Making your Guitar Practice Meaningful

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Making your Guitar Practice Meaningful – By Scott Thomas

There are a lot of beginning guitar players out there who love playing their guitars. However, can’t seem to get any better after a certain point. Most of the beginning players I know can’t seem to get past just playing open chords. You’ll be jammin’ along and go into some bar chords and they get thrown off. And yes, CHOKE! It’s an embarrassing moment for all players.

Playing barre chords are extremely hard to play when you first try using them. I know… it hurts the wrist and it’s really hard to hold down all those stupid strings with your index finger. This is usually when most beginning guitar players stop trying to play barre chords or quit playing all together. You have to remember that this is step 2 to many more steps to come. So, these folks will never try anything new. I know one guitarist who’s been playing over 10 years and still can only play a few chords. He plays what he knows really well. However, can only play the same 3 songs… Boring!!!

You can go out and buy the entire collection of guitar learning books, tapes, DVDs, and learning software. But, this doesn’t mean anything unless you practice what you learn. Don’t get me wrong… these instructional materials do work, but you have got pay your dues, and practice your craft. I have a friend who collects guitars and don’t mind paying a pretty penny for them too! He can play a little, but nothing to write home to mom about. He just likes to think he’s a guitar player. You know, with his guitar t-shirts and ball caps. I usually go along with this because he likes my playing and I get to check out his new purchases. Plus, he knows I love guitars too! He just doesn’t like to practice and it shows too!

Here’s my theory about practicing… You have to look at practicing not as a chore, but as a journey of interesting discoveries. Once you start seeing and learning new things, and applying what you’ve learned… you will see in no time that you will start getting more motivated to practice. You will be looking forward to new fun and enjoyable experiences. If you practice effectively, your motivation also will increase ten fold.

One of the first things to do is to set a time everyday to practice. I liked to practice after work and no more than 30 minutes in one setting. I’m the type that once I achieve what I’m doing, I move on. If I’m having a tough time, I will work on it the next day. I keep a practice journal and note where I’m having problems. The next day, I slow everything down and work it out. Use a metronome!!!

Another thing I do is practice in my head. Record yourself… get you a little cassette recorder at your local Radio Shack. When you practice, record yourself and play it back while you drive to and from work or school. This will give you time to let what you’re learning subconsciously sink into your brain. Try the visualization technique. In your mind’s eye, practice your lessons while eating lunch. This is called using your time wisely.

The more you practice, the less conscious effort you need to play a song or riff. You start to rely on muscle memory. You’ve practice the lesson or song so much; you don’t even have to think about it. There is no thought where your fingers need to be. Your hands produce sound automatically. Ask any good musician and they’ll agree.

It’s like surfing for instance, it requires good muscle coordination. Can you imagine if you had to stop and think about every little move you would need to make to stand up on that board and ride the surf? Repetition is the key…. you do it until you can stand up on that board and get to the real deal of surfing. Most good surfers can do this in their sleep. Remember… it’s not getting to your feet as the main goal… it’s riding a killer wave. If you focus too much on your movements, this can be debilitating too! Focus on the bigger picture. Achievement!!!

So what does all this mean? That’s right, practice, practice, practice. Your practice must be constant, careful repetition. You don’t need to be talented to start learning to play guitar. The majority of talented people worked very hard to get where they are. They only know one word… “Success!” The folks who practice will be exceptionally talented. When I sit down to practice, I try to make each session meaningful. Make sure you practice on things that are achievable. "Remember, the more you do it, the better you’ll be. This of course will lead to more fun in your practicing. Start Making your Guitar Practice Meaningful."

About Practice Trax For Guitar

Written by Danny Gill. For guitar. Includes instructional book and accompaniment CD. With chord names, scale patterns, instructional text and introductory text.

Based on the famous Open Counseling class at Musicians Institute, this one-on-one lesson with MI instructor Danny Gill lets guitarists practice soloing with a real band! The CD features 20 full-length jams in the style of Satriani, Beck, Zeppelin, The Beatles, U2, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and more! Each song is analyzed by key, mode and pitch axis. Patterns for the major and minor scales, major and minor pentatonics, the blues scale, modes and altered scales are also provided.

Practice Trax For Guitar - sheet music at Practice Trax For Guitar Written by Danny Gill. For guitar. Includes instructional book and accompaniment CD. With chord names, scale patterns, instructional text and introductory text. Soloing. 32 pages. 9x12 inches. Published by Musicians Institute. (HL.695601)
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