Thursday, July 05, 2007

You don't need lessons

I’ve been playing guitar since I was 12.

Can’t read music.
Don’t know theory.
Never took a single lesson.

“You only need to know three chords: G, C and D,” my dad said. “The rest you’ll figure out on your own.”

So I did.

I learned by practicing every day.
I learned by writing my own songs.
I learned by going to lots of concerts.
I learned by listening to tons of great music.
I learned by playing with people who were better than me.

And that made me a better musician than I EVER could have become by paying some guy $60 an hour to teach me scales.

Guitar, I learned, was 90% self-taught.

INTERESTINGLY: over the years I’ve also come to learn that lots of stuff (ok, most stuff) is 90% self-taught:

Creating art.
Doing business.

Which doesn't mean that self-teaching is a replacement for lessons.
I'm sure all of us could use some help on those first three chords.

Which doesn't mean mentors, advisers and teachers aren't necessary.
I'm sure all of us could learn from the experiences of others.

But ultimately, I still believe: you don’t need lessons.

Just go. Just get started.

The best way to get good at something is to just start DOING that something.

How did you learn to do what you do?

Share your best anti-lesson tip here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Are you the luckiest person you know?

Watch Scott's interview on 20/20!

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