By Maurice Richard
You’ve got the first part down. You have learned how to play guitar at a decent level.
But for whatever reason you can’t play with others. When someone asks you what you know and to show them you shrink and tell them you don’t know much yet.
Then you get invited to the party or campfire and you know there will be some people playing guitars and singing but you decide to leave yours home.
You really want to do those things but you just don’t feel ready. This is actually a very common thing. Most new guitar players feel this way and it is totally normal.
Here are 3 things that you can do to help overcome the fear of playing with others.
1. Record Yourself And Play Along
To be able to play with others requires several skills that most new guitar players do not have or know how to develop.
That’s because most people learn in isolation and do not realize playing with others is different. The first time you try to do it and things go south tends to discourage people and makes them think they can’t really play at all.
This is normal. You can probably play decently by yourself but then things you find easy by yourself fall apart when you play it with others. I experienced this myself and it’s no fun.
What you can do to start developing your skills to be able to play with others is to record yourself playing a song you want to play with others and then play it back while you join in live.
Next, don’t worry if the recording is not perfect or if you think it does not sound good. This is going to happen with others anyway and is great training.
This is a pretty easy first step to take and will start you down the road to playing with others successfully.
2. Play With Actual Music
When Guitar Hero and Rock Band games came out they sold like crazy. Why? Because people wanted to play the same songs as the rock stars did.
Those games were a lot of fun and they made you feel like you were playing along with the songs but it’s not the same when you have a guitar shaped game controller.
One way to help you gain confidence playing guitar, increase your skills and help you be ready to play with other people is to play to the actual music with your real guitar.
This will help train all those skills that you need to develop to play in a group. However, I have to warn you. This is not as easy as it sounds.
It is much easier to play along with a recording of yourself as noted in part 1. When you play with the actual music you hear many other instruments as well as the singer.
Most people struggle with this at first because there is a lot going on but the biggest issue is they pick a song that is way too fast and that they do not know how to play as well as they could yet.
The secret to making this work is to start with a very slow song with few chord changes. This will help you listen, process and then react properly.
The more you do this the more confident you will become and the easier it will be to play with others.
3. Actually Play With Others
The best way to gain confidence playing with others is to actually do it.
It may seem daunting and you will probably make mistakes, but there is no better way to get over the fear of playing with others. Tackling it head-on will help you destroy in the shortest amount of time.
With that said, not everyone can muster up the courage to go for it. I get it because I was there myself.
It can be difficult to adapt when there are a lot of other people trying to play at the same time so it’s best to start in smaller numbers if you can.
What I recommend you do is to play with one other person first. Someone you can trust and who would be helpful instead of critical of your playing.
I have found that most guitar players are like this. Once you get the hang of it with one person you can ask them to bring another person and build from there until you are ready for more.
The problem is most people do not have others that they can play with like this. So what do you do then?
Find An Experienced Guitar Teacher To Train You
Finding a good guitar teacher can help reduce the amount of time it will take you to become confident playing with others.
They can help get your skills up faster and train you in ways you would never even think of. This alone can give you the confidence you need to play with others.
But it’s not always enough. So what you need to do is find a guitar teacher that will have programs that will give you opportunities to play with others.
Not many can provide this kind of training so you have to seek them out until you find them.
It’s important to find someone who already has experience training people to play with others though. Make sure to ask them for proof that they have done this and can help you too.
Once you gain that confidence and start playing with others you will take your guitar playing to another level and it is a lot of fun too!
About The Author:
Maurice Richard is a professional guitar teacher that operates out of the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He has been a member of an elite guitar teaching mentorship program since 2007 and has taught many people how to overcome the fear of playing guitar with others.