March 29, 2021 by Klaus Crow
I had the pleasure of learning to play guitar at a young age. The good old days when I had all the time in the world to practice and play. Lack of time was not an issue back then.
As I became an adult, I fell into the booby trap of our time consuming society. I went along with this rollercoaster ride for quite some time, getting things done and following the mass.
It was getting more and more difficult to find time to practice, write songs or work on any other aspect of guitar playing.
When I started to read books and blogs about efficiency, life strategies and zen buddhism I became aware of the fact that I could choose how I wanted to live, how I wanted to perceive, feel or act.
I realized I had to change my lifestyle if I wanted to fulfill my goals and pursue my passion.
A couple of years ago I found a way again to practice, play, write and do a lot of other great things on a daily basis. It feels great to improve.
I know my way around the guitar but it still feels great to practice and learn new things. It’s something I will never stop doing, just because I love doing it.
In order to become a better guitar player you need some basic principles to keep you motivated, inspired and playing at all times.
Here are the 8 basic principles that will make you a better guitar player:
1 – Practice
The most important principle to become an better guitar player and the most obvious one is to practice. Practice will improve your playing and improvement will motivate you to practice and play more. It’s a vicious circle. Find time to practice.
2 – Habit
In order to maintain a practice habit you need to be consistent. Practice daily or once every two days. Don’t skip two days in a row. If you are on a busy schedule I’d say practice 5 or 10 minutes, but practice thoroughly without distractions. Official recommendation: 30 minutes of practice every day or every two days.
3 – Prepare
Know what to practice. Value your practice time. Ask your guitar teacher what to practice and how to practice effectively. Depending on your level of playing here is a good example of how you can spend your 30 minutes:
5 min. warm up exercises.
10 min. chord progressions.
10 min. scale and improvisation.
5 min. music theory.
You can also spend 30 minutes on a particular exercise, chord progression or song. Change your practicing habit every now and then. Experiment. Do what feels right. Figure out how to make the most progress.
Prepare what you need to practice the day before. Get your stuff (sheet music, capo, picks, guitar) together. Be ready.
Schedule your practice time. Make your passion a priority or else you get caught up in the every cycle of getting things done that will never end.
4 – Be accountable
Tell your family and friends when you will be practicing. Let them remind you of it.
Tell your followers on twitter and facebook when you are practicing or when you are going to practice.
This will keep you accountable.
5 – Fun
Practice what you enjoy. Make sure you are having a blast. Be creative. Try to make things that are hard and difficult to be pleasurable. Incorporate it into your favorite song or licks.
6 – Kaizen
Don’t be overwhelmed by all the things you can learn. Don’t be overwhelmed by all these amazing guitar players. Don’t think about it at all. All you need to do is apply the Japanese Kaizen philosophy. It’s all about taking smalls steps. One small step everyday will improve you and lead you towards your goal. Let it be your mantra: “Small steps”
7 – Focus
Practice with concentration. Practice with precision and passion. Practice without distractions. Find a quiet place to practice and turn off all your electronic devices. Yes, all of them. Make people clear you cannot be distracted during these 10, 20 or 30 minutes.
8 – Listen, learn and study
Find a good teacher that will motivate you and inspire you. A teacher can improve your technique, knowledge and will teach you the shortcuts. It will make life a lot easier and keep you from struggling or getting stuck in a rut. A teacher will show you the right direction through a vast landscape of musical possibilities, techniques and genres.
Listen to music, musicians, fellow guitar players and students. Read about musicians. Read blogs, books and magazines. Be interested. Listen to people who can learn you a thing or two. Communicate with musicians online and in real life. Ask questions. Learn whenever and wherever you can.
Sometimes you want to give up the guitar, you’ll hate the guitar. But if you stick with it, you’re gonna be rewarded. – Jimi Hendrix
All the knowledge presented here is top notch.
Also love the clean style. Free from any clutter.
Klaus Crow says
I do my best to keep the layout as clean as possible. I like the minimalist style.
Thank you for the tips, well thought out post and I wish you all the best.
I’m thinking of learning the guitar later in the year.
I will add it to my faves and return.
Klaus Crow says
i hope you will find the time this year to learn to play.
I’m convinced you’ll get hooked on it and never look back again :-)
Another great article, Klaus. I guess I have unconsciously adapted a couple of these — most importantly, imo, the one about Kaizen. By abandoning where I thought I should be with my guitar playing and just accepted where I was (or am), my playing improved dramatically. It also helped me develop my own style of playing and not the style of someone else.
Another great post. I like your theories about applying Kaizen. It’s a magnificent viewpoint that can bring us further towards our goals without suffering to much since you take just one step at a time.
Klaus Crow says
Hi Kevin and Vincent,
I love applying the Kaizen method. It so easy to achieve your goals this way without getting discouraged.
Thanx for the comments!
Sheila Styre-Briere says
For quite some time I have been searching for the very answers I’ve found within your pages. I also began playing at a very early age, achieved a modest amount of success in my mid-late 20’s and then became enmeshed in the ‘grown up world’. It’s a struggle to center myself enough to play, there always seems to be something ‘productive’ lying in wait as soon as I pick up one of my guitars…
Thank you so very much for being here.
Klaus Crow says
Thank you for such a beautiful and grateful comment.
It’s people like you who make my writing worth while.
Do you have any particularly good books or websites to recommend for learning about the Kaizen method?
This is definitely something that I would be interested in learning about.
i have been learning guitar since a year now. i totally agree with your concept of waking up early to play guitar which i started doin it before i read your blog . i am a surgeon by profession , struggle really hard to find time for my passion. waking up early in the morning gives me want i want with my guitar . love your blog… continue with your good work ..
love the advice, kaizen and everything else you said. your one of a kind.
Hi Klaus! Great job u r doing!!! i can’t appreciate u enough.
You keep mentioning music theory in your posts. Can u recommend any good site where one can learn the theories? i love learning things to the core while not leaving the practical aspect. Thanks again for sharing ur knowledge!
Unbelievable! Being a true new guitar player (five lessons) I have found your site to be a breath of fresh air. With your relaxed style and ease of presentation, you make the routine of learning chords and finger picking non-routine and easy. After watching and trying what you teach, I am beginning to sound like I can play with some musical tone. Thanks for the great site, and your great teaching. I cannot wait to learn more.
It’s just like read my mind,and I must confess I see the improvements when I play to people and they are always asking for more,compared to when I just started months back,I always get insulted,thanks you and other people who played that role,I would have almost given up,but am still at it,and am just starting. To like it the most.
Trisha Khanna says
I want to become a guitarist but my parent’s won’t allow me to learn guitar. They want me to study and score good marks but I have no interest in studies.
What should I supposed to do now?