Obstacles to Learning to Play the Guitar

By John Peterson

The guitar has played a major role in shaping Western culture for more than 100 years. The emergence of the legendary “bluesmen”, the singing cowboys, and later the early rock and roll stars of the 1950s all contributed music that helped shape the 20th and now 21st centuries.

That the guitar has played such a pivotal roll has meant that everyone has been influenced by that instrument in one way or another. The fact that it IS central has made it a cultural icon. As diverse as the music that can be made with a guitar, and that it looks so simple to play means that nearly everyone has at least TRIED to play a guitar at some point in their lives. In music anyway, it would seem to be an essential ingredient for success.

Learning to play the guitar is not at all a complicated process. Learning to play WELL, though, takes some dedication, and that brings us to point of this article.

100 years ago there were vastly fewer entertainment options. Even 50 years ago there were many fewer option – television being new and just beginning to establish its place. Today, in the heyday of video games and music videos, the attention span of young people is comparatively short, and “instant gratification” is king.

This being the case, a guitar “course” must have several key elements, among them, short, well defined lessons that teach achievable and measurable skills, be tied to a computer, interactivity, have video content, and be fun with specialty games and exercises.

A good example of this is Ben Edwards’ courses Jamorama and Jamorama Acoustic Guitar. These courses incorporate extensive video content, interactive computer games to offset the tedium of learning to recognize notes and musical staff and short, punchy lessons that let the student see measurable progress.

When you look at the Jamorama guitar courses it is easy to recognize the hand of the next generation of music teachers. This is obviously a guitar course that teaches solid basic skills including reading sheet music and guitar TAB in a way that’s enjoyable. While the lessons aren’t specifically aimed at young people, young people will enjoy them. For those that may have played the guitar at one time and are now coming back to it after some time away, this will be a whole new experience. Learning ISN’T what it used to be!

The only thing that isn’t included in these courses is persistence. While Ben has built in a good deal of motivation and reinforcement, the student will still need to practice. In the end, while the learning methods have improved, dedication and patience are still required. The progress you make, however, is well worth the effort.

John Peterson is a freelance writer on music and the media. For information on Jamorama and Jamorama Acoustic Guitar visit http://www.jamorama.com