Make a Game of Your Guitar Practice and Surprise Yourself
So you want to be improve your guitar playing?
Well, like any thing, guitar skill progress takes time and practice, but many of us have much difficulty practicing regularly because it is so easy to let other things take priority over our guitar lessons.
First, you need to absolutely make up your mind that you want to improve your guitar playing and then make sure that your progress is truly is a priority for you.
Make a list of the most important things that you need to focus on in your life right now and honestly assess where guitar fits into your list.
Ideally, you want to be engaged in a guitar lesson for at least an hour a day in order to make any significant progress.
However, you may have to conclude that at this point you are not going to be able to devote even an hour a week to the task.
If that is the case, try to spend some casual time reading guitar-related publications or listening to your favorite guitarists to nurture your love of the music. When your priorities change and you have more time, you will then at least still have a strong interest in becoming as good a guitarist as you can. Listening to Eric Clapton or other greats will only kindle your interest and may even cause you to reprioritize your guitar lessons.
Once you see where your guitar practice fits in with the rest of your life, make a true appointment with yourself. Put your practice into your schedule. Get it in your planner or it won't get done!
Okay, now that you are regularly spending time with your beloved guitar, what should you do?
First, make sure it is quality time. Don't have the television on or be hanging out with friends. Then, make sure you are working on skills that you need to sharpen.
If you spend time strumming popular solos and cranking up your amplifier, you may have some fun, but you will not improve your skills.
Think about the chords and scales that you struggle with. Grade yourself on them on a scale (no pun intended) of 1 to 10 and then re-evaluate every week or so. Re-grading every practice or guitar lesson is not appropriate because it is unfair to measure progress that frequently.
No one improves in a straight line. You may hit a certain chord great one day and then have two of the strings sound very unclear the next day. However, if you work diligently you will make progress when measured every couple weeks or so.
Do the same thing with scales and even notes depending on your current skill level.
Once you have a way of measuring your progress, you will be inspired to continue with your regular practice regimen and guitar lessons.
As an advanced step, after you have made progress with a certain group of chords and scales, you should find a song you like that uses many of those elements and work on that as a way of applying your improved ability.
This can be very rewarding.
You may even want to start with the song and work backwards, but make sure that you do spend a great deal of time on the fundamentals before you get serious about the song.
The key to all this is regular consistent work and a measurement of results. Achieve this, and you will enjoy your practice time more and more. Challenge yourself to be at a certain grade by a specific time.
Make a game of your practice efforts and you will surprise yourself!
This article was posted on September 12, 2005