PHIL KEAGGY - Grammy nominated and seven-time Dove Award winner, is one of the world’s great guitar players and a pioneer in contemporary Christian music.
- August 2, 2016
- Guitar Lessons
Practice Guitar is the piece of advice anyone will give you on how to learn to play guitar better.
There’s even an old joke that goes like this:
- Question: How do you get to Carnegie Hall?
- Answer: Practice, practice, practice
If this is such an obvious method to get better at playing guitar, or any other instrument, why do we often dread practicing. The good news is that, if you do feel like you’re wasting your time practicing guitar, we’ve compiled a few helpful ways to give your practice sessions a boost.
Set a Schedule to Practice Guitar
This advice may seem as obvious as someone saying “practice makes perfect,” but setting up times to practice with your guitar will help you to prioritize your time better. Even if you aren’t the best with scheduling, you can at least sit down at the beginning of your week and think about any upcoming time you could devote to playing guitar.
We make a ton of choices throughout our week that affect just how much time we really have. Similar to financial planning, you never really think about how much time you’re wasting until you map out where certain portions of your day are being spent. Instead of watching 3 hours of TV every night, maybe you could limit that to 1-2 hours and have plenty of time to pick up your guitar.
If you’re the kind of person that likes to carry around a day planner, go ahead and pencil in a few times during the week where you know you’re free. More practice is always better than less practice, but even playing a couple of days each week is better than nothing.
For more information on when you should practice guitar, check out an earlier post we wrote here.
Practice Guitar by Recording Your Practice Sessions
Everyone has a smartphone these days. Pretty soon we’ll start seeing babies playing with the iPhone 12 from inside the womb.
Along with all of the other possibilities that these devices provide, you now have 2 cameras (front and rear) that you can use to record your practice sessions. Doing this will allow you the opportunity to hear what you need to work on later and, given a little time, will show you just how far you’ve come.
Think of what a confidence booster it will be when you can look back at the early days of learning chords and see what kind of guitarist you’ve transformed into.
If you eventually turn to writing your own songs, this will also be a great tool for you to essentially take notes as you put it all together.
Recording your practice sessions will help you today in remembering what to work on and assist you in the future by showing you why practice is so important.
Enroll in a Guitar Lesson Plan
Practice sessions may seem like a separate issue from the guitar lessons you may or may not be taking, but having a consistent plan will help you to make better use of your practice time.
Just like in high school, you go to class and the teacher gives you homework for that night. The only difference is that, in this case, you get to play guitar instead of solving equations.
There are all kinds of options out there, whether you take online guitar lessons, have a private tutor, or you subscribe to a certain YouTube channel. If it’s a lesson plan that’s worth your time, there’s probably going to be something you can work on from each lesson.
Finding a consistent source for guitar education can be very helpful for a number of reasons. If nothing else, it provides you with a reference to constantly go back to for course correction of any kind.
Set Up a Practice Space
A great way to enhance your practice sessions is to put together some kind of setting that works well for practicing guitar.
Now, this is something that might be different for everybody. After all, you have to do whatever works best for you.
For some people that have the money, this might mean creating a music room in your house. Instead of that spare bedroom that nobody uses, why not have a room solely devoted to your creative process? If you really want to go all out, you could even soundproof the walls.
Of course, that might simply be a fantasy for most of you.
All you really need for a good practice space is an environment where you are comfortable playing. Instead of completely renovating that spare bedroom, maybe you just put a posture-affirming chair or stool in there with a music stand or a coffee table. Another good idea for such an area would be to have your guitar on a stand rather than tucked underneath your bed in a case. You’re going to be much less likely to play your guitar if it’s completely out of sight.
Ideally, you’d like for your guitar to be somewhere in the house with privacy, but that may not be an option for you. If you struggle to have time alone for practicing guitar, you may want to review the first point in this post about scheduling your week.
No matter what your favorite practice rituals are, the important thing is that you’re picking up your guitar and playing. As long as you’re actually working to improve, you’re a lot better off than the people who let their guitar sit in a corner collecting dust.
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