What the Playstation 3 taught me about playing guitar

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istock_000004161527xsmallLike many of you, I just discovered that we can buy a Playstation 3 for $299.99. Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles.

This caught my attention. Sweet action-packed excitement in full 1080p glory. Not to mention it can read Blu Rays.

When this historically low price came out, I told a friend that I might have to finally get one. Why not? It’s a historically low price.

A couple weeks passed and I still didn’t get one. Maybe I was waiting for some magical leprechaun to drop an extra 300 bucks in my money clip, or maybe I was waiting for the price to drop another hundred bucks.

My friend recently asked me if I had bought one. After telling him that I hadn’t, he asked why. “It just doesn’t seem worth the money, I guess.”

“Did you ever buy games systems when you were younger?” This seemed like a random question to me, but I went with it.

“Not really. I never spent much money on games systems. I was always buying guitar pedals. I guess playing guitar just seemed more fun.”

My friend laughed, “And that’s why you can play like Lincoln Brewster and the rest of us can’t.” (This is not to say that I am the only one in the world who can play like Lincoln or that I can even really be put on the same level of playing as Lincoln. I can personally say that I know five people who can mimic his playing well, and I am acquainted with two who could really give him a run for his money. It is just that my friend and I were with a select group of people, many of whom couldn’t play guitar, none of which had a chance of sounding like Lincoln Brewster.)

The Attitudes That Automatically Improve Your Playing

There are two mentalities my friend illustrated in that discussion that can turn you (and me and anyone else who may be reading) into a really good and proficient guitarist. I have seen time and again that when these attitudes are adopted players start to improve by leaps and bounds.

Attitude #1: Love picking up the guitar.

This is elemental yet profound. When picking up the guitar is more fascinating than picking up an Xbox controller, improvement will happen.

I have a theory: We don’t just get better at things we do often, we get better at things we love to do. When we really enjoy playing guitar our mind is more relaxed, open to new things, and more alert to what it is experiencing.

If we don’t enjoy playing guitar then we never get past feeling like it is a chore. All of our energy is taken up thinking how much we don’t like doing what we are doing.

Attitude #2: Love pushing the limits.

When you do pick up the guitar, find excitement in pushing yourself. Stay relaxed, but don’t be afraid to sound bad while trying something new and more challenging.

This is sort of like the gamer who plays a Tony Hawk game. Every time he plays the game, he polishes some old tricks then attempts some new ones. The little Tony Hawk icon falls with a bone-crushing splatter, but that doesn’t stop our gamer (his bones are fine).

In seconds, the gamer has revaluated how to perform the trick and is trying it again. This process for the gamer is fun and exciting.

When we adopt this attitude it makes making progress fun and accelerates our playing.

Love Conquers All

When we love picking up the guitar more than the Playstation controller, not only will we enjoy practicing, but practicing will become more productive.

One Response to "What the Playstation 3 taught me about playing guitar"
  1. Joanna says:

    This is great advice for way more than just playing the guitar. Your insight always surprises me :)

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