5 Things You Can Do To Make Your Guitar Practicing More Effective And Reach Your Goals Sooner
By Maurice Richard
We’ve all heard it, many times I am sure, that practice makes perfect.
And of course, that old adage is absolutely true but only if you add something to it. On its own it can be misleading.
The reality is that “the right” kind of practice is what makes perfect. If you practice for 3 hours a day but you do it incorrectly, you are not going to improve much.
Here are 5 things you can do to make your guitar practicing more effective so you can improve much faster and reach your goals sooner.
1. HAVE A PLAN FOR EACH GUITAR PRACTICE SESSION
A plan for your guitar practice sessions is essential to get the most out of each minute you have. It helps you know exactly what you need to practice and for how long.
If you are not sure what you need to learn or practice don’t worry. For now, simply start to write down things you want to work on and improve. That single act is enough to help you be more efficient.
To create a more effective practice plan requires more information. You need to know where you are going, the steps needed to get you there and in what order to do them.
Since you are just learning how to play guitar you are not going to know this. So, what should you do in this case?
Seek out a professionally trained guitar teacher who will create a personalized plan just for you to help you reach your goals.
They will show you the right things to practice, in what order and how to do it as effectively as possible.
Great teachers will not overwhelm you with the whole plan either. They will give you each piece you need as you are ready for it.
2. BE FULLY FOCUSED DURING GUITAR PRACTICE
In order to be effective, your guitar practicing must be focused.
There are two types of ways to practice guitar. There’s noodling and focused practicing.
Noodling is when you keep working on the things you already know. The easy and fun stuff. It requires none of your attention and you can usually do it while watching T.V. or some other activity.
Focused practice is when you pay attention to everything that you are doing on guitar. It means you are intentional about what happens, and you look and listen for things to improve. And then work on them.
Noodling does not make you a better guitar player. Focused practicing does. That does not mean you should never have fun during practice time, but you should limit it if you want to improve.
3. ISOLATE PROBLEMS DURING YOUR GUITAR
Once you have a plan for practicing you need to make it as effective as possible.
This is where most people get it wrong when they are practicing and this can lead to slow progress, frustration and quitting.
The belief is that practice makes perfect, and more practice makes you perfect quicker. And that’s true, but only if you practice the right way.
What you need to do is learn to spend your time on the most productive things. The best way to do this is to find the smaller and more specific areas you are struggling with and focus on them.
For example. Many people practice songs on guitar when they are at home. They start at the beginning and go through the entire song. That may take 5 minutes.
The majority of the time you probably already know 90% of the song well. But there is that one little part that messes you up every time. If you focused on that area for that 5 minutes and got it better the entire song improves.
This is an extension of being fully focused and can really help you improve your playing quickly!
4. PRACTICE YOUR GUITAR CONSISTENTLY
This is one of the most important things about learning anything, let alone the guitar. You need to consistently apply everything that you are learning or it will not stick.
And worse, if you do not keep applying what you are learning you will go backwards instead of forward. There is no such thing as maintaining your current skill level without playing or practicing.
It does not have to be a lot but the best way to be consistent is to create a daily habit. Make a point to pick up your guitar every day. Even if it is only for 5 or 10 or 15 minutes.
If you do that you will at the very least maintain your callouses which are very important as a guitar player.
However, if you have a really good teacher they can show you how you can turn 15 minutes into progress every single time.
The cool thing is no matter how busy you are, you can find 15 minutes if you really want to. And once you pick up your guitar chances are you will practice longer and feel good about it.
5. HAVE FUN DURING YOUR PRACTICE SESSIONS ON GUITAR
This is the biggest and most important factor you need to consider. Many people do not enjoy practicing their guitars. This is backwards and will lead to frustration and quitting.
Then there are many people that only do the fun stuff when practicing guitar, and barely improve, then they hit a wall and get stuck and do not know how to move beyond it.
You definitely need to work and focus on improving during your practice sessions. And some of this will feel like work.
But you also need to be able to enjoy yourself and have fun during each practice or you will not keep it up.
You should always start your practice with something that is not hard and more enjoyable. This gets you ready psychologically.
Then you can get into the more technical stuff that requires some work and a lot of effort.
However, you should always end your sessions with a song or something you like to play. Something fun. It does not have to be complicated. The idea is that you start and end on a positive note so no matter what happens in the middle, you remember that good.
This will go a long way to help motivate you to pick up your guitar and practice when the going gets tough.
MORE EFFECTIVE GUITAR PRACTICE IS THE KEY TO REACHING YOUR GOALS SOONER
The areas above are great places to start to help you move forward with your guitar practicing. However, they are limited.
You could employ each of those tactics and still have problems getting better on guitar. Why?
Because you need guidance from an expert who knows how to get you from where you are today to where you want to go.
A trained guitar teach is able to create a plan that will enable you to know exactly WHAT to practice and in what order so that the tactics above will then work much better.
Practice makes perfect, but practicing the right thing, the right way and at the right time is the best way to make the most progress in the shortest amount of time!
About The Author:
Maurice Richard is a professional guitar teacher that operates out of the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He has been a member of an elite guitar teaching mentorship program since 2007 and has taught many people how to learn to play guitar effectively.
© Maurice Richard Music. All rights reserved.
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