February 6, 2020 by Klaus Crow
Practicing is an art in itself. To improve and succeed in practicing, becoming a better guitar player and keeping it fun at all times there are rules to apply. Today we’ll dive into the 10 p’s to understand and learn the art of practicing guitar.
Guitar playing always starts with a thought. The more you ponder thoughts on how to create a good and nice guitar practice for yourself, the more you’ll be practicing. The idea of playing guitar, the feeling of the joy it will bring, the image of you playing that song you really love, that amazing guitar solo or riff that slides through your fingers. The thought and emotion can trigger you to act. Thoughts create action.
Now, think for a minute what you love about playing guitar and what you really want to learn. Create a vivid image of you practicing that song, solo or riff and how it makes you feel. Think of the guitar you are playing and what you want your practice space to look like. Think good vibes.
The next thing to do is to put everything you need for practicing in the right place. Get your guitar out of the guitar bag and put it on the guitar stand in absolutely clear sight. Place it in the room where you spend most of your time. In sight is in mind.
Structure and arrange the entire place in a such a way that it attracts and pulls you right to the guitar. Make it so that you can not escape it, and playing guitar will be inevitable.
If you want to succeed in playing guitar you need to prioritize it. You have to make time for it. Schedule a fixed time to practice daily or regularly. Look forward to your precious practice session and put reminders everywhere, in your phone, on your calendar, in your computer, and stick reminder notes on the fridge, in the bathroom, anywhere necessary.
It’s not that I’m saying you don’t want to play guitar, but life is busy for most people, and your obligations and to-do lists often take your eyes and mind off the things that matter most to you. There’s always just another thing that needs to come first, and the list is endless. It’s just a cunning trick of the mind, and you have to trick your mind into playing guitar to make time for the good things in life. Prioritize!
Create a practice plan. Write down how long you are going to practice. 30 60 or 90 minutes or more? What’s it gonna be? How much of a bad ass are you? Let’s say you practice 60 minutes today, you have to divide that time into blocks to practice new chords, progressions, scales (patterns), songs, solos, finger picking style, music theory, ear training, song writing, or solo and improvisation to get an allround practice session and improve in every way.
You can also choose to focus on one or two areas to deepen and increase those particular skills. Definitely practice one thing that you totally enjoy.
PRINT THE PAGE
I say Print! Print a one page song, a one page exercise, a one page scale pattern, or a one page guitar solo and put it on the table or on your sheet music stand. That one page music sheet will remind you that you need to practice. Again, in sight is in mind.
You can break up the exercise, song or solo up into chunks. Practice one, two or three measures (bars) a day to make things manageable and keep the joy alive. That one printed page also makes sure your focus is where it needs to be. It prevents you from getting distracted and finding your way on Instagram, Twitter or email. Those are the evil masters of doom. Stay away while practicing!
Practice is all about paying attention and focus. Printing the page is part of that. You need to ease into your practice and let go of all expectations. Just practice, observe your playing and make small gradual changes in your playing throughout your practice. All the small adjustments add up and lead to bigger improvements along the way.
Create a private practice space and make sure people don’t disturb you while practicing. Put a “Do not disturb” sign on your door and let people know you need some privacy. Turn off all electronic devices and keep your eyes on the ball.
Persistence is key. Daily/regular practice will lead to improvement, good spirit and sweet results. Confidence and small successes will make you want to practice more and automatically create the habit to keep the pace going. Whatever comes your way persist and defeat resistance.
Perfection is unattainable, but progress is enough to be striving for. Constant and never ending improvement in your playing is the game. With progress comes the expansion of your musical vocabulary and better skills, the opening of new worlds of possibilities and fresh ideas that keep guitar playing fun and meaningful. “Failure is success in progress.” ~ Albert Einstein
Playfulness is as much important as progress. It means you enjoy what you are playing. No matter if you’re practicing a song, a scale, new chords or a guitar solo you need to find that place where you can enjoy your practice.
Apart from practice, playfulness also comes from jamming with musicians and friends, playing for people and for yourself, fiddling around on your guitar and coming up with stuff that sounds goofy and different just because you enjoy the hell out of it. Just play and have a good time.
If you keep all the P’s in motion and harmony it will pay off. The pay off lies in the improvement and endless joy that it brings when you put in the work. With the pay off comes new interests, musical collaborations, companionships, friends, a musical duo, trio, or band, a gig, writing your own song, recording your song, your music on Spotify or Apple music, the sky is the limit. The pay offs are there where you don’t expect them.
Now take the next two steps! Put your guitar on the guitar stand in clear sight and print that music sheet RIGHT NOW! Do it before you do anything else. Do it before you visit another web page. If you don’t, your mind will be distracted in a split second and you have forgotten about this article/post altogether. It would be a waste of your precious time. Don’t fall for it. Print that music sheet now and put it on the table. Make yourself proud.
Become a better guitar player!