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How to Improve My Guitar Playing

First, define your objectives and determine your approach. These objectives may change as you progress, but a goal is important before starting to play the guitar.

Begin by forming good study habits. Part of your study will be physical performance and part will be mentally engaged in the study of theory, listening to recordings, tapes and the radio, watching television, Internet and watching live performances. You will be talking to other guitarists, students and professionals, studying in classes and with private teachers and of course via online guitar courses, guitar training software etc. You will also be improvising. All of these activities will give you valuable information and experience, increase your skill, broaden your scope and develop your insights. Keep an open mind and learn something from everyone you meet ...even if it is not what to do!

The following suggestions should help you in your study and practice:

Never practice or study when you are tired or worried. Relax a bit before you begin. If possible study in a quiet place where you can be undisturbed. Have a music stand adjusted to your eye level when you practice, and make sure that you always have good light. Form the habit of studying in a regular place and at a regular time.

Several short study practice periods on successive days are usually better than one lengthy period of study. A little study every day is better than spasmodic, inconsistent study. Use various ways of making yourself think about what you are studying. If you are looking at a printed page of notes, try to imagine them on a guitar finger board and vice versa.

Form the habit of mentally reviewing every page of music you study before going on to the next one. See how much of it you can recall and try to remember it. When you have learned something make use of it as soon as you can. The sooner and more often, the better. If you have learned fingerings for a few new chords so that you can play them even slowly, make up an exercise or song that involves these chords and has you shifting from one chord to another often. It is not enough to learn about something. Unless you utilize this information it does not become a part of you.

When you have completed a reasonable amount of material, take time to summarize what you have covered. You may want to write your summary. Keep a good music dictionary handy, and use it frequently. When you have discovered the meaning of a new word or term, use it yourself.

Self Study

To correct poor study conditions, consider thoughtfully each of the questions below and write specific answers to each one. Then decide what you can do to correct each of the things wrong with your study conditions. Make notes of these and correct them.

1. What can you see on your desk, music stand, or through your window that distracts you?

2. What music, talking or other noises are disturbing your practice and study?

3. What is wrong with your position or posture when you practice or study?

4. Are you sure your lighting is adequate? What is wrong with it?

5. Is your work space large enough and arranged well?

6. What materials do you lack for effect study?

7. What time of day is most difficult to practice or study? Why?

8. What worries or special interests divert you from studying?

Effective methods of practicing or studying, of themselves, will not suffice. Careful planning also is essential. Lay out your work systematically before you begin. Each individual's time, facilities and desires are personal matters. Just be sure to adopt some plan and stick to it as conscientiously as possible.


Our friend Mike Hayes is a guitar teacher, author, performing musician and session guitarist with over 30 years of professional experience. Find out more about how to learn guitar fast with his popular free ecourse, available at: => http://www.GuitarCoaching.com

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