So here’s a topic that I’ve heard about so often in my life, but that I’ve rarely seen
online or in a YouTube video.
This would crop up all the time in 1 to 1 lessons with guitar students of any age or
It’s when someone doesn’t practice guitar for fear of what someone else thinks or might think.
There are as many examples of this as there are songs in the world. From the friend who
would love to play guitar, but only if he was amazing so he could show off to
everyone, to the teenager that is afraid of anyone else finding out he plays in
case they think he is not good.
Even house mates or family members can inadvertently stop you wanting to practice. Guitars
can be loud things, and everyone tells you to ‘keep it down’. Or it can feel embarrassing
to start something new and have others think that you’re not any good.
It’s a lot easier to practice guitar and play in front of others when it is expected from
you. From an early teenager, I was the ‘music guy’ or the ‘guitar guy’ to
everyone I knew. NOT because I was any good, but just because so few school friends
or neighbours played.
I’m really fortunate to have grown up in a musical family. Practicing music was always
gently encouraged and unless it was past 10pm at night, I was never told to
stop playing music. Ever.
Without my older brother being in bands and playing guitar, we wouldn’t have had guitars in the
house for me to see and learn about. I certainly wouldn’t have thought that
playing a gig was possible, but he showed me it was.
Without my Mum singing in an amateur operatic society and my Dad singing at the top of his
voice in the shower every morning, I might not have thought that singing was a
normal thing that it was fine to do.
Without my sister playing in orchestras, I wouldn’t have known that playing music with
others could be such fun and lead to opportunities like playing at great events
and even travelling abroad.
If you want to learn music, it’s an absolute blessing to grow up in a musical family.
If you haven’t, I can see how playing music and practicing guitar can just feel alien to you,
and that it can be easy to be put off from doing it.
But, if you give people a chance and let them know that this is important to you, I bet you’ll
surprised how accepting others can be if you really want to play guitar.
The great thing about guitar is that it can be practiced mainly in private, unlike most
sports or other hobbies, where the hard learning is usually done in front of
And if you’re hung up on having to be ‘amazing’ before you play guitar with or in front of
anyone, then let me tell you this.
When I play guitar in front of friends, family or at a performance, I am rarely playing the
most technical thing I can play. Folks are rarely interested in technically
People tend to want to listen to music that they recognise or identify with, not something ‘impressive’.
People want to hear you play a song that they know, or a song that is an expression or a statement of who you are.
They really don’t care about whether you can nail the F barre chord yet or not.
There are so many no musical skills that are learned by learning an instrument. This is part of that.
How you deal with this is specific to your situation. Just know that you are not alone.
And don’t let what other people might think stop you from playing guitar.