Several years ago I came across a guitar student with a tremendous amount of passion for learning jazz guitar. He had great energy and was committed to practicing several hours each day. Unfortunately, he was filled with a lot of doubt about the best way to go about learning. What to work on, how to practice, and many other concerns. I gave him several suggestions of course, but one thing that came to mind each time was “be in it” or “do it.” What I mean by this is, we don’t need to worry too much about how good we are at guitar or jazz. If we have a strong interest in how music and guitar work, the results will arise from that. Teachers can point out pitfalls, explain what to practice, and how, among other things. But, students need to do the work and actively come up with ideas in their practice sessions. If someone wants to learn how to build motorcycles, they need to practice fixing them. Or take one apart and try to put it back together. When stuck they may ask someone with more experience. This is the kind approach students can really benefit from on guitar. We’re not building or repairing motorcycles or even guitars, but we are trying to figure out how the neck works and how musicians play live and on recordings. So trying to pull apart recordings and learn all the parts is a great way to learn. Taking guitar patterns and investigating how they work and getting really specific with them is so important. Each musician must take ownership of their skills and really make effort to be independent learners at least to some extent. We need to make sure that we practice because music is interesting, stimulating, and playing at a higher level is fun.