Hello from Brian - A newbie frustrated by plateau(s)

So, I’m turning 80 in a few months and decided a couple years ago that learning to play a guitar would be a great covid project.

I have no musical background at all.

I followed the original program religiously and seemed to be gaining a bit of skill. My wife though could not really recognize a song and preferred that I keep the door closed even after the first year! I still love her even though her support is limited to encouraging me to keep at it because I enjoy the journey so much.

But, i seem to have reached a plateau perhaps because I started to learn to read music, looked at other learning platforms, and jumped around in the course. I am finally starting over at the beginning.

Has anyone else had this sort of problem? I guess I’m frustrated because I just can’t seem to find any sense of rhythm.

As an example of my abilities I was actually looking to say hello in the Old Timers Community and I wound up here. While I do not expect a biblical transformation perhaps others will have worked through this or at least might take comfort in knowing they are not alone.

My sense is that I should not have tried to do too many things at once and just followed the program.

Anyway my very best wishes to everyone.



That’s more than the support I get for practicing so you’re being spoiled :wink:

But plateau’s are a thing and they often on the same spots.

  • when learning barre chords
  • learning songs and not being able to actually play a complete song
  • wanting to get into improvising
  • wanting to develop lead skills and speed
  • when trying to understand music in order to make music

If you recognize one or more of these, that’s not so strange
You might have other things holding you back.

Sticking to one plan will help but it’s not illegal to explore.
You’ll need to set good, measureable and realistc goals (s.m.a.r.t. goals)

As one of Justin’s Approved Teachers, I made it my mission to help students to find -their- path in the course and to get out the rut.
I’m not saying that to promote private lessons but to show that we are here to help you with that.

By all means, tell us where you are course wise and share a little SWOT

Strengths: what are you good at
Weaknesses: what skills are, compared to your level, under average?
Opportunities: What’s in store for you, what sparks your joy? what do you want to do with your new skills?


Rhythm is key. I struggled with it for literally decades (I’m 64), but finally cracked it a couple of years ago.

If you are so inclined, create a new topic (so it won’t get lost in this topic about learning plateaus). Maybe call it “I can’t find my sense of rhythm”.

I’ll tell you what worked for me. And no doubt others will have lots of great suggestions too.

You are on a good path here with Justin. And starting over from scratch is probably the best thing you can do.


Hi Brian:

I whole heartedly agree that it can be challenging as a senior learning something new, but you can do it. I recommend starting at lesson one and breezing through what you know. Take the time to master each step. I skipped around some and found out a year later my strumming needs a lot of work. The good news is you can always go back and review. One stepping stone I did not regret is Justin’s music theory course. There are a few free modules and understanding the music note circle and how it all fits together made a lot of sense to me. It also helps understanding what it means playing in the key of something (i.e key of C). The best advice as in life is to take it one day at a time, build confidence with small victories, and in time you will master everything. I really applaud your efforts.


@Brian99 what grade/module did you make it to in Justin’s program?

The fact that you are on the community is a “tell” that you like this guitar thing…if that’s the case don’t get discouraged, keep at it and maybe take a step back to basics and tell us where you are in the program. One thing I’m learning is that this takes grit.

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This is going to run contrary to any kind of formal teaching, but you need to work out your own sense of rhythm and timing. So you didn’t play THAT song exactly like the recorded version, who cares? It’s all green fields, plow away.

I was where you are a number of years ago. I wasn’t getting much support for my music from anyone. I basically turned away from music and turned to other creative outlets. All it took for me was a friend to come around and ask me to play for him and his wife. The fire was lit again and here I am with a wall full of guitars and an underperforming youtube channel. I love all of it.

Stay the course and hang out with the good people here, you’ll get on the right track. :slight_smile:


I’ve been playing for five and a half years, and my wife still wants me to close the door when I play. Does absolute wonders for my confidence! :laughing:

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My Hat’s off to you Brian taking on this challenge as you are heading onto 80. I decided to take the plunge 7 years ago when I turned 60. I don’t know if anyone has visited more learn guitar sites on the Net then I have. It is so easy to get distracted on YOUTUBE chasing this link and that link. I’d find that after a hour and a half I accomplished nothing. After signing up for several online lessons and private lessons I have finally decided that the best bar none site is Justin Guitar. His lessons are well structured and his lesson plans are excellent. If you can be discipline your self to follow the practice plan that you set up for yourself I feel I have accomplish more in 20 minutes practice than 3 days of chasing down rabbit hole after rabbit hole. As for your rhythm I used the Ole’ Faithful strum until finally one day I notice I was playing by feel and it sounded Dam Good Too! I find if I mute the strings and try and get a feel for the rhythm and then incorporated the chords works for me. Keep it up and your wife will be bragging about you before you know it. Thanks all for your time and input and most of all thank you Justin and your amazing team for putting together the best online program out there your passion is evident. Take care Ryan 23 from east coast of Canada.

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Welcome to the Community, Brian. You’ve received sound advice already. My own 2cs worth …

I’d stay with Justin’s program and be methodical at following each lesson of each module in sequence. Justin has years of experience and has a tried and tested program that has helped many to learn. I’m not saying its the best or the only, just one that works. I think following the programme, slow and steady (in my case usually slow slow slow) will enable you to develop rhythm over time. Patient and persistent, disciplined and deliberate, and you’ll get to the point where the songs become more recognisable.

Keep on keeping on!

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Hi Brian.
Just keep at it. I think Clint gave you some excelent advice.
And your lucky with your wife. Mine hates it and has never heard me played a single song :rofl:

Keep it up Brian and one day it just connects…

Welcome Brian. I would stick to Justins course from wherever you are now. As well as that try playing some songs, they will not sound like originals at present but as time goes on they will get better. Maybe buy Justins beginner songbooks, there are strumming patterns included and should help with rhythm . Then try playing along with the original.

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Wow, thanks Ryan. Such familiar rabbit holes…maybe for me it was an excuse. I remember a while ago thinking I was getting somewhere and I just wasn’t and got iscouraged…

Thanks again…I’ll keep at it and I agree Justin’s is the best.

Thanks i really appreciate your help!

Our long suffering wives!! Best regards and thanks

Thanks David, I will and I do appreciate the community support!

Hey Markr…our poor long suffering wives…thanks again!

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Thanks for the encouragement ct!

I made it all the way through the beginner level but have gone back to square one…and learning theory as I go along too.

And you are so correct,grit and perseverance and eventually….

Hi SD thank you for your support and I have purchased the theory course and determined to stop jumping around and simply follow Justin’s programme…thanks again for your support.

Thanks, I so appreciate you and everyone’s support!