Learning an instrument is both fun and challenging. But sometimes it's easy to get stuck in a loop, running through the same stuff over again. Sometimes we don't know what do to next.
Here are 3 easy tips to maximize your guitar practicing and speed up the learning process. With a little time and consistency, you'll be surprised just how far you can go.
1: Practice as part of your daily schedule
Practice every day, even if it's only 5 minutes. One of the most important factors to vastly improve your playing and retention is consistency. Dedicate a short period of time each day and try to keep it to the same time every day. This has been proven to help keep people to a schedule. Set an alarm, or tie it to a daily activity. Like, walk the dog, take out the trash, do homework, run through music.
2: Practice scales and exercises
Running scales and hand exercises may not seem very exciting, but it’s the nuts and bolts for musicians. Like throwing a football through a tire over and over, or moving through ballet positions, the more you practice the repetitive motion, the faster and more automatically your body will react when it counts – like on stage in front of your adoring fans – YAY!
Below are two charts, one of a major scale and another of a fun hand exercise. They incorporate all the strings on the guitar and can be played at any fret position up and down the fret board. Remember to keep the notes even, playing each note the same length and at the same volume.
3: Practice to a metronome
Timing is everything! Playing to a metronome everyday will get your ear - and more importantly, your body - trained to hear and feel tempo and rhythms better. It doesn't matter whether you are practicing simple chords, scales, or Barrios' Un Sueño de la Floresta.
Starting at a tempo between 60 and 90 BPM (beats per minute), try to play the above drills evenly. Play to this tempo over and over. Then, when you feel confident in this tempo bring it up by 2-4 BPM and try again. Repeat the process until it's too fast to keep up. Then repeat the process in the other direction. Starting at your original tempo, bring the BPM down by 2-4 beats at a time until you can't stay even. Which was more difficult, fast or slow? Playing scales and drills to a metronome is like throwing the football through a tire while moving through ballet positions. ;)
Whether you’re a child or adult learner, as you continue to faithfully practice, you’ll notice how much more effective your guitar lessons become in helping you improve. You may even begin to love practicing.
If you're looking for some guidance to get going, why not register for a trial lesson now?