In January 2023, we started an initiative with the JustinGuitar Team and were searching for motivated individuals who wanted to learn to play guitar in an exclusive group led by Justin Sandercoe, alias JustinGuitar, and his teacher team. The program “Learn Guitar Together – Class of 2023” started in January and is ongoing. We sat down with a group of participants to hear about their intriguing guitar-learning journeys.
All Roads Lead to the Class of 2023
The Class of 2023 consists of a group with a variety of backgrounds regarding music. Tony, who had no prior experience with guitar, was challenged by a friend to learn chords to play at a caravanning event. After searching for guitar courses online and watching a few videos, Tony came across JustinGuitar and liked his approach the best.
Tony’s Top Tip for learning to play: Be prepared for two steps forward and one step back. Take your time; it will come with time.
Fellow participants Boris and Sarah learned about the group through Justin’s newsletter. “I was already very happy using the app but missing the “classroom feeling.” I thought I’d give it a go,” says Sarah. She had never played an instrument before and never thought she’d be able to. Going through a difficult time in her life, a friend of Sarah’s told her she needed music in her life.
Another class member, Raffie, says playfully that her guitar kept looking at her, so she thought it would be a good time to pick it up. Ten years prior, she had tried to practice guitar, but a full-time career had kept her too busy to start learning.
Raffie’s Top Tip for learning to play: Don’t rush. Just enjoy the journey and follow the app.
Before diving into the world of learning guitar, each of our interviewees had certain expectations. Some thought it would be a breeze, while others anticipated a more challenging journey.
Tony is a part of the latter group. He emphasizes the artistry of guitar playing, stating, “It’s easy to play a guitar badly but quite hard to play it well.” This sentiment sets the stage for the dedication required to master this instrument.
Sarah says her guitar is her safe space.
Sarah’s experience was a rollercoaster ride of expectations. She remarks, “It’s nothing like I imagined. It’s way more painful on the fingers at first than I thought it could be, but it’s also way more enjoyable.” Her realization highlights the importance of pushing through initial challenges to discover the immense joy that comes with playing along to songs, a feat she never believed possible.
Underscoring the idea that the journey, despite its difficulties, is ultimately fulfilling is one way to look at it. Khurram sees the value in the struggles of the learning process. He believes, “The satisfaction that comes after being able to play is definitely worth it.”
Khurram’s Top Tip for learning to play: Practice makes permanent, so make sure that you’re practising correctly.
Sharing the Good and the Bad
During these ten months, the closed group became tight-knit, and all of the interviewees highlighted the supportiveness and helpfulness of their peers. There is a place for both active posters and bystanders. “I’m not an active participant in social media, so my role has been primarily to “see” what other people are doing. That, in turn, helps motivate a “solo learner” like me,” explains George, who wishes he had heard about JustinGuitar sooner. The support, fast answers to any questions, and sharing the struggles have brought the members together.
“Listening to the peers sharing their progress makes me understand that struggle is part of learning the guitar.” -Khurram
Stephen, too, says the group has been a confidence booster and helped him realize that “we are all just learning and won’t sound like our favorite guitarists”. He adds that fellow participants made him understand that he is not as bad as he thinks. According to Dwain, the members share valuable feedback whenever anyone asks for it. The motivational atmosphere has kept everyone involved, even in times of musical despair.
Stephen’s Top Tip for learning to play: Practice more and use structure instead of noodling like I do.
As we wrap up this glimpse into the captivating journeys of the “Learn Guitar Together – Class of 2023,” it’s clear that the paths to learning the guitar are as diverse as the individuals themselves. From beginners like Tony, who embraced the challenge, to those like Sarah, who found unexpected joy in the pain of progress, each member of this exclusive group is crafting their own unique musical adventure. The value of perseverance and support within the community is evident, making this journey all the more enriching. Stay tuned for Part 2, where we’ll delve deeper into the challenges of our dedicated learners, their musical dreams, and the motivators of this extraordinary guitar class.
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