Guitar Practice and keeping motivated.
Guitar practice? Sounds boring! The word 'Practice' conjures up visions of hard work, frustration and sore bits. So think of it as simply playing or learning guitar rather than practicing. Essentially it's improving your playing.
When we start playing guitar, for most of us it is a joy, it's not hard work, we LOVE doing it. Learning a new guitar chord, a scale, or putting some guitar chords together to learn to play a song gives us the motivation and encouragement to go further, try a little harder.
At times guitar practice can seem like a chore, especially if you are finding something a little difficult, like getting your fingers formed into that B Minor Tormented 7th! We all know that old saying "Practice makes perfect", and it is very true. So don't give up easily, you will get out in buckets what you put in, believe me.
Try and make your guitar practice sessions and lessons as interesting as possible. If after every period spent practicing guitar you can list just one thing that you have learnt then you have achieved something.
Keep adding to this list as your practice routine continues and before long you will be able to run your finger down a very long list, that in itself will motivate you every time you review it. Don't think you haven't learnt something just because you haven't mastered that chord you were working on, you will have made a start, that is moving forward.
The next time you go to practice those chords your fingers will 'assume the position' a little quicker and accurately than before, this is known as 'finger memory' - compare it to walking; you don't have to remember to put one foot in front of the other do you? No, because the muscles in your leg remember what you have to do, you are on auto-pilot.
The same thing applies to your fingers; playing guitar and forming chord shapes, the more you do it, the less you have to think about where to put those fingers and how hard to press the strings down on the frets. If you have learnt which fret to start on and what the name of the chord is, or if you can get the shape but it's slow getting there, congratulations, you are moving forward.
I'm not going to dwell on the downsides of guitar practice, but I should mention them so that you are aware of them and how to avoid or reduce the impact of those downsides.
Sore fingers; you will experience this and especially at the start. You will need to pass a teeny weeny pain barrier but it doesn't take long, and it isn't that painful you will be happy to hear. Your finger tips may get a little sore for a while after you start learning to play guitar, but you will start to grow little callouses on your finger tips as time goes by.
Don't worry about these they are not great big ugly bits growing out from the top of your fingers, the pads (where your fingerprints are!) simply become a little bit tougher as the skin gets thicker to protect the soft tissue underneath. Hey, they are a sign that you are suffering for your art!!
Frustration; this bad boy can raise his ugly old head for any number of reasons, just have a plan to or deal with it so that when you do get frustrated you don't waste energy in the wrong places. Sometimes, in this busy old world, something as simple as setting aside time to practice can be frustrating. I have to say this did happen to me, trying to balance family, work, bands, school, websites, etc so you have to prioritize what is the most important or required at the time.
If you can't manage 1 hour of guitar practice every day, try and make it 1 hour every two days. If you simply keep putting it off because of other commitments you may not move forward as quickly as would like, which in turn leads to further frustration.
10 tips for a successful guitar practice routine,Try and set aside a particular time each day, or every other day, for your practice routine. TRY AND STICK TO IT!!
Make a list of all the things you learn - great for reviewing your progress
Learn or try something new every practice session, don't keep 'noodling' on the things you already know - Stretch yourself!!
Play along with CD's, Drum Loops, Midi Backing Tracks or other people
Record your Practice sessions, and listen back to them to hear what yu really sound like
Try and play chords or scales as accurately as possible - don't fall into a trap of settling for 'almost', but don't lose too much time on something that proves dificult. Move on to something new, take a break, and come back to the difficult things when you are in the right frame of mind.
When you learn a full song, try transposing it to a different key and see if you can find all the relevant chords and phrases
Keep your guitar nearby and ready for impromptu, unplanned practice sessions
Read guitar related magazines for new ideas and inspiration
Don't try to run before you walk.
Oh, and one more thing. ENJOY IT!
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