You’ve been saying it for years. Today, I’m finally going to learn how to play the guitar. Instead, you let your guitar collect dust in the corner of your room, waiting for you to pick it up and start strumming some epic tunes that would make Jimmy Page jealous. The whole time, you continue to listen to your favorite guitarists and long to possess the skills they do.
The good news is that it’s never too late to finally live out your rockstar fantasy. Maybe you have some extra time on your hands thanks to quarantine, or you’ve simply made the decision that it’s time to stop putting off your goals and create a guitar practice routine. Maybe you’re just looking for a productive way to escape the relentless Palm Springs heat, because we all need a good excuse to stay as cool as possible right now.
Regardless of what brought you here, I hope you’ll stick around for a while. Learning how to practice guitar is a process that requires a healthy dose of patience and determination, but it’s a completely attainable goal. At the end of the day, the only way you can become the talented guitarist you’ve always dreamed of becoming is to show up and put in the work. With enough time and practice, you’ll be just as good as that guy on YouTube who has millions of views for all of his acoustic covers. Trust me: it can be done.
1. Break Up Your Practice Sessions
When you first begin to practice guitar, there’s a lot you need to learn. Because everything is brand new to you, it will probably be overwhelming to focus for long periods of time. Not only can forcing yourself to concentrate for long periods cause you to lose energy quickly, but it’s also counterproductive. You may end up accomplishing less than you’d hoped for if you try to pay attention for longer than your mind can handle.
The best way to keep yourself focused and productive is to break up your practice sessions into small, manageable chunks. This strategy allows you to stay enthusiastic while staving off fatigue and boredom. Aim for 15-20 minute sessions several days a week instead of hour-long sessions once a week.
2. Keep Track of Your Progress
The best way to improve when learning how to practice guitar is to keep track of how you’re doing. Without regularly monitoring your progress, you may fall into the habit of making the same mistakes or failing to recognize your accomplishments.
Be honest with yourself when watching your progress. It’s completely natural to make errors every now and then, especially when you’re first starting out. The important thing is to identify what you’re doing wrong and actively work on fixing it. Likewise, make note of every small achievement as you go along. This will help keep you motivated during every step of the process.
3. Focus on Your Weak Spots
Once you’ve been playing the guitar for a while, you’ll begin to improve in certain areas of your guitar practice routine. Some strategies might even become second nature to you. While it may be tempting to spend all of your time on the parts you’re good at, this will only slow you down in the long run.
Instead, take the time to identify your weak spots and determine what you can do to improve in these areas. By taking the initiative to address your weaknesses, you’ll have the opportunity to develop new strategies that will help you become a more skilled guitarist.
4. Designate a Specific Practice Time
People are busier than ever in today’s fast-paced world. It can sometimes seem like a luxury to set aside enough time for guitar practice. However, you can give your instrument the time and attention it needs if you stick to a consistent schedule. Be sure to designate a specific practice time that works for you and honor it every single day.
One of the biggest benefits of practicing at the same time every day is that it prevents you from forgetting to play guitar. In addition, creating a consistent guitar practice routine trains you to take that part of your day seriously and always show up for it.
5. Use a Metronome
As far as actual guitar technique goes, using a metronome is one of the best things you can do as a beginner. A metronome is an essential musical tool that measures a certain rate of time with a steady ticking sound. With this device, you can learn how to play in time while practicing the guitar. Playing with a metronome is particularly important for beginner guitarists, as it can help you find an inner sense of tempo and play your guitar more naturally.
To get the most out of your metronome, it’s important to start out slowly. Once you’ve mastered a slower tempo, you can begin to build up to your target tempo. In general, it’s best to use your metronome to guide you through simple exercises and scales. Mastering the basics early on is the most efficient way to get a handle on the more difficult exercises.
6. Don’t Lose Sight of Your Goals
Everyone has different reasons for picking up a guitar and starting to play. Maybe it’s nothing more than a hobby for you, or maybe you have greater musical ambitions behind your desire to practice guitar. No matter what your specific goals are, be sure to identify them right at the beginning. The more connected you are to your purpose for playing guitar, the less likely you’ll be to give up when you inevitably run into a rough patch.
In addition to keeping your general objectives in mind, it’s a good idea to set small goals as you go along. Small, achievable goals help to keep you motivated and energized during every guitar practice session. Take some time before each session to ask yourself what you want to achieve. Do you aim to study the elements of music or focus on different intervals? Whatever you want to get out of your practice routine, be sure to stick to those goals.
7. Practice With a Professional
Honing your guitar skills on your own is essential to becoming the pro you want to be. However, if you restrict your guitar lessons to solo sessions, you might severely limit yourself without realizing it. Not only can it be difficult to give yourself an honest critique, but there are also many different strategies and techniques that you miss out on when you teach yourself.
A professional guitar instructor can work closely with you and help you reach the goals you identified in the last step. With the help of a trained instructor, you’ll become more aware of any errors you’re making or any weak spots you need to address. An instructor is also capable of observing your technique and offering you advice on how to improve. If you’re serious about learning how to practice guitar and feel ready to take your skills to the next level, be sure to find a skilled guitar instructor who can provide you with the tools you need for success. Scheduling lessons with this professional is as easy as sending an email or making a quick phone call.
Other Effective Ways to Enhance Your Guitar Practice Routine
If you’re ready to begin your journey of learning how to practice guitar, you’re taking an important step forward. Simply making the decision to pick up your instrument and learn how to master it already sets you apart from all the people who never took that first step. Once you begin practicing, you’ll have the opportunity to develop an essential set of skills and techniques that will help mold you into the expert guitar player you want to become.
In addition to all the tips outlined above, it’s important to pick out all of the best guitar supplies to supplement your lessons. Be sure to invest in a metronome, extra guitar picks, spare guitar strings, guitar tuners and a high-quality guitar strap. If you can, visit a store to try out these accessories for yourself and get a feel for them. Otherwise, be sure to do your research to ensure that these guitar parts are a good fit for your specific needs.
Once you’ve gathered all the equipment you need, place it in a designated guitar spot where you’ll be able to easily access it for every practice session. This will help you avoid wasting time and will encourage you to get into your music zone right away.
Overall, it’s crucial to remember that showing up on a regular basis and putting in all the necessary work is essential to improving. As long as you stick to these basic strategies and push yourself to do better than you did last time, you’ll make progress much faster than you ever imagined.
I’ve spent the past 25 years teaching music to students of all ages and backgrounds. If you have a love for music, we already have a lot in common!
Want to learn more about guitar lessons or discuss schedules and pricing? Let’s talk! Use this online contact form or give me a call or text at 818-929-5695.