Hitting a Guitar Stride

It’s been about six months since I bought an acoustic Guitar and started teaching myself using the Internet. Since then, I’ve got an electric guitar too, found an instructor, taken a few lessons, and started recording myself to track progress.

Music has been challenging, rewarding, and fun! The last few months in America have sucked, and music has for sure helped me get through some challenging times.

I thought it would be worth looking back on how far I’ve come, because I feel like I’ve recently hit a stride in learning new skills on the guitar.

At first, learning songs was really hard because I wasn’t used to learning the new chords, the rhythm, the lyrics, everything. But as I repeated the learning process over and over, I got better at it. A few weeks ago, I started learning one of my favourite songs and it went a lot easier than other, less challenging songs had gone. Within a week I had gotten to the point I was really happy with it.

So learning has gotten easier because I’ve been doing it more, but there’s more to it than just that. I feel like each additional skill I learn can be combined with every skill I’ve already learned; so there’s a combinatorial explosion of ability. A sort of n! effect.

What got me thinking about all this was this video below. It’s a tutorial from a show I watch that teaches a song; it has a tonne of chords, most of which are new to me, and I would’ve been really intimidating to learn even a month ago. Instead, when I found it last weekend I was really excited to learn all the new skills because it means I can connect each one to each other one I already have.

This song has helped me get better at barre chords, descending baseline notes over chords, barre chord slides, muting, strumming speed, all kinds of stuff. It’s a surprisingly challenging song, and it’s been a tonne of fun.

Unfortunately, while I feel like I’ve been getting better and better at guitar (and I’m enjoying it more and more), my wrist pain this week has been really bad. It’s been super-frustrating since it affects my ability to work as a programmer, too. I’ll be going back to physiotherapy next week (I’ve not been back since my trip a while ago) so hopefully I’ll be able to continue learning guitar without pain.

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