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How To Be Successful At Practicing The Guitar


Practice: to work on something repeatedly for the purpose of improvement.

That says a lot. It tells you what to do (work), how (repeatedly), and why (to improve).

Once you understand what "practice" is, you can proceed to learn how to use this new tool to your best advantage.

1. TUNE UP: It's important to play music at correct concert pitch.

2. WARM UP: Play through an easy piece, slowly. The idea here is to loosen up your muscles. Don't play anything that is hard or fast.

3. DIRECTION: Before you go any further, settle your mind upon what it is you wish to achieve today. At this point it's important to remember two things.

a. You are practicing to improve. this means getting results.

b. You learn the guitar, or grow into music, in the same way you grow into an adult - over a period of time. You may experience fast progress, or experience a slow gradual growth. There may even be times when you don't seem to progress at all.

However, if your practice program is directed towards results (whether they come fast or slow), you'll see them soon enough - providing you keep on working systematically at your study program. Don't be overly concerned about mistakes - if you keep looking for mistakes, you'll succeed in finding mistakes - and very little else.

4. TODAY'S PROBLEMS - YOUR CURRENT LESON: Here you confront new material that must be learnt. As you progress, this part of your practice schedule will change. That is to say, as you complete one assignment you will move on to the next. (Keep working with the thought in mind that you are practicing to improve).

5. REPEAT: In learnng the guitar there are three things you're doing.

a. Acquiring and storing information in your memory.

b. Developing muscles.

c. Developing muscular and mental co-ordination.

Usually you will be working on all three at the same time, although from time to time you will encounter information that uses only the first process.

You will make the best progress by repeating any new idea's over and over until it is properly internalized.

6. MAKE NOTES: Get out a piece of paper and write down your questions, problems, discoveries, things that seem to keep going wrong, things that seem to need extra work etc. If you make notes about the problem areas, you'll find answers to your questions, solve your problems, remember your discoveries, and save a lot of time.

8. WORK SLOW TO FAST: When learning is new, go slowly. As you improve. you will naturally play the assignment faster. Don't think about playing anything fast until you have properly worked it out.

9. RELAX: Stay as relaxed as you can. Steps five, seven and eight are especially helpful in doing this. You should also understand that when the material is new, you will naturally be more intense - you may even find your muscles tightening up. As you come to know the material you should be able to relax more, but you must think about it. Feel the muscles - try to make them relax. Remember too, that you can tense up just from an excess of concentration - so that's a good reason for taking regular breaks.

10. WORK ON THE PARTS: If you're having a problem with something, take it apart. With every few exceptions, you play the guitar with two hands. They both work together to produce one result. This means that the combination of the two moving together could be causing the problem. Work on developing right and left hand synchronization.

11. Review: At the end of your practice session, go over your lesson and give some extra attention where it's needed. This could also include past assignments that still need additional attention. Use a review as a way to wrap up you day's practice.

Submitted by:

Mike Hayes

Mike Hayes is a guitar teacher, author, performing musician and session guitarist with over 30 years of professional experience. Mike's methods are legendary and have earned the praise of top authorities in guitar instruction. He reveals his guitar secrets at http://www.GuitarCoaching.com.





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