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Guitar Lesson: How To Progress As A Guitarist

May 21, 2008
It is a very satisfying feeling to experience that you are progressing as a guitarist. In other words, to have the confidence that you are becoming a better guitar player day by day. By small means you can change your practicing habits towards success!

To practice guitar and become a better guitarist is like filling a bucket with water. Filling the bucket is the hours of practicing. But, the bucket has some holes resulting in leaking water.

The holes symbolizes the bad practicing habits that actually prevent you from progressing in the pace you should.

Let us start by looking at those holes in the bucket. What type of bad habits can hinder you from getting better? Here are some suggestions:

1. You do not have any idea what type of guitarist you want to become. This makes it difficult to set goals. If you do not focus on the things you have to learn to progress towards your goals you will have so many things to practice that it will be overwhelming. No guitarist has time to practice everything if he wants to succeed!

2. You are not practicing an exercise long enough. Maybe you are aimlessly wandering between guitar exercises that are good but has to be practiced with concentration over a period of time to really be incorporated and become part of your skills.

3. You are practicing things that are above your level of proficiency. Probably you have some very accomplished guitarists that serves as models for what you want to become. That is good! It gives you inspiration! But, you are probably not as good as those guitarists yet. If you try to play as fast as they do and the things the play you might hinder your progression!

4. You do not pay attention to your hand posture and body posture as you play. The way you practice a guitar exercise will also be the way you perform it in front of an audience. Bad posture will only take you so far and then your progressing will level away.

5. You are practicing too fast. A very common and understandable mistake. Every guitarist wants to play fast sometimes. However, playing fast can be the most effective way to stop your progression!

6. You forget that playing guitar is about creating music. Without this overall goal you will not enjoy playing guitar for very long and your listeners will also lose interest in your playing!

Let us mend those holes in the bucket and you can practice for a shorter period of time every day and still progress faster! Here are some suggestions:

1. Take time to ponder your feelings regarding your guitar playing. Write down a goal as to what type of guitarist you want to become. This makes it much easier to choose exercises that are appropriate and that leads you towards your goal. It will also be much easier to evaluate your progression when you know what you want to become. You do not need to be too nervous about this as you probably will change your goals over time.

2. If you prepare your own homework as a guitarist remember to practice the exercises well enough to learn the skills involved completely and long enough to commit them to your long-term memory. When you have incorporated a skill completely into your repertoire it will become a building block that helps you learn other exercises easier.

3. Choose exercises that are challenging but not too difficult. If your exercises are too hard to learn you will lose interest in practicing them long before you have accomplished your homework.

4. Remember to always practice your exercises with correct hand posture. This means to hold and use your hands in a way that minimize tension. This will prevent muscle injuries, hasten your development and secure a pleasant experience for you when you play.

5. When you learn new things on your guitar it is very important to practice slowly, sometimes very slowly. The paradoxical truth is that you will progress much faster if you practice slowly. What will happen is that you avoid making many of those mistakes that slow down your progression.

6. Give yourself the pleasure of listening to good music, this means, music that is performed in a musical way. Listening to any instrument in any musical setting helps you develop as a musician and as a guitarist.

Also remember to learn pieces of music by heart thus building up a repertoire of your favorite pieces to play to your friends. It is a satisfying feeling to know that if someone asks you to play you are actually prepared to play pieces you have practiced and can perform well!
About the Author
Peter Edvinsson invites you to download your free guitar tabs and guitar lessons at http://www.capotastomusic.com
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