Mastering Guitar Is Like Mastering Video Games
Learning a musical instrument is like playing a video game. It requires skill, knowing where what buttons to push to get a result and following a map to win. In 1988, the single hardest video game I have ever personally played as a kid was released. I remember Nintendo video games in the 80’s fondly as an incredible escape that catapulted me far beyond where music could take me. It most definitely ate into my practice time on a consistent basis at the music school I was attending at the time.
Enter Ninja Gaiden. Picture myself and fellow 12 year old friends engaged in the pointless struggle that was this game. However much fun we had at eliminating enemies that hid behind barrels of explosive oil or timing our perfect jumps to somehow miss its target due to poor placement of our landing or getting through a particularly tough board and starting at the beginning only to do it again… the frustration never ended. I’d like to point out that most of the frustration of the game was in its design. The coders of Ninja Gaiden could have just as easily put in a code portion to get us past these frustrations, but alas it was not to be.
Most of what I am talking about is similar to learning say, guitar. Not that we are standing next to burning oil tanks wearing bad guy clothes while we play guitar or any other instrument. If we are learning the ins and outs of an isntrument it can feel as though we are above our heads at times, that our instructor and his/her vision may not meet ours orthat we are frustrated! Anyway, Here is why success at video games is similar to learning guitar or anything other instrument like piano, vocals, drums or really anything:
1. To win, you must pass all the levels – “Winning” in music is simply just being able to learn your scales, songs and technique. Every week there is a win and eventually a level passed.
2. A new level or skill requires patience and determination to pass it- Determination in learning a skill in music requires the most basic elements of knowledge to understand then obtain the techniques. Basic attendance to weekly music classes without practice can eventually get you skills you can use to play certain pieces, but not necessarily mastery. Daily practice, just like daily obsession in a video game, can get you to mastery quicker. Usually the determination in a video game is to pass whatever it is you are playing to get to the next stage. Determination gets you there by trying, trying, trying then finally doing it, just like music.
3. Watching others play can give you a hand in learning more- Most avid musicians or gamers watch others play to get the secrets down. Find others, jam and ask questions
4. Passion for what you are playing is mandatory . If you love a game you will play it until your hands fall off. For me, I also played guitar until the tops of my fingers ached. Play until you simply can’t physically do it.
5. Frustration at progress or lack thereof . Use your frustration as the fuel to master your level. Don’t stop until you complete what you are working on.
I am sure other parallels can be made to how playing or learning guitar is similar to mastering a video game. Luckily, when learning guitar you get to continue going until you are tired and need a break. It doesn’t require a reset button, cheat codes or a special controller. All you need is the imagination and certain skills that you work on consistently.
~Daniel Powers Jr Founder and Chief Inspirer of Real Brave & After School Rocks. Find your inner rock star at one of our studios. We’ll help you find your strengths. instagram/ twitter @danielpowersjr