All guitarists should have a read and think about the ideas in this article. If you want to improve as a guitarist, having quality practice sessions are crucial. This simple article will give you ideas on what you can include in your practice sessions that you may not have considered on your own. The old saying ‘Practice makes Perfect’ is almost true, maybe ‘Perfect Practice makes Practice’ should be your mantra.
Quality over quantity.
Many guitarists overlook how they practice. Many think along the lines of “I practice x hours a day so I’ll be a pro in no time”. Of course it’s never that easy. Don’t confuse quality with quantity. It’s very likely that a guitarist who organises his practice sessions gets more done in 1 hour compared to somebody who doesn’t organise his and practices 5 hours.
The first thing you should think about is how often and how long your practice sessions will be. Having short sessions everyday will be better for you than having a long session once a week. We learn through repetition so the more regularly you can repeat the techniques and songs the faster you will memorize them. Think about how much time you can spend in focused practice sessions and work out a schedule you can work towards. This idea won’t appeal to everybody so do what you feel comfortable with. The last thing you want to do is to be bored with your practice sessions.
I know a lot of people with cringe at seeing the word ‘Goals’ so think of it this way – what do you want to be able to do on guitar? Do you want to be able to improvise along with other guitarists and not be worried about not knowing the key or which scales to play? Do you want to be able to hear a song and straight away figure out what chords are being played? Do you want to be able to master certain techniques such as tapping, chicken-picking or even play with a slide? Any similar question you answer yes to is a goal. This will give you something to work towards. Without having something clear to work towards you will struggle to improve. So have a serious think about what you want to achieve.
What should you practice?
If you have goals you want to work towards that’s great! Do some research and find some lessons that will help you reach those goals. If the goal is to master a certain technique, have a read of this lesson. If you can’t think up of any goals yet that’s okay. Here’s a list of things you could include in your practice sessions. Of course there are many other things that could be added to the list so think about what else you want to include.
All guitarists will benefit from studying and applying music theory. If you don’t think it will help you, it’s only because somebody hasn’t explained how useful it can be.
Being able to jam away and play whatever comes out of your head is an incredible skill that many players strive for. So many doors open up when you learn to improvise.
Using a metronome to practice is a foolproof way to improve your skills. Every guitarist should use one and learn to use it properly.
Learning new chords is like an painter discovering a new colour. The more chords you know the more options you have. It’s as simple as that.
Learning different scales can help you shape and colour your playing in ways many people don’t even realise is possible. Whether you learn exotic scales or simple blues scales, they will all help you become a better player.
For most people writing songs is the main reason they started learning guitar. Being able to write your own song and play it to others is a very rewarding skill.
Other people’s songs
There are so many fantastic songs out there to learn and learning somebody else’s songs is incredibly fun – especially when you can play them with other musicians.
This is a skill not many players possess so learning it will put you ahead of the game. Transcribing is the ability to write out music that you hear or even writing down your own songs. Players who can transcribe are normally very competent players.
Your ears are very important to your playing. Training your ears to learn what they hear is so important yet many players don’t even bother learning why they should do it.
New styles (eg: Flamenco, Jazz, Funk, etc)
Even if you aren’t interested in other styles, you can learn so much to take back to your preferred style.
Play with other musicians
It’s one thing to learn to play along with a metronome or backing track and it’s a completely different thing to play with another musician. It’s a very rewarding skill to learn.
Obviously your fingers are important to your development as a guitarist. Using finger exercises can help you learn faster and play easier.
Tools to help you learn
Learning guitar on your own can be pretty tough. So whenever you find any tools to help you learn faster, use them. This site was created because the flash cards we created were so helpful for beginners learning guitar. All tools will be helpful in one way or another. Here’s a list of simple tools you can use to help you learn faster and more effective:
These are extremely effective in helping you learn a large number of chords. If you have to choose between a pack of flash cards and a chord dictionary, choose the flash cards. This website was created because flash cards are so effective yet many guitarists overlook them. Check out our flash cards here.
Backing tracks help you learn to play along with other instruments and play parts that fit. It also helps you build up your rhythm skills and can help you apply music theory.
Recording yourself play is very important because when you listen back you will most likely hear your playing in a very different way. It’s a great way to listen to yourself in third person.
Metronomes and speed trainers
Extremely effective tools to help your technical skills.
So many different tools from scale memorization to ear training, you’re sure to find an app to help you out.
Software such as Amplitube or Guitar Rig
Using this software will really help you learn more about guitar sounds and tones. They can also be very helpful tools for songwriting.
Ear training software
Very effective tools to help you develop your listening skills.
There’s so many tools available to help you out in so many different areas on guitar. Have a search around and you will definitely find something to help you.
This article is really just the tip of the iceberg. The options for your practice sessions are limitless so have a search around and you will always find something new to learn.