Learning to play the guitar is an exciting and fulfilling journey, but, like any skill, it requires dedication and effective practice. In this guide, we'll explore five essential tips to help you improve your guitar playing and stay motivated. From setting aside dedicated practice time to creating a structured practice schedule and setting achievable goals, these strategies will not only enhance your skills but also keep your passion for the guitar burning bright. So, whether you're a budding classical guitarist or an aspiring electric guitar virtuoso, read on to discover how to make the most of your practice sessions and stay inspired on your musical adventure.
Tip 1 : Dedicate a daily time slot for practice
Daily practice is key to improvement and progress, so ensuring that you are dedicating a time where you will sit and practice is very important. The length of the time slot can vary on how busy the rest of you day is.
Aim for a minimum of 20 minutes of uninterrupted practice a day and remember that consistency is key. Shorter daily practise is much more effective than practicing for a longer period of time just once a week.
Tip 2: Choose a suitable practice location!
When you are practicing you need to get away from any distractions. Find a quiet room where you will be completely uninterrupted for the duration of your practice. Ensure you have everything you need ready and set up including your music stand, books, amps, leads etc… Turn your phone on silent and make sure anyone in the house knows not to disturb you. This is your time that you have dedicated to yourself and that needs to be understood by everyone.
Tip 3: Plan your practice in advance with a weekly practice schedule
Every minute of your practice time should be used effectively. It’s no good spending time during your practice wondering what to practise. Your practice schedule should include what you plan to practice each day. Your teacher can help you design a practice routine that works for you depending on how many minutes or hours you plan to practice on a daily basis. Remember there are many elements to playing guitar that may require time. This could include: playing chords, scales, right hand picking exercises, left hand legato exercises, improvising, bending, playing repertoire, developing speed, working on vibrato etc.… In order to cover everything in a week, plan your week before hand. For example on Monday you are working on changing between open chords. on Tuesday you are working on playing the Pentatonic scale 2 notes per beat with a target of 120 beats per minute. On Wednesday you are working on left hand hammer-ons and pull offs…then maybe you repeat these on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. By the end of the week you have covered everything you wished to cover and improved all of them. There is also the option of doing more than one topic per practice session. If you plan to practice for an hour, you could work on 2 topics for half an hour each and then repeat the same thing the day after. Figure out what works best for you depending on what you are currently working on with your teacher. Later the schedule can be adapted to accommodate for new concepts or techniques as and when you start learning about them.
Tip 4: Set yourself attainable weekly targets
It is hard to stay motivated to practice if you do not set yourself targets on a regular basis. Having 1 big generic target of ‘I want to be good at guitar’ simply won’t work. Together with the weekly practice schedule you also need a goal at the end of each week. Something that you could not do at the start of the week. This may be something as small as being able to smoothly change from an open G chord to an open D chord in time to a metronome, or being able to hold down a clean A major Barre chord in 5th position with no buzzing or muted notes. It may even be based on repertoire such as to being able to play the first 16 bars of Cavatina, or the intro to Thunderstruck. Whatever your targets are, make sure they are related to what you are working on in your daily practice schedule.
Tip 5: Be inspired
Keep your interest in the guitar alive by listening to lots of great guitar music outside of your practice time. I cannot stress enough how important it is to know who the major players (historical and modern) are on the guitar. Today it is so easy with YouTube and music streaming platforms to discover musicians across the world and create your own personal playlists of all your favourites as well as ones recommended to you. If you are learning classical guitar watch and listen to great players such as John Williams, Julian Bream, Ana Vidovic etc…If you are learning electric guitar check out Guthrie Govan, Andy Timmons, If you like blues guitar listen to B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan. Go on a journey of music discovery and be inspired by it.
These 5 tips should help get you into the habit of practicing effectively every day. Above all make sure you are enjoying it and keep reminding yourself why you decided to learn guitar in the first place.