Passion, Motivation & the Guitar

by Kathy Unruh

Are you passionate about playing your guitar? Do you find yourself eager to learn new things? Do you get excited when you hear a great guitar lead or a beautiful fingerstyle guitar solo? The degree of passion you have for the guitar will usually become evident by examining the level of commitment you have to practice!

I remember listening to an interview with John Mayer not too long ago. He was talking about his love for the guitar and how motivated he had been to learn everything he could about the instrument as a teenager. The first thing John would do when he got home from school was take out his guitar and start playing. He wasn't too concerned about sports or hangin out with his friends because he was so totally absorbed in his music. He loved the guitar and that was all he wanted to do! When he finished high school he enrolled in the Berklee School of Music to further his education and hone his craft. His dedication certainly payed off, giving music fans a wonderfully gifted guitar player and songwriter. I just love the energy and entusiasm John puts into his performances. He really inspires me.

What inspires you to learn how to play the guitar? Finding the answer to this question may be just the motivational boost you need to reach your goals and persevere through difficulties. Guitar teachers, programs and books can give you advice about correct technique and so forth, but personal motivation can only come from within you.

Here are some ideas to help you develop your passion for playing the guitar...

- Write down three things that you would like to achieve on the guitar. Be as specific as possible. An example might be something like: "I want to be able to sing and play the guitar at the same time."

- Next to each of your three desires, write down how you will know when you have achieved them. For example: "I will know I have reached this goal when I can __________________________. " (fill in the blank.)

- Write down why you want to accomplish these things. Such as: "it will give me a feeling of accomplishment."

- Consider what action steps you will need to take in order to reach your desired outcome. Write these steps down on a piece of paper and keep them with your guitar. Be sure to make a note of any helpful resources you might need to achieve your objectives (such as guitar lesson books, CDs, etc.)

- Put your three goals some place where you can read them every day. Then find an encouraging person who is willing to help you keep focused and stay the course. This person can be another musician, friend, sibling, parent or teacher; it doesn't really matter. The important thing is that they help you to stick to the decisions you've made and check on you're progress from time to time.

Identify your passion. What motivates you will be the key to your success!

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Kathy Unruh is a singer/songwriter and webmaster of ABC Learn Guitar. She has been writing songs and providing guitar lessons to students of all ages for over 20 years. For free guitar lessons, plus tips and resources on songwriting, recording and creating a music career, please visit:

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