What To Do When Your Guitar Playing Isn’t Getting Better
See if this sounds familiar: to learn to play guitar at a very high level, you may have been practicing various guitar skills and techniques for months or even years. After all this time practicing, you still get lost when improvising, playing in front of others, or trying to record music. Even though you keep studying and learning new things, it seems it doesn’t solve your problems. So why aren’t you getting better at guitar despite having so much determination? Here is what to do when your guitar playing isn’t getting better.
Simply put: you haven’t achieved guitar playing fluency. This means that you might understand and even be able to use many different skills on guitar, but you aren’t able to blend these skills together. The main mind why this happens is that most guitarists always practice guitar exercises just to get it right once and then want to move onto something “new.” This hurts their ability to integrate guitar skills together and play fluently.
Compare this with the average student taking an exam at school. Instead of studying the material and learning from it, many students merely attempt to “pass the test” and quickly forget everything once it’s over. Don’t be this kind of student. Until you fully understand how to practice guitar to get the best results, you’ll always struggle with mastering individual skills in your guitar playing.
Guitarists Who May Fail To Be Great Fall Into These Two Categories
The first group is composed of guitarists who don’t focus on mastering any single skill – they constantly hunt for new things to learn. This kind of approach prevents you from getting better at guitar since it does not integrate your guitar skills together
The second group is that of guitarists who are perfectionists. They attempt to master every single individual aspect of a certain guitar skill before moving on to practice a different one. The truth is, you will NEVER master any guitar skill by practicing it in total isolation.
The best you can hope for when doing this is ending up with a bunch of guitar skills that you can’t use it when it counts. After realizing how much time you spent practicing skills in isolation, you will only end up frustrated.
Now that you know what does NOT work – the following is the exact guitar practice process that every great guitarist goes through when mastering any new skill:
1. Learn a new skill in isolation. Application or fluency is not the goal at this point, so don’t worry about it yet. Most guitarists do this step… but they never move on from it.
2. Take the skill you learned in the previous step and practice applying it. Imitate a real-life playing situation. For instance: as soon as you learn a new guitar lick, apply it by improvising with it over a backing track – creating many new variations of the lick using all the techniques you are familiar with.
To finally achieve guitar playing fluency you MUST practice integrating guitar skills, regardless of which level your guitar skills are at. Not having the ability to integrate guitar skills together is one of the biggest and most limiting problems holding most guitar players back from becoming much better.
3. Measure and improve your new skills. Return to the first step and practice the skill in isolation (again) but now with a deeper understanding of which areas of the skill must be improved. Then go to step 2 and 3… Then repeat the cycle over again. This will help you improve your guitar playing fluency at a faster rate.
Keep reading: “Inspiration from the Life of Mauro Giuliani”>>
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