3 Cool Facts About Where Musical Skill Comes From And How To Use It To Learn To Play The Guitar

by Maurice Richard
Senior Instructor at Halifax Guitar Lessons

Musical skill. So many people would love to have it but many believe that you have to be born with it.

You may be one of those people. I used to be. Until I was proven wrong.

You see, there is a lot of research that has been done on the brain, on how we learn and how skill is developed.

Here are 3 cool facts about how skill is developed and how you can apply this and learn how to play the guitar.

new skills are learned including playing guitar

1. All Skill = Myelin

Most people have never heard of this substance but myelin, a fatty white substance unique to the nervous system, is what determines how advanced any of your skills are.

When you see someone with a highly developed skillset, you can literally equate that with myelin. This is simplifying things quite a bit but it gives you the idea.

What researchers studying skill found out is that the more developed a skill was in a person, the thicker the coating of myelin was for that specific pathway.

This should be great news to you because what this means is that all skill is created and learned. You are not born with it.

No matter how much of a child prodigy a person may seem to be, they had to create and learn the skill too.

2. Practice Is What Creates Myelin

Creating skill equates to practice. There is no way around this. Ever.

You may think about people like Mozart and believe what we have been told for years, that he was somehow born with his musical genius.

That could not be further from the truth. He may have had a stronger than normal desire to learn and play music, but all of his skills had to be learned.

What you may not realize is that he started to develop those skills at a very young age so that when he was a teenager he had already spent thousands of hours working at his craft.

That is also good news for you. If he had to learn it and was not born with it, that means you can learn to play the guitar if you really want to.

And you do not have to start at a young age. You can start at any age and be successful at learning how to play the guitar.

3. The Secret To Developing Skill

What is the actual secret to developing skill? Practice! Right? Tue, but not just any type of practice.

What you need in order to develop any skill is something called deliberate practice. What? Let me explain.

Have you ever heard of the saying that “it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill”? Most people have, but in case you did not, many researchers agree to this and there is a lot of proof it is correct.

One thing most people who have heard of this do not realize is that these masters did not randomly practice 10,000 hours. They did something called deliberate practice and why they became masters.

This is the real secret to developing skill quickly and many times the only thing that separates serious players that are masters versus the ones that are a tier below them.

Deliberate practice is essentially focused practice and the more you do this when you practice your guitar the faster you will progress. It is not easy, it feels like work and you will be mentally tired when you do it right, but it works.

success learning guitar skills comes with right teacher

All Skill Is Learned So You Can Learn To Play Guitar If You Do It Right

If you used to believe that skill was something you were born with, which is a very popular belief, you should be extremely excited about what I just discussed.

The good news is that playing guitar is a learned skill and that means you can definitely learn how to do it if you want to.

However, you need to go about it the right way. It is more difficult in the beginning stages and because of this can be frustrating. Especially if you try to do it on your own or with an untrained teacher.

To make sure you have the best chance at success learning to play the guitar I highly recommend finding a professionally trained guitar teacher. Someone who has actual training on how to teach and how to specifically teach guitar.

Why is this so important? Because they will understand how to integrate all of the things I have been discussing above and help you learn and play the guitar in the shortest amount of time.