Updated: Apr 17
After teaching countless beginners, the conclusion of how fast or well a beginner learn is not really about the physical attributes of the fingers or "talent" some would say. Surprisingly, the students that I see growing in their ability to play guitar don't really have much talent to begin with but they have three distinct attributes.
1. Take it slow
Usually students that understand the meaning of slow will take their time to consciously work on their left hand fingering. They understand that it takes time to get comfortable with pressing thin strings on a wooden board. Unlike students who are rushing to quickly get things done, in the name of impatience, they miss out on valuable lessons of making their notes clear sounding with minimum effort. Encouraging students to take it slow is one of the most important lesson that I'll teach.
Repeating chord practice exercises and sticking to learn one song is so important. I always remember my ex-boss remind us to spend time to do one thing and do it very well. This usually pays off when it comes to learning the guitar. Repeating a song may be boring, but the pay off is bigger than boredom. You form muscle memory, you expand on a song and learn to use your right hand to create dynamics within a song because you are used to the chord transitions on the left.
Yes, learning something always require perseverance especially a new skill. It is said that you achieve mastery by spending 10,000 hours doing the thing you want to learn. To get through that much of a time requires some grit to see through your practice routines and make it sound beautiful.
Talent aside, I always encourage my students to be mindful of these three things, to make learning effective.