Episode 24 of the Bite-Size Guitar Podcast looks at how you can expand your comfort zone and why you should regardless of your current skill level.
I’ll share a few different ways you can try to expand your comfort zone on guitar you can try this week and why it’s worth the effort.
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The challenge for this episode is for you to try and expand your comfort zone.
There are so many different topics, techniques, and songs you could work on to try and challenge yourself.
If you’ve listened to the suggestions covered in the episode and want to try something different, check out the list of guides and lessons here for ideas.
Pick one of those topics you’ve been wanting to learn but have been putting off. Challenge yourself to read the guide/lesson in full and put it into practice this week.
Podcast Episode 25 Transcript
Hi, I’m Aaron from guitargearfinder.com and this is episode 25 of the Bite-Size Guitar podcast.
In this episode, I’ll talk about something important every guitarist needs to keep in mind.
In the first episode of this podcast, I talked about how to get out of a rut and why the worst rut is the one you don’t know you’re in.
One of the ways you can get into a rut without realizing it is if you stop trying to expand your comfort zone on guitar. If you only stick to playing the songs you’ve already learned or you only play around on guitar with things you’ve done before, the chances are you’re already in a rut or you’ll be in one soon.
Think back to the last time when you were struggling to learn something, then eventually it all clicked and you were able to do it. It’s a great feeling. When you notice that you’re better than you were a week or a month ago, it makes guitar more fun to play.
At a certain point, a lot of guitarists stop trying to expand their comfort zone. Guitar is hard to learn from the very beginning, but there comes a time when you don’t feel like pushing any harder will be worth it. This is how guitarists plateau – they don’t feel the urge to push ahead, so they stick to what they know.
If you’re happy with your current abilities, then that’s okay. But the chances are you’ll enjoy guitar more the further you expand your comfort zone.
So let’s look at a few ways you can expand your comfort zone and this week, I suggest trying at least one of these ways. See what it’s like to expand your comfort zone and if you find that you discover something new you enjoy playing, you can do it again and again.
Hard Songs or Techniques
The first way you can expand your comfort zone is to work on anything that feels hard. If there’s a song, a solo, or a technique that you want to learn but have been putting it off because it feels hard, work on it.
Any time you’re working on something that feels hard, you’re pushing yourself forward. You might not feel like you’re making progress, but you will be.
If you look at it in a different way, if you’re working on something that feels easy, you’re not making progress. Practicing something that already feels easy isn’t going to push your skills and abilities forward.
So take a look at all the songs you want to learn and pick out one that feels just a bit too hard for you right now. Chip away at it and don’t give up. Even if it takes you an entire week to play one small section of the song, that’s fine. You’ll be better off having put that work in.
Working on anything that feels hard is a great way to expand your comfort zone and you’ll be a better guitarist if you stick with it.
Styles of Music You Don’t Like
Another way to expand your comfort zone is to explore other styles of music you don’t normally listen to. While some people are open minded to a lot of styles of music, there are probably a few genres that you don’t like.
Maybe you can’t stand listening to country music, or you think electronic music isn’t real music. Most people have at least some hesitation to some styles of music.
But the truth is there’s something you can learn from every style of music. There’s something you can appreciate in all styles of music. There’s even something you can take from any style of music and add it to your own style to make you a better musician.
The problem is when you shut yourself off from even considering the good points in other styles of music, you miss out on all of those things. When you outright dismiss any style of music, you’re limiting your potential to grow as a musician.
You might not feel like it matters if you dismiss a style of music you don’t like, but doing that limits the way you see music.
As a challenge, this week listen to some music in a style that you don’t like. Try to listen to it with an open mind and look for at least one thing in each song you can appreciate.
For example, maybe you notice the way the drums and bass lock together. Even if you hate everything else in the song, focus on the drums and bass and appreciate it.
The harder this challenge feels, the more you get out of it.
I’ve done this with many of my students over the years and it’s always worthwhile. I’ll find out what style of music they can’t stand, then I’ll put a song from that genre on and ask them to find something in it they like. Usually when I do this, they push back and say that it sucks and there’s nothing they like about it. But then we’ll break the song down and look at each instrument and each part. Eventually, they’ll find something that they find interesting. Then we’ll take that part or idea and take it over to their style of music.
If you really try, the same thing will happen to you. This week, try listening to some music that you usually don’t like, but try to listen to it with an open mind and look for things to appreciate in it. If you look hard enough, you’ll find something.
What Are You Afraid Of?
Another way you can expand your comfort zone is to think about what you’re afraid of when it comes to guitar.
You might be afraid of performing in front of other people, you might be afraid of learning to read music, you might be afraid of not being able to play the things you want to play, it could be anything.
Think about what intimidates you, then think about how you could try to start working on that area.
For example, let’s say you’re terrified of the idea of performing in front of other people. That’s really common and a lot of guitarists struggle to get past that fear. But if you never try to push past it, you’ll miss out on a big part of being a guitarist. It’s a lot of fun to jam with other musicians and perform, so if you can push past this fear, you’ll be better off.
Once you identify something that intimidates you or you’re afraid of, the next step is to figure out the steps you can take to overcome that fear.
If you’re afraid of performing in front of people, you might start by playing one specific thing you’re good at to one person who you feel comfortable with. Then try performing something else you’re less comfortable with to that person.
The main point is that if you never try to push past these fears, you’re going to get stuck in a rut and miss out on a lot.
This week, think about what you’ve been avoiding and try to take baby steps to work towards overcoming that fear. It’s going to be hard and you’ll find plenty of reasons not to do it, but if you stick with it, you’ll be better off.
It’s hard to talk about comfort zones because it’s hard to see your own comfort zone. It’s even harder for me to try and convince you to push past your comfort zone because as you might expect, it feels uncomfortable when you try it.
But if you can remember a time when you felt good about being able to play something you once struggled with, you’ll know why it’s worth expanding your comfort zone.
If you put the effort in and notice that you’ve expanded your comfort zone after trying one of the suggestions I’ve covered here, let me know. It’d be great if I could share listener stories of how you’ve used what I’ve talked about in your playing.
If you’ve been enjoying this podcast, it’ll mean a lot to me if you could help me grow it. You’ve probably noticed that this podcast doesn’t have any sponsored messages interrupting the episode, there are no long and rambling intros that take forever to get to the real content and that I try to give you useful advice in the shortest time possible.
If you find this podcast helpful, please share it with other guitarists. Let them know what you’ve got out of it and why they may find it useful. I’d really like to keep this podcast going, so if you could share it with one or two other guitarists you think might help, that would mean a lot to me.
Thanks for listening and I’ll talk to you next time.