The Importance of Regular Guitar Practice
So, youíve downloaded the lessons, dusted off the guitar and youíre busy learning how to play like Jimi Hendrix. Easy, huh?
Er, no. thatís just the beginning of a very long journey. Itís a fun journey but itís a long, long road from beginner to pro.
More than a hobby
Most people decide to take up the guitar as a hobby. Itís a great instrument to choose if youíre thinking of pursuing your musical leanings. After all, itís one of the only instruments you can play on your own and it actually sounds good. You donít need an orchestra of instruments to back you up, or even singers for that matter. You can master a few chords and have a plethora of songs at your fingertips, which you can practise and master fairly quickly and easily. But, herein lies the dilemma Ė if you want to progress from being able to rattle out a few drunken tunes at a party, to actually being able to pick up your guitar and play something decent from memory, you need to practiseÖ a lot.
The home player
If you are learning on your own at home, this practice requires a lot of discipline. If you have formal lessons, you pay up front, you put the dates in your diary and you turn up and play. You probably do this at the same time once or twice a week and the regularity of the playing and the practice will quickly pay off as youíll progress quickly and notice the improvement. However, if itís just you and your conscience, itís all too easy to forget to practise, or to practise in sporadic bursts. You might play every day for a week and then leave the guitar festering in a corner somewhere for the next month. With life getting in the way all the time, itís easy to put off practice for whatever reason. Of course, itís not that you donít want to practise, itís just that youíre tired or youíre going out or thereís something great on television that you just have to watch. Itís a slippery slope and the only way to overcome it is discipline.
Set a routine
The best way to make sure you get some regular practice under your belt is to set your own practice diary. If you had lessons youíd stick to it so why not when youíre teaching yourself? Set aside a set amount of time each week for guitar practice and stick to it. Pick a time that suits you and that youíre most likely to stick to, then turn your phone off, turn the telly off and lock yourself in a quiet room with your guitar Ė no distractions, no excuses. Pull up an easy chair or plump up the cushions on your coaster sofa and donít think about leaving that room until youíve done your set time. Youíll probably find that you practise for a lot longer than the allotted time youíve set aside. Once you get into the playing, time passes by quickly and, although regular practice sessions might sometimes seem like a chore, it becomes a pleasure once you start to improve
Find some friends
When you improve a little, you might think about finding other like-minded guitarists who live close by and are keen to practise. If you get a few people together itís more of an incentive to stick to practice days and not duck out or talk yourself out of it. It also gives you the opportunity to learn new techniques from other people at the same playing level as you and to get ideas for new songs, chords and riffs to practise. You could meet at alternate houses each week, work out targets that youíd like to meet, or choose new songs to learn. Everyone has different musical tastes and youíll probably get the chance to play some great songs that you never would have discovered on your own. Setting targets will also give everyone the drive to go off and practise even more and youíll all improve more quickly as a result. Thatís not to say that this is an alternative to practising at home on your own as well Ė that goes without saying.