Have you ever come up against a roadblock as you learn guitar? They happen to me all the time. Sometimes it's a technique or an exercise in a book that turns out to be way too difficult. Or maybe it's a busy period that stops me putting in the practice time I planned. Other times I simply don't find a book or tab to work on a style or artist I like.
These kinds of roadblocks occur frequently on my learning path, and on the path of every other guitar learner.
Roadblocks like these can get you stuck down and bring your progress to a halt if you let them. It's easy when you don't find a solution to think you are no good at guitar. You conclude that you can't get any better than you are now, or that a certain skill or kind of playing is not for you. You might even decide to give up altogether.
But every guitarist comes across these roadblocks, so why is it that some guitar players progress beyond them and move on to better playing? Maybe it's because they have a plan B.
Plan BPlan B is your backup plan. It's what you do when you hit a roadblock and get stuck. Instead of getting frustrated and cursing the universe because you have small fingers, don't have enough finger strength, can't practice more hours, or don't have such and such a guitar, you simply switch to plan B and keep on moving.
Your plan B might not take you in exactly the direction you planned on, but as long as it keeps you moving forward it doesn't really matter. There are so many different ways to learn to play guitar that you don't need to get hung up simply because one particular path you chose doesn't work out.
Create Your Plan BHow do you create a plan B? Easily, just ask yourself the question "What else could I do instead?"
If you're the kind of guitar learner that has a detailed step by step plan all worked out in advance, set aside a few minutes to review the steps and answer the question for each of them. Write down your answers in your learning plan.
If you are the kind of guitar learner that just picks the next thing as you go along, then ask yourself the question any time you get really stuck. Pick a new direction and keep going.
In either case, the question "What else could I do instead?" will help you to keep moving forward and avoid the only roadblock that can really halt your guitar learning progress - giving up practicing and playing.
Just like skinning cats there are as many ways to learn guitar, so you don't need to get hung up on any particular one true path. If the path you planned on taking turns out to be too steep and difficult for you, well then just pick another and keep on walking.
Without a backup plan you might get all worked up and frustrated because you can't progress the way you expected. Set aside a few minutes this week to prepare your guitar learning back up plan.
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Photo by Bruce Berrien.