Learning how to play guitar might just be one of the best things you ever do. Instead of sitting in front of the TV or surfing the net for hours of your life that you’ll never get back, why not finally pick up a guitar and learn a new skill that can potentially give you a huge amount of satisfaction and be a lot of fun.
It’s never too late to start. I first began playing when I was seven. I’m now 42 and recently met up with an old school friend of mine who has taught himself to play over the last three years. His wife bought him a guitar for his birthday and he’s never looked back. At school he showed no interest in music at all. We hadn’t seen each other for years and I was amazed when he cancelled our first meeting in the pub because it clashed with his band practice. The cynical among you may call it a mid-life crisis, but now in his early 40s, he has regular rehearsals with some of his colleagues and loves every minute of it. In fact he’s so into his guitar playing that he’s even invested in an amazing looking collapsible electric guitar that he can take on business trips and play with headphones when he’s stuck in hotels in the evening. This is more serious that I thought!
What are the benefits of learning how to play guitar? Well, for a start it’s a very portable instrument and can be a great way to meet new people. You try lugging around a keyboard or drums. A recorder or violin may be as portable but probably not as sociable or, let’s face it, going to give you the same kind of street cred. When I was travelling around the world as a teenager and in my early 20s, I didn’t take a guitar with me, but at just about every backpackers hostel I stayed at, there was always someone who had one. I’m slightly biased but guitar players tend to be a friendly bunch and they were usually happy to let someone else have a go. It can keep you and possibly even other people entertained for hours, which surely has to be more productive than sitting passively in front of the TV. Another plus point is that I’ve found that women tend to be impressed by musical ability (it’s always good to show you have a sensitive and arty side!) and for any girls reading this I think it’s safe to say that it works the other way around too.Perhaps the best thing to do though, is to get to a level where you can start playing with other musicians. Some of the best times of my life have been spent playing in bands with friends. Rehearsals were just as much fun as the gigs and it doesn’t matter if you’re playing original material or covers, the buzz that you get when it starts to work is amazing. I can’t recommend it highly enough and I know that without learning how to play guitar, there would be a huge hole in my life. What are you waiting for?
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