It’s that time of year again when people often look at setting a couple overly ambitious New Year’s Resolutions that they know they won’t keep. Instead of setting a massive goal that will never happen, let’s look at a couple very simple goals you can set for yourself to improve your guitar playing in 2012.
Resolution 1: Practice 10 minutes everyday
If you don’t already practice every day, then set a goal to make it happen. Practicing every day, even if it’s only for 10 minutes, will have a dramatic effect on your progress. It really isn’t hard to find 10 minutes out of every day to fit in some practice. Maybe as soon as you wake up you can pick up the guitar or right before dinner you can squeeze in some practice. Instead of coming up with excuses why you can’t do this, find out a way to practice 10 minutes a day.
Resolution 2: Learn a new chord every week
How many open chords do you know right now? Test yourself to find out. Without looking at any reference material try to play as many open chords as you can and keep count. How many can you play from memory? 10? 20? 50? This resolution is simple: memorize a new chord every week. If you think you can learn two chords a week then go for it, but set the minimum at one chord a week. Then by the end of 2012 you should at least know 52 brand new chords. You will be surprised how much this can affect your abilities on guitar. Learning new songs can be a breeze if you already know all the chords.
There are plenty of lessons and methods for you to learn the chords in the lessons section so there’s no reason why you can’t achieve this goal. If you don’t know what chords to learn, check out the 50 Essential Chords Pack as it contains 50 basic chords to start you off. This resolution is a breeze with the pack of cards as you can carry a card around with you for the week until you memorize it.
Resolution 3: Learn to practice with a metronome
Out of all the exercises and methods you can use, this will have the greatest affect on your playing ability. You can buy a physical metronome, download a software version or use the tracks on this website in the Backing Tracks section. If you don’t regularly use a metronome now to practice then this resolution is critical. A metronome can develop your sense of timing and improve your rhythm abilities. There’s a lesson here that covers the basics of practicing a metronome so check it out for more information on how to use one.
You can link this resolution to resolution 1 by setting a goal to practice with a metronome for five minutes every day. A small and simple goal like this is so easy you can’t help but succeed.
Resolution 4: Learn to write your own music
This resolution is a bit tougher than the other three but it’s a goal worth setting. Being able to write your own music is a fantastic skill. When you break the skill down it can be quite simple. For a simple song form like an acoustic ballad, you can break the skills down to three parts:
- Write a chord progression
- Write a melody
- Write the lyrics
When you break a big ambitious goal down into the individual skills involved, it makes the whole job easier. Now you can focus on the three individual skills and will have a clear idea on what needs to be done. There are plenty of lessons available that will teach you these three skills. Check out our lesson section as it contains a couple lessons on chord progressions for songwriting.
With this resolution it’s a good idea to start out simple then look at more complicated forms later on. Set a goal to write an extremely basic acoustic ballad. Then once you write a couple of them you can move on to more interesting or complex styles of music.
None of these goals are outside of anybody’s reach. It doesn’t matter if you have just started to learn guitar, you can achieve these four goals. If you want to improve as a guitar player then these four resolutions are crucial. These resolutions are really very simple to start. When you take small steps in your progress you are more likely to succeed then the person who sets big ambitious goals. So even if you focus on the first resolution to practice 10 minutes every day, you will definitely see a jump in your progress. Make a promise to yourself to push your progress over the next year and you will be surprised how far you will go by the end of 2012.