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Where should I be after 3 months?

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KirkD
(@kirkd)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 58
Topic starter  

I've been taking lessons for 3 months and I'm wondering how I'm doing. Obviously, my instructor tells me that I "make very steady progress" and is very encouraging. But, what does the world at large (AKA, you) expect after 3 months of lessons and practice. Here's a list of what my instructor has me doing: (Seems like a lot when I list it out, but how does it compare to expectations for a 3 month old guitar player??)

Open chord progressions (I can do all of these without errors)
Am C G Em
A E D E
Am G D Am C G D D
A7 D7 A7 A7 D7 D7 A7 A7 E7 D7 A7 E7
Em D Cadd9 B7
Am Dm G C F B7 E E

Power Chords/Root 5 Chords (the first on is easy, the other two are a little hard in changing from open to power chords)
A5 G5 F#5 F5 E5
A E F#5 D
B5 D A E

I'm also practicing low E string and A string major and minor barre chords.

Scales - all with met @ 80. I can do them all without errors
Low E chromatic
High E chromatic
Minor pentatonic
Blues scale (minor pentatonic plus two notes)

Various eighth note rhythms - no rests, quarter rests, and eighth rests

Able to step through all notes (low to high) with sharps/flat on all strings.
Name the natural half steps on all strings.
I'm now being put through an exercise where he will say, "Show me both B minors" and I have to find the two barre chords (low E and A string root).


   
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David Hodge
(@davidhodge)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 4472
 

Since most of the world at large doesn't play guitar, it doesn't expect all that much... :wink:

Where a beginning guitarist is after three months depends on a list of factors way longer than your list of achievements. Is one with a teacher or learning on one's own? How much practice time is one able to get in? How much of that practice time is spent actually practicing? How old is the student? Has the student done anything musical before? Does the student have arthritis? Is the action of student's guitar at a height better suited for grating vegetables than making music?

And on and on and on...

To put your mind at ease, given your list of accomplishments, you're doing very well. Many here will tell you they couldn't (or still can't) do what you already do after (pick a period of time).

The important thing, though, is this: Are you happy with your progress? Unless you've got some guitar competition coming up that you're preparing for, there are no deadlines or watermarks. One's progress on guitar (or just about anything) is as individual as the guitar player.

Instead of worry about where you "should be" why not give yourself some measurable goals about where you want to be? That way you'll know exactly how well you're progressing toward them?

By the bye, my apologies if this seems a little harsh. I've seen more people give up playing instruments because of self-imposed delusions of progress than I care to remember. Worse, I see people playing without enjoyment because their focus is not on the joy of playing. It's on the artificial measurement of playing.

So keep doing what you're doing. You're making progress. Hopefully you're also having a lot of fun..

Peace


   
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kent_eh
(@kent_eh)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1882
 

Many here will tell you they couldn't (or still can't) do what you already do after (pick a period of time).

That's what I was going to say.
I've been learning the guitar for a little over a year and a half, and you're way ahead of me.

Of course, I'm self-taught, and my teacher sucks at playing (and isn't so great at teaching, either) :wink:

I wrapped a newspaper ’round my head
So I looked like I was deep


   
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KirkD
(@kirkd)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 58
Topic starter  

Thank you for the replies and encouragement. I'm definitely having a good time. I'm just impatient and something of a perfectionist. 8^)

Back to practicing!!

-Kirk


   
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Vic Lewis VL
(@vic-lewis-vl)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 10264
 

Nothing wrong with being a perfectionist, but perfection takes time! I'd say for three months you were doing extremely well - I've been playing for many years, and if I'd learned that much in the first 10 years, I might have been a pretty decent guitarist by now!

Like dhodge said, don't worry about artificial goals - if you're happy with your progress, that's great. Just don't expect too much too soon! It might seem straightforward at the moment, but sooner or later you'll come across something difficult - that's where the patience factor comes in! It IS a necessary virtue for would-be guitarists, nothing happens overnight!

Keep playing, keep practising, keep improving, but most of all, keep having fun!

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


   
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Nuno
 Nuno
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Hopefully you're also having a lot of fun..
I think this is the question: Are you having fun?

Vic also said it previously.


   
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wrkngclsshero
(@wrkngclsshero)
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Posts: 57
 

Wow...Simply Wow.

That's a lot for three months. Kinda makes me want to give up (j/k). Seriously that is amazing progress. You should feel a real sense of accomplishment there!

"A working class hero is something to be..." -J. Lennon


   
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Denny
(@denny)
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Posts: 452
 

You seem to be ahead of the game as far as your learning has progressed. Have you checked out the 'Easy Song' database? You'll be able to put those chords to work and have some fun along the way. For me, when I started playing, trying to learn some songs made the learning process seem worthwhile. Good luck.

Denny


   
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Ignar Hillström
(@ignar-hillstrom)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5349
 

Just my opinion but I doubt anyone can honesty say *anything* at all here. Ten bucks says you'll be able to play the same stuff you listed better next month. if you'd make a new list you'd write down the same stuff you'd still have improved. There are so many things you can do just with a C-major chord that there is no such thing as 'being able to play it flawlessly'. What's more interesting is 'what can you do with that flawless C chord?' Stuff like that cannot be said on the internet.

So just forget about it and have fun. Making lists is a waste of time that could have been spend on having fun with the guitar.


   
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ldavis04
(@ldavis04)
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Just my opinion but I doubt anyone can honesty say *anything* at all here. Ten bucks says you'll be able to play the same stuff you listed better next month. if you'd make a new list you'd write down the same stuff you'd still have improved. There are so many things you can do just with a C-major chord that there is no such thing as 'being able to play it flawlessly'. What's more interesting is 'what can you do with that flawless C chord?' Stuff like that cannot be said on the internet.

So just forget about it and have fun. Making lists is a waste of time that could have been spend on having fun with the guitar.

Very well said....in fact, I've been playing around with just the C chord (in many of it's forms) for over a year and still haven't scratched the surface of all the things you can do with just the C chord.

When I was a beginning beginner, I also was concerned about my progress, so I think it's normal to wonder where your at in terms of technique, and as others have said, your doing good. Do you know any songs?

I may grow old, but I'll never grow up.


   
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yashicamat
(@yashicamat)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 271
 

I think progress is relative only to yourself. In that I mean if you feel you're making progress, then you probably are! As has been mentioned, and as I 8 months experienced player myself, it is very easy to be put in your place by a guitarist of 20+ years experience . . . but that's time and practice for you!
I take the attitude that as long as I'm enjoying it then I'm doing something right . . . I mean, that's the reason I picked up the guitar in the first place! To please numero uno. OK, it has some perks and it's great to jam with friends etc., not to mention being a great conversation topic, but ultimately I think with the exception of professionals, we pick up a guitar to enjoy ourselves.
I initially started learning with a book designed for acoustics (or seemingly so) but using an electric guitar. When I got tuition once every 2 weeks from a true-to-the-bone rocker, all that classic theory stuff went out the window. So now I am exploring a new avenue of blues music, a lot of it is back to square one again! So you're ahead of me as well!

Rob

If something's not worth doing it's worth forgetting about.
Epiphone Les Paul Std - Yamaha Pacifica 112XJ - Takamine EG340SC - Taylor Baby - Grainger Hammerhead 50 - Grainger Valve Five
http://www.youtube.com/yashicamatonline


   
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KirkD
(@kirkd)
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Joined: 16 years ago
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Topic starter  

Thank you all for the encouragement and the little bit of humility. Please, let me clarify a few things.

I did mention the word "flawlessly" to describe my chord progressions. In retrospect, I should have said that I can play the chord progressions cleanly. 8^)

I particularly like the suggestion to check out the easy songs section of the web site. This would give me something to work on that has a tangible result. Recently I've been practicing the intro to Sweet Child O' Mine (GNR) and can play it very well at about 3/4 speed. Of course, that assumes I'm not sitting in front of someone else - I get stage fright in front of my wife, my instructor, or my house plants, and start having issues with the intro.

Another option that came to mind is to record myself playing the Sweet Child intro or one of the songs I pick from the Easy Songs sections. Then, record myself again in a month and compare the two. This might give me the tangible feedback I'm looking for.

Thanks again!!!
-Kirk


   
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Nuno
 Nuno
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Another option that came to mind is to record myself playing the Sweet Child intro or one of the songs I pick from the Easy Songs sections. Then, record myself again in a month and compare the two. This might give me the tangible feedback I'm looking for.
Kirk, probably, it is the best you can do! When you play every day more or less the same songs or exercises you don't perceive the differences, But by recording you can save "pictures" of your improvement. It is a good source of motivation.


   
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DylanBarrett
(@dylanbarrett)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 628
 

Hi Kirk

I have asked the same question and got the same answers. I guess some people have a natural talent/ability and others have to work at it, then there's probably a lot that just give up because they can't play a simple two chord "easy song" in a few days (hey, I know what that feels like).

If you hadn't picked up a guitar before you started having lessons then it looks on paper as though you have a natural ability, you also sound very much like me in that we are perfectionists at heart and will always be very critical of our achievements, but I reckon that's where the similarity ends.

I am teaching myself using lessons from guitarnoise.com and haven't even heard of some of the things you have learned. I picked up the guitar less than one month ago and still struggling with a smooth changes while learning the fingering on House of the Rising Sun. I do like playing a well-known song while I'm learning but I know I must do some serious groundwork soon...

The only way I will be able to judge my progress is being able to play, say, Wish You Were Here all the way through without hesitation. I'll give myself three months (but I'll keep Horse With no Name in my back pocket just in case).

Learning to play the guitar is very frustrating but is also great fun and must be enjoyable whatever targets we set ourselves. Well done for achievements so far - I feel very humble....

Cheers, Dylan

I'm nowhere near Chicago. I've got six string, 8 fingers, two thumbs, it's dark 'cos I'm wearing sunglasses - Hit it!


   
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cnev
 cnev
(@cnev)
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Posts: 4459
 

I guess as a beginner everyone always wants to be able to have some objective scale to try and quantify their skill...in reality who cares. Are you having fun? If so then you'll be fine.

The bottom line is learning is a life time process, after a few months you'll get over trying to judge where you are and just set some goals to strive for.

Like Wes (another member says) keep playing and you'll get better.

Does it matter if you can switch between a C-G in two months or in three?

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


   
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