I love music; both listening and playing. I started playing guitar in my teens, but was not persistent, and ended up dropping it over the past twenty plus years. When I decided to go back to playing guitar, I knew I cannot dedicate a couple of hours daily for the practice. I decided to put in whatever time I can, which meant literally about ten minutes a day. It seemed meaningless, but I decided to give it a shot all the same and see what transpires. I further decided that I would practice one or two new songs every month, starting with easy melodies in terms of chords, and slowly make my way through more challenging chords and rhythms. The first few nights of practice, my playing sounded quite challenging, but I didn’t give up. I stuck with it. Sure enough, with only ten minutes of daily practice, I got better. My fingers seemed to remember where to go, and there was less effort involved. Over the course of a month, I ended up learning new chords and honing my guitar-playing skills. Nights I could put in more than ten minutes, I did. But I didn’t force it. I also made sure to pick songs and melodies that I like, thus the chore was fun and I was motivated to continue.
What I learned from this process is:
1. Not to give up if it doesn’t work the first time around. Persistence pays off, even if it means little progress via small chunks of time.
2. Find a way to motivate myself. A song that initially looked like I will never be able to learn, didn’t give up on me, and I didn’t give up on it.
3. I used YouTube.com and Ultimate-Guitar.com to find online lessons and learn chords and passages that I was unable to figure out on my own. It is good to seek outside help rather than stick with pride of figuring it out on my own.
4. While my voice was not developed for singing, I sing for joy, not for compensation. My reward is my own pleasure. I care not for judgement by others, nor do I criticize myself. I am having fun!
5. Patience pays off.
Applying these simple lessons to life at large, be it exercising, starting a diet, or learning a new skill – all can be achieved in the same manner. Play on!