Do you want to improve the efficiency of your practice time? Virtually every guitar player would answer “Yes” to this question and yet many musicians face painfully slow progress in their guitar playing year after year. It may appear that many guitar players may simply be unable to progress as quickly as others despite their best guitar practice efforts. Fortunately, it IS quite possible for anyone (including you) to drastically improve the results obtained from practicing guitar, and the best part is that you can do so without increasing the total amount of time you spend learning to play your instrument.
The reality is such that the world's best guitar players have various things in common in the ways they approach the process of practicing their instrument. Likewise, guitarists who practice for years and never seem to get any better ALSO have things that are in common in their guitar practice methods. These common flaws are some of the reasons why many guitar players never become the great musicians they have the potential to be.
As you keep reading below, I will explain a few of the more common mistakes guitar players make in their approaches to practicing. If you have a hard time getting better on guitar despite practicing regularly, be honest with yourself and ask if any of the issues you will read about are true in your own guitar playing. If you can identify with even one of the guitar practice mistakes listed in this article, you will have taken a big step towards overcoming an important obstacle that stands in the way of you becoming a better musician.
Guitar Practice Mistake 1: 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:
1. Guitar players start to move from one set of guitar playing materials to another with no idea whatsoever about how doing so will help them to advance their guitar skills.
2. Guitar players become paralyzed by the overload of choices and different guitar learning paths to take and are unable to come to a decision about 'what' steps to take next to move forward in their guitar playing. In each of the situations described, your guitar playing will improve much slower than it could otherwise.
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.
Guitar Practice Mistake 2: Obsessing About ‘How Long’ It Takes To Become A Better Guitarist
A lot of musicians (especially those who began studying with a teacher recently) spend a great deal time asking questions similar to the following: “How long does it take to develop into a great musician?”
Even though it is normal to be preoccupied with this issue in the beginning of your guitar playing life, investing too much time into this question will only slow your rate of improvement as a musician and will make you miss the exact steps you need to take to get the result you want. This happens because the process of learning to play guitar depends NOT on the length of time that has transpired since you started to practice your instrument but rather on how well you used that time. The maxim: “It's not the time you spend, it's HOW you spend the time” applies to this issue perfectly.
Obsessing over “the amount of time” it takes for you to develop a set of guitar playing skills will often – without you realizing it – move your attention from focusing on making your guitar practice sessions more productive to simply 'waiting' for a certain date on the calendar to arrive, hoping to reach your goals by that time.
Instead of making the mistake above, your energy should be directed on making every moment you practicing guitar become highly productive. It's only AFTER your guitar practice sessions become extremely effective that time you spend with your instrument will begin to matter.
Guitar Practice Mistake 3: 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.
Guitar Practice Mistake 3: Not Relying On Yourself Enough
The first 3 mistakes mentioned earlier often apply to guitarists who are self-taught.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, lack of “self-sufficiency” is very widespread among musicians who take guitar lessons with a teacher. This concept means understanding the very obvious fact that only YOU are the person in charge of your own guitar playing progress (or lack of it). Although having a guitar teacher is a great way to make faster progress in your playing, it is not a replacement for the fact that “you” must take the actions needed to get to where you want to be as a musician.
All of that being said, “relying on yourself” does NOT mean to be skeptical of everything your guitar teacher says or believe that you know more about playing guitar than your teacher. Obviously if “did” know more than your teacher, you wouldn't be the one taking guitar lessons, would you? However, taking responsibility for your own guitar playing progress DOES mean to take your own initiative with getting the most out of whatever resource you use to improve your guitar playing. It also implies making an honest effort at discovering the answer to your musical questions by thinking about the issue before asking for extra help. The idea is to “balance” relying on yourself with knowing when to ask for help if you are truly stuck. If you do this on a regular basis, you will achieve the best of both worlds: you will progress more quickly in your guitar playing and you will also avoid developing a feeling of dependency on any single guitar learning resource.
If you want more advice on how to practice guitar like the best guitarists do, start by watching this free video on learning to play the guitar. This video will help you to understand the ideas from this article on a deeper level and will enable you to know with greater clarity what steps you need to take right now to greatly improve your skills on guitar.
By taking advantage of the guitar practice approaches that great guitarists have in common, while avoiding the mistakes that the majority of musicians typically make you will move towards your goals much faster than you ever thought possible.
Mike Philippov is a guitar instructional author, professional guitar player and composer. He writes articles about the best ways to practice guitar that are studied by many musicians worldwide. To get more help with becoming a better guitar player, visit his website: http://PracticeGuitarNow.com