photo by Yuri Samoilov
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