic expectations about learning the guitar.
Can I Learn Songs Quickly?
Of course! You don’t have to wait months to learn songs because you feel you’re not ready. If you have your heart set on learning a particular song, there’s nothing stopping you but you. Focus, passion, and intensity will help you in your pursuit to learn songs on the guitar, but it’s also helpful to have a little guidance along the way.
It might sound crazy to say you should have to spend most of a day practicing guitar to master a song, but it takes focus and engagement to make that happen. If you have the desire to master a song, here are good habits for guitar students that will help you achieve that goal quickly.
Practice for accuracy first. This is the most important thing to focus on. You can’t play a song quickly or up to tempo if you can’t play it painfully slowly but accurately. You need to focus on playing each chord without error. This is essential because you’re creating muscle memory for these chords, and these will be the building blocks of mastering a song to the point where you can perform it in front of others.
Then practice rhythm. Once you’ve mastered playing all the chords correctly, you can begin to practice them in the rhythm of the song. You should start slow here. You’ll want to make sure your strum patterns are precise and accurate. This is where you can practice chord changes until you can do them in the actual tempo and rhythm of the song.
Once you have mastered the rhythm of the song, you can play for speed. This is the fun part, and you’ll likely spend a lot of time here as you’ll gear up to playing it correctly to tempo. If you need to, utilize a metronome to help you.
Hopefully, this has given you some good insight as to where to start when looking to learn how to play the guitar. Ultimately, your success is up to you. You determine how much time and energy you put into learning the guitar. This process can be accelerated by seeking out guitar lessons in Atlanta. Finding a great teacher will not only help you focus and accelerate your path to guitar mastery, but it also serves a necessary purpose when embarking on any learning endeavor, and that’s finding a mentor. Finding a mentor or someone to guide you on the learning process will help you stay focused, push through the tough times when you’re feeling discouraged, and help you improve when you’re struggling.
Consider learning guitar a life-long journey, but know that you’re capable of short sprints if there are particular songs or techniques you want to master in a short period of time.
Lessons In Your Home is happy to walk you through the process of signing up for guitar lessons. Our teachers are personable, knowledgeable, and dependable. Contact Us today to learn more about how Lessons In Your Home can help find a guitar teacher that is right for you. Our teachers come right to your home for every lesson, plus we offer virtual music lessons, too. Our online music lessons are taught by local music teachers with live lessons tailored to your family!