Have you been trying to improve your guitar playing for years only to face slow (or no) improvement in your skills? If you said yes, you are not alone, as this is the reality that most guitarists face.
No matter what your guitar playing goals are, your speed of progress is directly proportional to your ability to make your guitar practice highly productive.
In this article I will share with you 7 of the best guitar practice approaches that will help you improve your musical skills most effectively.
1. Discover The Reasons Behind Your Guitar Playing Challenges
The single most important thing you must learn to do if you want to get consistent results from your guitar practice is to learn to identify the sources of all guitar playing problems you face. Most commonly, guitarists aren’t able to specifically pinpoint the exact reasons why they struggle to play something on guitar, and at best they are only vaguely aware that some problem “exists”. In order to get crystal clear about what is causing you to struggle to play something, make the challenging part even MORE difficult by making greater demands on your picking hand or fretting hand (or both). This will bring the problem (or problems) into clearer focus. Check out the video below where I demonstrate an example of one of the ways to do this on guitar:
To see a more detailed explanation of this practice method, watch the remainder of this video (for free) on this guitar practice advice page.
2. Establish Clear Mini Goals (And Achieve Them!) Every Time You Practice Guitar
To ensure that you get measurable results from every guitar practice session, you must have in your mind very specific mini objectives for what you plan to accomplish while practicing guitar “today” (and every day). This clarity will make sure that your actions while practicing are directed onto reaching the objectives you have set. Furthermore, practicing guitar in this way will make it easier to visualize each practice session as a “small step” towards a much bigger goal (which is what it is).
3. Group All Guitar Exercises By The Goal They Help You Work Towards
To maximize your rate of progress on guitar, you must break down your guitar playing goals into a series of steps to go through in order to achieve your objectives. To increase your efficiency in going through this process, you must sort all guitar practice items you are working on into groups based on what result they help you to achieve. This is important for a number of reasons:
A. You will be growing in several simultaneous areas of guitar playing in an intelligent and predictable (rather than “random”) way. By knowing exactly what skills a certain guitar practice item is helping you improve, you will be less likely to end up out of balance in your playing.
B. Having the clarity described above will help you to avoid making your practicing a monotonous process. If you have multiple exercises in each group, you can rotate between them at any time, keeping your practicing focused on the same general objectives without spending too long on any single item.
4. Learn How To Create Guitar Exercises Out Of Everything You Practice
When you find yourself struggling to play something on guitar, there are often a variety of reasons why that is the case. However, most people simply “assume” (or guess) what the problem is and therefore are not likely to find the correct solutions to their challenges.
To prevent this, make exercises out of the very music you are learning on guitar. Isolate the sections that are challenging to play and treat them as “exercises” for improving your general guitar playing. This is a much more efficient way to allocate your limited practice time.
To be clear, I am not implying that you must abandon all guitar exercises you practice, I’m only saying that most of the time you already have the exact exercises you should be working on within the songs and solos you are practicing.
5. Practice For Greater Efficiency In Your Picking Hand Technique
You will always improve in every aspect of your guitar playing by making your picking hand technique better – no matter how advanced your guitar technique is right now. The single fastest way to do this is to learn how to make your picking motions very efficient and economical (without sacrificing tone). Study this video lesson on picking technique for guitar to learn more about this.
6. Have A Clear Vision For “How” EVERY Practice Item Is Helping Your Guitar Playing
Most guitar players have no shortage of “exercises to practice”, but few guitarists ever give much thought to the role each of those items plays on their musical development. To test if you are one of such guitarists, go through your list of practice items and ask: “What is this doing for my guitar playing?” for every exercise. Like most players you will likely find that you are not able to clearly articulate the reasons why you are spending time on certain guitar practice materials. This leads to several problems:
- Lack of clarity over your rate of musical improvement. When you are not sure what results you should be expecting, it becomes impossible to measure them.
- Slow overall progress. Since you never took the time to select specific exercises for your “specific” guitar challenges, any results that come from your practicing happen largely on a “hit-or-miss” basis.
To solve this problem once and for all, ask yourself the basic test question for every exercise you plan to include into your practicing to determine how much it is helping you to progress towards your ultimate goals.
7. Measure Your Guitar Practice Results
Knowing how every area of your musicianship is improving at any given time is critical for your guitar playing for two reasons:
A. The more accurately you keep track of your improvements (or lack of them), the better you can assess how well your guitar practice efforts are working.
B. You will know right away if some elements of your musical skills are lagging behind (compared to other areas of your guitar playing) and immediately modify your practicing to bring your guitar playing into balance.
Armed with what you have learned from this article, begin using these strategies in your guitar practice sessions, starting TODAY! If you are consistent in applying this guitar practice advice into your playing, you will soon see your results on guitar and your confidence in your ability to reach your goals improve like never before.
About the author:
Mike Philippov is a music instructor, recording artist and professional guitar player. He publishes articles about the best ways to learn and practice guitar for musicians around the globe. Visit Mike’s guitar website: http://PracticeGuitarNow.com to read more guitar practice articles and learn how to make your guitar practicing process more effective.