#1
I've been trying to learn acoustic guitar since August 2011 and I just don't seem to 'get it' even now!! Left hand just doesn't move fast enough to get to the correct chord. Teech is very patient [bless] and insists I don't give up - he already tutors my 2 sons who are very talented, so he just does half an hour with me after they've had an hour or so each.

Trouble is, I seem to need to practice for about 45 mins to get anywhere near OK .

I know I'm never going to be a 'good' player - I'd just like to play a few songs at the right speed!!

Just to add to the mix I do find it very hard to concentrate and I had a radical left mastectomy and reconstructive surgery several years ago, which required cutting through muscle under my shoulder blade on the left. As a result I have no feeling in my left armpit, but wonder if there might be underlying damage that means my left hand doesn't work so well?

Anyone else had a similar experience, or am I just not admitting that actually I can't play guitar and ought to stick to the triangle?!
#2
August 2011 is only half a year ago though? I would side with your teacher and say that you shouldn't give up. After half a year I was still really struggling with some stuff I would now consider very very basic. There's no shame in that. Given your age it might come slower, no offense intended of course but the young with their nimble fingers and malleable minds might adjust to something faster. But research actually shows you can always learn something new no matter your age, so that should definetly not be a factor.

I always find that repetition is key. Play the chords slowly at first, repeat their pattern over and over and at some point your fingers will 'know' what to do and concentration will no longer be a part of it.

As for your medical condition, I really don't know if that'll play a part or not. If it involves cutting/removing/damaging nerves that may lead to your hand it may... although the name muscle memory suggests it comes from the muscles in your hand/fingers.

You may want to consider warming up your fingers before playing. You can do stretching exercises to get them more loose before you start playing, so you don't have to play for X minutes to get into the groove so to say. There are some nice YouTube vids on the subject :-)

Aside from all that, everyone comes across these periods where they wonder if they're ever going to be any good at playing guitar. It's normal and it'll blow over. Just don't give up and keep practicing :-)
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#3
Thanks! Azunaii!! Really appreciate the comments. Just got in from work and got a bit of spare time now to chill and have a play - off I go!! [before kids / husband come in from school / work etc!!

Really hard to find time to play too, as I prefer to be on my own - surrounded by customers all day, then dogs, kids and DH the rest of the time, I have to grab any chance I get!!
#4
So much for that!! hubby just came home and had orders to do!! Might get 10 mins in now before school run. Ho hum!!
#5
Yeah it takes a long time for us older people to progress. Kids just soak stuff up and make stuff look easy. Just give it time.
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#6
Don't be too hard on yourself, becoming proficient on a musical instrument takes patience, time, and practice, and from what I've seen, the guitar is one of the toughest ones to learn. Because of high over expectations, new students, especially teens and adults, want to measure their progress in weeks instead of months and years. Often students don't notice their own progress, and feel that their efforts are futile, but then a friend or family member will comment (and all of us love this this comment, no matter what the skill level), "your getting better", which offers untold encouragement to go on.

As long as you don't notice any problem in your arm or fingers doing everyday things, and your not feeling any pain other then the usual fingertip sorness that all new students get, then it shouldn't impede your ability to learn. By far, the number one comment by beginners is that their fingers don't work the way they want them to, but to be safe, it might be a good idea to have your doctor check your hand out for range of motion on your next visit.

Being that you have school age children, a job, and taking care of a household, finding time for practice is certainly your biggest challenge, good for you that you can find time at all. Since you have such limited time, if possible, try to set your practice time where you will have the least amount of interuptions, talk it over with your family and get them to appreciate it's importance to you, if will greatly improve your concentration level.

The first six months are definately the hardest, I guarantee that it will get easier as you move forward. Guitar is a lifelong skill and can bring years of fun and satisfaction.

Keep it up and lots of luck.
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#7
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#8
sounds like the instructor may not be the right one for you - being good doesn't mean good for everyone as we all learn and relate differently. maybe you're trying to learn stuff that's ahead of your abilities, and you'd find more satisfaction in dialing the songs back a notch so you can get a bunch of complete tunes under your belt.

btw, i've been playing for decades, and have played out, in bands for many years, and instructors say i'm an advanced player, yet on new stuff my left hand often tends to "learn" more slowly than my right. i no longer worry about it - i just enjoy playing
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#9
Don't worry about it -- progress takes a lot of time!

If it were easy, it wouldn't be such an accomplishment to play well =^)

Don't worry about speed. Just practice with your metronome, and adjust the speed upward a little bit once you are able to play a song well. After a long time, you'll be playing full speed. There's no rushing this process -- doing so just results in inferior technique and tone.

Good luck!
#10
i've been at it since july. it can get frustrating but when i "get" something, it feels wonderful. i dont worry about my progress...... i have the rest of my life.
#11
It took me a good solid year before I felt like I was able to quickly switch between chords etc. I basically told myself that I was going to commit to not taking more than a day off from playing, and keep sticking with it. You have to realize when you see someone that is really good at guitar, they have probably been playing for years or possibly decades