How To Become A Great Guitarist: 5 Keys to Achieving Greatness In Your Guitar Playing
By Tom Hess
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In addition to my dedication to develop greatness in my own musical life, my focus is on cultivating, enhancing and expanding the greatness in other guitar players like yourself. Through many years of teaching, coaching and training thousands of guitar players from a wide variety of backgrounds, skill levels, musical styles, goals, ages and countries, I've found that there are five keys to becoming a great guitarist.
The first key to greatness is the easiest one to acquire. In fact, it's effortless… because you already have it. It's the 'potential' to become a great guitarist. Some guitarists still believe that only people born with 'special guitar playing or musical DNA' can truly become great guitarists. This is completely false and I've personally proven it to be false again and again and again with each time I've successfully trained ordinary people to become outstanding musicians.
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It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Either way, you will become what you believe.
I've never met anyone who REALLY wants to be just average or mediocre. You don't want to be an average guitar player and musician (if you did, you would not be reading my message on greatness). You want your guitar playing and music to be about something far more than simple mediocrity.
Here's what we know so far:
- Everyone already possesses the potential to become a great guitarist and musician.
- We become what we believe we will become.
- Deep down, all guitar players want to become a great. So why do so few guitarists ever achieve greatness? The answer is almost always due to a breakdown in one or more of the remaining 4 key elements of attaining musical greatness.
Even though most people get stuck in at least one of these areas, the best news is, everyone (yes, including you) absolutely can overcome them all.
If a little voice in your head just told you, "...but Tom, MY situation is different, I can't overcome them!", I give you permission to tell that little voice to SHUT UP!!... because: No, your situation is NOT different! Yes, you ARE a unique person, but not so different that the principles below somehow don't apply to you.
The second key: The first problem is that you've never been given a complete and real definition of what musical greatness actually is. (No, it's not about playing guitar really fast, developing musical skills or acquiring knowledge, imitating your favorite players, nor does it have anything to do with having an 'original' style.) You've probably heard and read many 'opinions' about what it takes to be great, but frankly, most of those opinions come from people who aren't qualified to make definitive statements about what real greatness actually looks like.
You need to understand specifically what greatness is on an organic, foundational and core level and ignore all the superficial stuff that some people say that it is.
You need someone to show you, "Here's what greatness looks like in the way you create your guitar practice schedule to reach your musical goals." "Here's what greatness looks like in the way you zoom in and zoom out your conscious mental focus as you go through the training process and how that is totally different & separate from practicing." "Here's what greatness looks like in the way you apply what you are learning to real life guitar playing, performing, songwriting or improvising." "Here's what greatness looks like in the way you learn, how you learn, what you learn and the strategic order that you learn the things you want and need to learn, know and master." "Here's what greatness looks like in the way you learn to fully express yourself musically and how others will understand your emotions through masterful expression." "Here's what greatness looks when you're moving in the right direction, at the right speed and becoming successful in all of these areas."
The third key: If you don't know exactly, clearly and specifically what you want to achieve as a musician - in very detailed terms, then how do you plan to ever get there? It's like saying, "I want to buy a Christmas gift for my sister, but I have absolutely no clue what to buy for her. I don't know if I should buy her jewelry, clothes, perfume, a mobile phone, a bicycle, or... power tools." So on the day before Christmas you find yourself at the mall, aimlessly walking around for hours, visiting each store 3 times and you eventually settle for some mediocre gift… Christmas Eve comes and the family gathers around the Christmas Tree and your sister opens up your mediocre gift......... 12 boxes of paper clips that you found on sale at the office supply store on the way home from the mall.
Back to music now: If you don't know exactly what you want, how could you possibly know what path to take, what resources you need or which strategies to implement? Knowing exactly the specific things you want to achieve will determine all the choices you need to make and the actions that you must take.
The fourth key: For the few musicians who do know what greatness really looks like in all the ways discussed above, and know exactly what they want and what path to take that will guarantee to take them there, there is yet the next problem to solve and key to acquire.
Fact is, most people don't have the self-confidence, faith or belief in themselves, in their potential, ability, and capacity to make a deep commitment to become a great guitarist and back up that commitment with relentless, pig-headed determination to succeed.
So instead, they aimlessly and half-heartedly do what they've always done… and get what they've always got - mediocre, average and unfulfilling guitar playing skills. Frustration, self doubt and lack of motivation set in sooner or later. Many become intimidated, insecure and procrastinate on doing anything to finally put an end to this madness and start manifesting their own full potential for true, deep and unstoppable greatness.
The fifth key:
If you CAN:
- Get clarity on what greatness is supposed to look like in all ways, levels and aspects...
- Get an idea of the strategies and tactics to get there in the fastest, best and most sure way...
- Believe enough in yourself, in your potential and in the path forward...
...then you will get started immediately to become the great guitarist you want, can and deserve to be. However, once you've truly begun to fully pursue your greatness, if you struggle, become frustrated, impatient, embarrassed, or distracted, there is a very good chance you'll get stuck again. This is where people who get this far on their own will often slide right back down to their old ways of acting, thinking, feeling and believing...
It's simply easier to abandon your pursuit of greatness than it is to continue pursuing it by staying on track moving forward. You return to where you started…. back to the old comfort zone of mediocrity. Why does this happen? My theory is, you don't have anyone who truly believes in you, who supports and inspires you, who holds you accountable, but who is also there to help you get back up when you fall. You don't yet have anyone who will listen to what you are going through AND understands every word of it because he's/she's seen it hundreds of times before and has lived it himself/herself in the past too... To achieve your greatness, you need all 5 keys. You need someone with vast proven experience to support you, teach you, coach you, train you, mentor you and inspire you. Someone who will put you on the right path and work relentlessly to keep you there until you become the great guitar player, musician and human being you are destined to be.
This is NOT a sales pitch to buy something. I'm selling nothing here. My message to you is simply to offer an explanation of why you have not yet become the great guitarist that you were destined to become since the day you were born - and how to finally attain what is rightfully yours, starting today - Your Greatness!
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