5 Practice Tips to Make Your Life Easier

by

in Methods

Mastering the art of playing an instrument takes time and commitment. Despite what anyone tells you, the only way to get there is to practice regularly and dedicate yourself to a bit of good old hard work. Many people who are new to playing guitar struggle with their practice routines and usually this is down to not structuring their time correctly. It’s not always about putting hour upon hour in; it’s more about making the most of your time and ensuring your practice sessions are effective as possible. To help you on your way we’ve compiled a list of tips that we find make a huge difference and really help to improve student’s practice.

If you have any other tips and advice then we’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Schedule

One of the first things to work out is your practice schedule. Simply setting aside 30 minutes isn’t enough; you really need to try and break down this time into smaller segments each with their own goals. As an example, a great way to do this is to separate your 30 minute session into  ten minute segments. The first ten minutes can be used for exercises and scales, the second ten minutes can be used for practicing chord changes or perhaps some techniques such as string bends and vibrato, and the final ten minutes can be used for practicing a couple of songs you happen to be working on at the time.

Guitarist

Image source

The aim here is to avoid wasting time. By separating out your practice sessions as described above you can ensure that you continuously keep working towards structured goals.

Exercises

Another common mistake students make is that they think strumming along to a few tunes constitutes good practice. Whilst any form of playing could be described as practice, you really need to use this time to improve your technique. Avoiding exercises and always skipping straight to your favourite song will leave holes in your development as a guitar player. It’s crucial that you’re as strict as possible when scheduling in your exercises.

Any decent guitar teacher will understand this and should be setting you regular exercises to practice during the week. It can’t be repeated enough – the best players in the world are the ones who focused and really knuckled down on their technique. If you don’t feel your teacher is working you hard enough in this area ask for more exercises, or go and find a new teacher!

Change Styles

Young students in particular will sometimes complain that practice is boring. In our experience the best way to overcome boredom is to mix up the styles of playing in order to continuously challenge yourself. It’s definitely true that the best musicians are the ones who can play different styles and as such it really is important to mix up what you’re playing as you develop. Our suggestion is to find a variety of styles that you enjoy and try to learn something from all of them. You might find that blues really helps your lead playing whilst Jazz helps you to expand your chord vocabulary.

Set Goals

As with anything, it is vital that you and your teacher are constantly setting and assessing goals. It might be that you set annual goals, monthly goals or goals for each school term. Whatever it is you choose to do; having goals enables you to say ‘I want to get to here and here’s how I’m going to do it’. The great thing about setting goals is that it introduces a certain element of pressure to get things done. Without that small amount of pressure there will always be the opportunity to pass and take the ‘I’ll do it next week’ attitude.

guitarist

We’ve found that an incredible way to set goals and see fast improvement is to enter into exams. It might be that when you apply for an exam date you’re not quite up to it; but believe us when we say you’ll be making sure you’re 100% ready by the time the exam comes around. Entering an exam might seem like a scary prospect, but it’s an awesome way to push yourself as a musician.

Record Yourself

Not many people like hearing their voices played back or seeing themselves on video. This is usually because watching yourself back on a recording highlights your imperfections and even the smallest of mistakes become obvious. It’s exactly the same with music! In your head you might sound like the next Brian May but you’d be extremely surprised at how you sound when you listen back to a recording. Quite often people will react by saying ‘no way – that’s not me!’. The great thing here is that you can start to pick out the imperfections in your playing and really start to master the art by actually understanding what needs improving. It might make you squirm at first but it’s a great exercise and a brilliant way to improve.

Many thanks to Jon from http://onlineguitarlessons.co.uk/ for his contribution to this article. For more tips and useful advice on playing the guitar, check out a range of lessons and practical help here.

Featured Music Resources

Learn Guitar Online with Videos: JamPlay Guitar

Previous post:

Next post: