The Problems with Waiting To Learn More Till Mastery.

Waiting To Learn More Till Mastery.

This is one of the many ways people waste an enormous amount of time and talent.
The belief system that it is good to master one thing first before you learn something new, is a fallacy that both self-study people and people who take lessons, occasionally fall into.
This belief system is one of the many traps, experienced guitar teachers protect their students from stepping into.

I have had this happen with students, who let me know they felt they should take a break from lessons, so they can first master what we already covered before they move on.

“Waiting” to move on to the next level before you “master” 1 exercise first, is not how music education works and is totally counter productive.
You just end up slowing down your growth and your musicianship tremendously.

Here’s why?

Let’s say, as an example, that you feel you want to better memorize what the notes in all the chords are first, before you tackle learning your first arpeggio fingerings.
So you spent an extra week (or more), with your flashcards, going over all the notes in all the chords.
This is actually a wasted week.
If you had instead of waiting an extra week, moved on to learning the arpeggio fingerings anyway, your memorization of the notes in chords would have improved no matter what.
You are playing these notes of these chords and hence still practing their memorization as well, when you play those arpeggios.
Not only did you waste a week with this approach, BUT you also postponed taking advantage of the many benefits you get from learning and training those arpeggios:

In that past wasted week: these arpeggios would also have developed your

  1. Ear
  2. Picking technique
  3. Fretboard knowledge
  4. Your guitar solos.
  5. Harmony Knowledge
  6. Dexterity.
  7. Music theory knowledge…
  8. … and many more things.

IN ADDITION to also actually training the one thing you postponed your arpeggio learning lesson for.

Does that make sense?

There are thousands of examples of seemingly unrelated fields of musical knowledge, that are all interconnected and hence all reinforcing one another.
In other words: when you study one, you also improve in other areas your previously learned (or didn’t learn yet).
I already gave a ton more examples in the above list:

  1. Don’t wait to learn arpeggios till you know your fretboard better first. Arpeggio WILL make your freboard knowledge better.
  2. Don’t wait to learn scales, till you have a better ear, or vice versa. Your ear gets better as a result of learning and playing scales, and learning scales gets easier as a result of training your ear.
  3. Don’t wait till you master your time feel exercise, before you tackle learning some songs you like. Playing those songs, IS going to improve your time feel.
  4. Don’t wait to write songs, till you know more music theory. Your theory knowledge is going to improve from writing songs.
  5. Don’t wait to learn the arabic scale, till you first mastered the major scale fingerings. Your major scale fingerings are going to keep improving with every new scale you learn, because of the connections between all scales.
  6. And so on and so on: I could keep giving examples till I turn blue in the face.

Or in other words: it’s endless, the number of ways music students shoot themselves in the foot when they belief they should wait to move on till they first mastered what they’ve previously learned.
That just doesn’t work, for reasons explained above.

If music colleges adopted that education system where students can only move on to the next thing after they mastered previous material first, then all their students would have to spend at least 25+ years to earn their music degree instead of 4.
Good luck with THOSE student loans!!!
Meaning: it would take way longer to become good with this approach.

I never progressed faster, than when I had lots of weekly classes.
It’s the lessons that are THE NUMBER 1 progress generator, NOT the number of hours or times one practices.
I see that with all my students: people who meet for example twice a week, ALWAYS progress and learn at least 4-6 times more quickly than the weekly students, even if they don’t have more time to practice.

A student’s progress grows EXPONENTIAL (not linear) with the number of lessons taken in a given time frame.

So people who postpone lessons, because they feel they need more practice time, or because they feel that they should master previous material first, are never going to get really good, or never going to get past much more than beginner level, for aforementioned reasons.
The reason for this: everything in music theory hangs together. In other words: getting better in 1 area, also improves your skills in other related areas.

To make matters worse: practicing for that long without any super vision of a teacher, makes it very likely you might be wasting evern more valuable time doing things incorrectly or inefficiently without it being fixed.
That’s how bad habits get created and how one creates unnecessary hurdles and resistance on the musical/guitar path.

Conclusion: nothing can beat ther results you get when taking regular lessons. You get much better progress and learn much more effectively.
And guess what: guitar playing becomes all the more fun and all the more addictive when you see great results.

This explains why people who take regular lessons, are always happier with their results than people who try to figure it all out by themselves. 🙂

Now one could argue all this, saying: “Well how about Guthrie Govan? He’s one of the best guitar players on the planet and didn’t take lessons”.
Sure! He’s an exception. He also started playing when he was 3 or 4 though. 🙂
Are you 3 right now?
If you’re reading this, you’re probalby older than that, and with no time to waste. 🙂
Not only that: Guthrie’s dad plays guitar. When your dad plays an instrument, you are probably not entirely “without music education”

Life is very precious and passes by very quickly: You want to use your time wisely.

Why waste time and not get the maximum out of your musical talent, noodling around trying to figure out things without guidance?
All really successful people became that succesful because they actively sought out coaches, they took lessons, had guidance, avoided costly mistakes and time consuming bad habits.

The better you progress, the more fun learning guitar becomes, the more musical joy you will bring into your life.

Benefits to learning with a teacher:

  1. Accountability
  2. Guaranteed results
  3. More success
  4. more joy
  5. Better progress
  6. Deeper musical experience
  7. A high quality mapped out learning plan: a worked out path (which you don’t get from YouTube videos)
  8. Weekly/regular guidance
  9. Strucutre
  10. Results tracking.
  11. Constant supervision.
  12. Constantly being (course) corrected.
  13. Much more input and feedback.

Teaching is not just sharing information, even more valuable than the information, are all the things you DON’T get from YouTube videos or free e-Books, some of which are summed up in the above list.
It’s not the information that makes you really good a musician: it’s how that information is conveyed, how it is structured, and what is being done with it, tailored to your specific learning styles and needs.

An now for Something odd, weird and funny.

This is completely unrelated to the above, but one of my students just shared this following with me, and it’s too good to keep it from you.

The (Expensive) OJ Guitar


Hit me up anytime at [email protected] if you have any questions, or if you would like to book a lesson.

Keep me informed on your progress. You can hit me up in the comments section below.
If you like this blog: give it a rating and feel free to also give me any feedback.
I believe everything can always be improved. I’d gladly implement your suggestions and ideas in this blog or the next.

Be on the look out for more blogs about everything guitar, music, songwriting and music education.
You’re on your way to becoming a great guitar player.
Have fun! 🙂

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