May 15, 2019 by Klaus Crow
Photo by Ashley Webb
When you learn to play guitar there are moments when you’ll feel insecure or frustrated about your playing one way or another.
You might doubt if your ever gonna learn a particular piece as well as you would like to. You may feel hopeless about your technique or you might be disappointed about your overall results.
I had many doubts, I guess I was as much insecure about my playing as I was confident.
One way I overcame most of these insecurities is when I started reading and learning about how the mind works. The wisdom obtained from Zen and Taoism can make a huge difference in your playing. The other way to find solid self asteem has to do with how you practice.
Let ‘s take a look at the keys to becoming a true confident guitar player:
As you are so is the world ~ Ramana Maharshi
What does this quote teach you about guitar playing?
Well let’s first explain what it means:
If you are positive minded, the world will come across as positive too. In reality the world is just the world. It’s neither positive nor negative, there are neither good nor bad days and to put it into guitar terms, there are neither great practice sessions nor lousy ones.
The world and thus your guitar playing is just how you perceive it. If you feel like your guitar playing isn’t working, it’s because you think it isn’t working.
Practicing is progress. Sometimes it feels like you are doing great and sometimes it feels like it ain’t going nowhere. It’s part of the process of getting better. One step forward and two steps back, two step forward and one step back. Accept it like it is. If you’re not experiencing any struggle you’re probably not doing the hard and challenging work.
So again, there is no use in feeling disappointed. Just keep an open, positive and focused mind at all times. That’s how you make progress. And you definitely will.
The guitar habit
Creating and maintaining a good guitar habit is all about keeping yourself motivated.
The most important rule about motivation is being passioned and passion will stay with you as long as you make progress and the only way to make progress is to practice on a regularly weekly basis. Better yet on a daily basis.
The more consistent you practice, the more progress you’ll make and the more excited you will get. It’s as simple as that.
Try to practice 30 to 45 minutes a day or 45 minutes every other day without exceptions.
If you can keep up your regular practice schedule for 30 days it has become a habit and there’s a good chance it will stick with you.
Congratulations! You’re on the road for good things to come.
Now there are also secondary ways to keep you motivated like:
– What to practice.
Practice songs or a style that makes you eager for more. What style of music do you like? Jazz, blues or classical?
– Where to practice
You’re practice environment is of great importance to your motivation. Create an inspiring practice space where you would love to hang out.
– Who or what inspires you.
Study and learn from your favorite artists, guitar players and guitar teachers. Read inspiring blogs and magazines. Watch DVD’s and go to concerts.
– What get’s you high.
Find that thing that get’s you turned on. Do you love playing in a band, perform or jam with other guitar players?
How to practice
Write down on a worksheet what you are going to practice and stick with it. When you practice you focus on practicing and no you don’t go to the toilet, you don’t have conversations, you don’t surf on the net or play something that is not on your worksheet.
You practice and practice only. Try to stay relaxed and focused, analyze, slow down, speed up, think creative, experiment, work hard, be persistent and keep up your good spirit at any time.
There is a lot to practice depending on what your goals are. There are chords, scales, solo and solo techniques, picking and fingerpicking techniques, strumming patterns and then there is music theory, ear training, songwriting, etc. Don’t let it all overwhelm you. Just enjoy your musical path as it comes to you and where it will lead you.
There a lot of musicians out there who have limited knowledge of music but still make great music. However anything you will learn will contribute to your skills, make you a better musician and expand your ideas and guitar vocabulary.
Practice what your teacher encourages you and besides that learn one song, solo or one other thing that really really excites you and practice it on a regular basis until you master it inside out. Make it yours!
If you run into any problems or get stuck somewhere then ask your teacher for advice and continue perfecting your song or what else you’re working on.
Fail it until you nail it!
If you’re confident enough to play it in front of an audience (don’t matter how big or small) you can continue to work on your next musical piece or project.
This way you’ll gain courage and faith every step of the way.
As your favorite repertoire expands keep rehearsing and repeating your material on a regular basis to maintain and grow your confidence.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. ~ Lao Tzu
Share the knowledge and stumble this post.
You have my gratitude.
Miguel Marcos says
On the practicing issue, I really like a diagram from Howard Robert’s Jazz Guitar Technique in 20 Weeks (out of print) which I’ve linked to below. It certainly describes my pattern, self-questioning>progress>plateau and over again and again. It’s just the way it is. Getting safely and gently through the self-questioning period is key.
Klaus Crow says
Those are some great pointers. Tough but fair.
Good luck with your persistence and hard work!
It’ll pay off, but you probably know that already.
Thanks for the comment.
WOW, what a great piece to get a little motivation. Thanks a lot.
ready to nail it…thanks…^^,
What can I say??
Well, thank you, thank you for the excellent work, and for instilling in the reader
the will to continue and increase dexterity and passion for the guitar.
Tips very useful for guitarists …
Hi klaus sir,
I have read many of your articles ,those are very excellent,superb and very helpful.Your articles inspire me to practice.At first I found it so hard to practice but after reading your article i changed my mind.you are a very good guitarist.hats off to your articles.I am eager to see more articles