Is your guitar playing improving more slowly than you would like? If so, you have likely attempted to do multiple things to reverse the situation such as spending more time practicing your instrument or perhaps looking for ways to motivate yourself to get more from your guitar practicing efforts. If you are like most guitar players, you have eventually found that simply “practicing more” is often NOT the answer to your guitar playing challenges.
The truth is that guitar players who consistently make progress as musicians all have similarities in their underlying approaches to practicing guitar (to find out more about what these similarities are, watch this free video on how to learn to play guitar). In addition (just as importantly), there are several traits that guitar players who have a hard time progressing also share in their approaches to guitar practicing that restrict them from reaching their guitar playing potential.
In this article I want to tell you some of the typical reasons why so many guitarists are unable to improve their musical skills.
If you work on your guitar playing every day but are still not playing at the level that you want, consider if any of the guitar practice problems listed below apply to you. If you can relate to any of the situations described here, you have found a major clue that will help you to become a better guitar player than before.
Mistake 1: Looking At The Calendar
Far too many guitar players obsess over looking for an answer to the question such as: “How much time is needed for one to become a good/great guitarist?” It is normal to wonder about this issue in the early stages of your guitar playing, however too much energy spent focusing on the concept of “time” will only delay the process of reaching your guitar playing goals. The reason is because your guitar playing results are NOT directly affected by “how much” you practice your instrument but rather by “how WELL” you practice. The classic saying: “It’s not how much time you spend doing something, it’s HOW you do it that matters” sums up this point nicely.
In addition to the above realization, focusing on how long something should take to learn on guitar will (subconsciously) move your attention away from the things that matter (such as learning how to practice guitar effectively) onto things that don’t matter (counting days until an arbitrary date on the calendar is reached).
Rather than falling into the trap above, focus your mind on finding ways to make your guitar practicing efforts more effective. As you do this, you will often notice that the “time” it takes for you to see results will become less than you expect.
Mistake 2: Paralyzing Yourself With Too Many Choices
Guitar players today have a very easy time with finding lots of guitar playing exercises, tab lessons and videos. Everything is only a click away. However, the irony of the situation is such that the number of truly great guitar players in the world (and the rate at which musicians progress) has NOT gone up, despite the advancements in technology. Why is this so?
The reason why the above problem exists is because this overabundance of information leads to one of 2 outcomes:
Top guitar masters know how to prevent the above issues by staying with a consistent approach to developing their musical skills and know how to filter out all but the most essential guitar practice materials that are needed to overcome their musical challenges. This is the key that helps them to avoid this common mistake.
To learn how you can do the same in your musical training and become a much better guitarist more quickly, watch this free lesson (on video) on how to learn to play guitar.
Mistake 3: Not Taking Ultimate Responsibility For Your Guitar Playing Progress
While the two guitar practice problems described above often come up for self-taught guitarists, the following issue is quite common for guitar players taking music lessons. Although your guitar teacher’s role is to help you make much faster progress in your guitar playing than you can achieve on your own, it’s sometimes easy to overlook the fact that nobody but yourself is ultimately responsible for improving your own guitar playing. There isn’t a guitar teacher in the world who can do all of your practicing for you and there isn’t a magic video or book on guitar playing you can study that will make you a great guitar player simply because you watched/studied it.
Having said that, it’s important to mention that “taking responsibility” in no way means that you must assume that you know more than your guitar teacher or completely dismiss new ideas or guitar learning resources. All this idea means is that you must put in the work on your own with applying whatever materials or concepts you use to improve your guitar playing. It also means for you to at least “attempt” to think through your problems before asking for help. Doing this will help you to achieve a much needed level of balance between feeling in control of your own musical progress and seeking outside help when it is truly needed to allow your guitar playing to improve more quickly.
Mistake 4: Not Being Patient
After you discover the secrets to effective guitar practicing, it will get easier to progress more quickly as a musician. Nonetheless, it is equally important to realize that at some point there is no way to speed up the rate of your progress to a level faster than is natural.
This is exactly the same as the process a gardener goes through when placing a seed into the ground in the hopes of someday seeing it develop into a fruit tree. No matter how much the gardener attempts to speed up the process of the seed blossoming into a tree, there are some stages of growth that cannot be sped up past a certain point. This analogy applies perfectly to becoming a better guitar player.
Sadly, too many guitarists do not realize the true importance of patience in the process of improving their musical skills. As a result, many become frustrated too quickly and start doubting their potential to improve if they do not see results by some arbitrarily set deadline. When the unrealistic results are not achieved quickly, this leads to even more negative mindsets that will only discourage you from practicing guitar.
To overcome this problem, realize that the journey to becoming a great guitar player is a never-ending process and you have your entire life to develop your musical skills. This is the first step to clearing your mind enough to have the energy needed to practice guitar effectively.
Armed with the understandings in this article you should analyze your approach to practicing guitar to consider if any of the mistakes here apply to you. Take the needed actions to make your practicing efforts more effective and you will notice yourself starting to move a lot more quickly towards your goals as a guitarist.
To find out more about how to get greater results in your guitar playing and practicing, see this free video on how to learn to play guitar.
About the author:
Mike Philippov is a guitar teacher and professional musician. His lessons and writings about the process of practicing guitar are read by guitar players around the world. Go to http://PracticeGuitarNow.com to find a collection of free guitar learning materials that will help you to become a more advanced musician and guitar player.