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Every month, Justin Sandercoe of justin­gui­ lends GT his in­sight as one of the world’s most suc­cess­ful guitar teach­ers. This month: Things I’d tell my teenage self

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS - Get more info and links to re­lated lessons on all Justin’s GT ar­ti­cles at www.justin­gui­­mag

Things are go­ing to change. That’s the only thing that is cer­tain. Peo­ple and things will come and go and tastes will change as you grow. Don’t be afraid of it. Re­spect it. Em­brace it if you feel you should, but trust your gut; some­times it’s bet­ter to rebel.

Your taste will change; mu­sic you love now might bore you in years to come. How I laughed as a long­haired metal head kid when my teacher told me that I would grow to love jazz. Don’t be afraid of be­ing wrong.

Try and be in the com­pany of peo­ple much bet­ter than you so you can learn from them. You’ll of­ten find the high­est con­cen­tra­tion of them in big cities where you have to be strong and fo­cused to sur­vive; so if you’re in a small town, it would be worth spend­ing time in a big city to ab­sorb its en­ergy and meet peo­ple. You don’t have to stay for­ever be­cause big city en­ergy stays in you long af­ter you leave it.

Try to find and be your­self, and no mat­ter who you be­come, strive to be the best self you can be. Be hon­est with your­self and other peo­ple and you will have noth­ing to hide and will al­ways be able to look peo­ple in the eye.

Prac­tise with dili­gence, there’s no sub­sti­tute for it. If you want to be good at some­thing you owe it to your­self to work on it. Many times you’ll find your­self alone in a room re­peat­ing the same thing over and over – try to stay in the mo­ment and ap­pre­ci­ate it no mat­ter how repet­i­tive it be­comes, but strive to make prac­tice as much fun as you can so that doesn’t be­come a chore.

Al­ways ask why. Be­fore you start do­ing any­thing, be sure to un­der­stand the goal and how this thing will help you get there. Don’t trust any­one ex­cept your­self – ask ad­vice from peo­ple you trust but test things your­self as best you can and be sure that the logic holds true be­fore com­mit­ing.

Your ears are for lis­ten­ing, not your eyes, so don’t let ap­pear­ances sway your judg­ment of mu­sic (or peo­ple!). Un­less you’re buy­ing a guitar of course – that is the ve­hi­cle you will use to ex­press your­self, and you should love ev­ery­thing about it.

‘Bet­ter’ is com­pletely sub­jec­tive: try not to mea­sure it, but feel it. You’ll find it’s dif­fer­ent things to dif­fer­ent peo­ple at dif­fer­ent times. Some­times you’ll want to be ‘bet­ter’ for oth­ers, some­times ‘bet­ter’ for your­self. Some­times you won’t care and that is okay too.

Re­mem­ber that taste is per­sonal and you should re­spect oth­ers’ taste as they should re­spect yours. Be con­fi­dent in your choices but make them wide and fluid. That we all like dif­fer­ent things is one of the most beau­ti­ful things about life – if we all liked the same things there would be just one ‘per­fect’ guitar, one amp, one style, one band. Some kind of hell?

Time passes much faster than we’d like, and even if it seems like you have all the time in the world, you don’t, so make the most of it. Every minute is pre­cious so try to avoid wast­ing it on anger, bore­dom or frus­tra­tion. Find things that fill you with hap­pi­ness and spend as much of your life do­ing them as you can… like play­ing guitar!

Justin has some sage ad­vice for you this month

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