Why Dave Grohl Hated Music Lessons


This week, I have a snippet from an interview that Dave Grohl did on the Off Camera show that can help solve a problem I see a lot of self-taught players facing.

The problem: because we may not have a fully dimensional understanding of music theory or feel self-coinscious about our weaknesses and inabilities, we get discouraged, frustrated and lose enthusiasm about playing guitar.

Believe me, I’ve been there. It sucks when your insecurities (often subconsciously) dictate the direction your playing takes, whether it’s giving up, playing less, or constantly feeling like you should be slaving away on scale exercises instead of having fun and writing kickass riffs.

If you’ve ever felt this way, the video below might help change the way you look at your current guitar abilities and use what you don’t know to your advantage.

Like Dave or not, it’s worth checking out what he has to say about his self-directed approach to learning guitar and writing music.

Regardless of what you think of his guitar skills, you can’t deny that Dave’s music has reached, connected and influenced millions of people around the world.

Perhaps a better title for this video is Dave Grohl Proves You Don’t (Necessarily) Need Lessons to Create Music that Connects with People

The core of Dave’s philosophy stems from a very obvious distaste for authority and underlying need to figure things out on his own. This mindset will divide many people because some individuals love the process of self-discovery, while others prefer to learn things by following rules and understanding the “right” and “wrong” way.

There’s nothing wrong with either approach and the results will be different depending on the learning preference.

It’s clear that Dave’s goal wasn’t to have flawless technique and impress people with flawless instrumental prowess. He just wanted to make loud, authentic and energetic rock songs inspired by the music he loves, and he did this without allowing his lack of knowledge limit his creativity.

Lessons can be fantastic if you have the resources, time, attention and ability to make them count. But you can also achieve a powerful effect by allowing your own curiosity and influences to dictate the direction your musical progress takes.

Learn from Dave. Don’t do stop because of your lack of knowledge. Keep playing. Explore. Poke around. Find your own sound.

If you want to focus in on a certain style, go for it! If you want to get a teacher to work on some of your weak spots, do it. But don’t use a lack of formal music education as an excuse to stop playing. You’ll feel guilty about it. I did for years.

Here’s an Exercise for the Next Time You Pick Up Your Guitar:

Don’t think about what you don’t know – just play your guitar and try to write a song or riff that exploits your own idiosyncrasies as a player. Allow yourself to have less-than-perfect technique. Focus on what you do know instead of lamenting what you don’t.

If you have a your own unique way of looking at the guitar (like Dave Grohl demonstrated), RUN with it. Embrace your goofiness or your own approach to the instrument.

See if you can write a song or a riff that wouldn’t necessarily impress a guitarist, but might speak to someone you care about.

I’m not saying don’t learn, I’m saying don’t let your self-consicousness stop you from progressing and playing your guitar. You have things to say with your music. Say it.

I’d love to hear from you…

This article is part of a new weekly “guitar curation” series where I’ll do the hard work of finding the best guitar and music content online , delivering it to you, and showing you exactly how you can apply the lessons, techniques, ideas and concepts to make you a better guitarist and musician.

If you like this article and the idea of guitar curation and want to learn how you can get some of it tailored specifically to your personal guitar needs, simply fill out the contact form below and let me know what you’re struggling with.

I’m currently developing a service where I’ll take this guitar curation concept and make it highly personalized to fit your individual needs. I’m looking for beta students to help refine and stress-test the idea. If you’re interested, fill out the contact form and I’d love to chat!

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