Learning to play an instrument can be a gruelling experience, filled with ups and downs that can leave you disheartened and wondering why you even began.

I shared a snippet of this video on my instagram account a while ago but wanted to feature it here in full.  I also wanted to expand on something a lot of musicians (myself included) seem to at some point forget.  Having fun!

What I Took Away From This Video

I’ve been playing guitar a very, very long time.  The key word this beautiful video emphasises is PLAY!

At some point it became way more than a hobby for me.  It’s become a stimulant for my brain, my body, and my sole.  At one point or another I almost always find myself stuck in one of those boxes.


Playing Guitar With Only Your Brain

My students know I’m a theory nut.  What they don’t tend to find out till much later, is that once you’ve learned all this theoretical stuff;  You forget it.  That’s not to say you shouldn’t learn it (quite the opposite!), but that you enter the state in which it is simply part of your vocabulary and in fact subconscious.

 DO use theory.  Use your brain and think about what you do on the guitar.  These will make you a better player.


DON’T use only your brain.  Guitar Theory is a framework.  It’s somewhere to start and a means in which to convey and communicate musical ideas.  Don’t always play by the rules.

Playing Guitar With Only Your Body

Guitarists more than most other instruments are incredibly dependent on patterns and technique in order to execute musically.  Some of these techniques and patterns are hard and can lead to feeling of inadequacy around not achieving, for example enough speed.

Playing technically; Or just using your body is simply repeating the same thing over and over again until you are good at it.  You need to do this at some point or another.  But don’t let it consume you!

DO practise technical things.  Get the point where they are available to you at your will.


DO practise technical aspects of the guitar in a musical context;  Runnings scales at breakneck speed to a metronome is fine, but can you do it in any given key and tempo for your genre of choice?


DON’T fixate on technique.  Technical prowess takes time, and it’s not a requirement of being an expressive musician.  People like BB King and John Mayer are perfect examples of learning how to ‘speak with your instrument’.


Playing Guitar With Sole

One of the hardest parts of music to quantify in almost any.every way is playing with ‘sole’.

Inspiration comes from a myriad of different places – find what inspires you and express it any way you can.  Now with that said; Don’t expect everyone to like the results!  Playing with sole, to me, is about expressing something.  That something has to be genuine and at times will be lead by playing with your body and brain;  but try to ask yourself about the impact it has on the listener.

DO explore the guitar without thinking to much about what’s ‘right’.  If it sounds good and conveys a feeling you like, then it’s right – run with it!


DO listen to what you are doing.  Playing with feel isn’t license to be ignorant to flaws in technique and other short comings.


DON’T ignore technique.  Leverage it!  Think of it as a dynamic;  Speed can be very impressive on guitar – but why are you using it?  What are you saying?

In Conclusion

Being a well rounded musician has a great deal to do with confidence.  Arriving at this confidence is a journey, and one that’s different for everyone.  Regardless of if you use your body, brain or sole (ideally all three) to explore this; follow what allows you to do this while having fun.

Need Some Help or More Advise?

Zaid Crowe, Guitar Teacher

Hi, I’m Zaid.

Get a free 30 minute lesson with me and I can help you out, or checkout some of my free online lessons for ideas and inspiration.  I’m constantly adding content to these section so follow me on social media for updates.

You can find out more about me and my lessons here, or get in touch to find out more.

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