Willow Smith Explains Why She Wanted to Learn Guitar on Her Own: ’I Didn’t Even Know What Chords I Was Playing’

Let’s get one thing straight — there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to learn how to play an instrument. As long as you’re getting your message across and expressing yourself through your instrument, it’s all good. And fortunately for all of us today, we have this wonderful thing called the internet and we can use all of the knowledge at our disposal to learn how to play on our own.

Or, if you’re feeling lucky, you can just try and figure out the instrument all by yourself, even without the vast knowledge that’s at our disposal. And according to what she said in a recent chat with The Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan, Willow Smith used this method to learn how to play guitar.

Although not known as a guitar player, Willow slowly started introducing the instrument to her music, giving it wider and younger audience. Discussing her guitar journey, Willow said (via Kerrang!):

“When I first started playing the guitar, I started in a very unorthodox way. I didn’t pick up an electric guitar… I also told myself I wasn’t going to get a teacher. Even if it was weird, I wanted to develop my own style of playing…”

“The first album that I made with my guitar, I was in the studio and I didn’t even know what chords I was playing. The freedom that gave me to do the craziest stuff.”

“I have a song called ‘And Contentment’, I am pretty sure I completely changed the key in this breakdown in the song.

“Even though that came from a place of not really knowing how to play the guitar, that is one of my favorite chord progressions I have ever made because it is so unexpected. My favorite musicians take the song wherever they want to take it.”

Photo: YouTube Screenshot via Vicky Mitryakova


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.