Become The Best Guitarist You Can Be With These Simple Tips

Playing an instrument is an incredibly rewarding and beneficial activity on so many levels; it can help you express your creativity, relieve stress and anxiety and improve memory retention. Unfortunately, research shows that 90% of aspiring guitar players quit after the first year. This is why it’s important to have strategies to improve and keep going even if it feels like you’ve hit a plateau in technique and creativity. If you know fundamental chords and keys and basic technique, and also understand the importance of practicing regularly and in a smart way, you’re ready to really start taking your guitar playing to the next level.

Practice Every Day

As you probably already know, practice is fundamental and often makes more difference than talent. However, it’s essential to understand that it’s better to practice every day for a shorter amount of time, rather than practicing for hours once a week. As little as 15 minutes of practice every day will help you build up your calluses, so that you can play more effectively and with less pain in your fingers. Research has shown that practicing for a short time every day is much more effective than practicing for more time but less frequently

Remember to be realistic in your expectations; just like it took a while to build up basic skills, it may take a while to get over technical difficulties, such as barre chords – a tough one for many guitarists! Really take your time in working on specific problem areas. With barre chords, for example, try changing the inclination of your finger so that you’re using the hardest part of your index finger instead of pressing down with your thumb and the softest part of your index finger.

Study Musical Theory

You may have studied chords and keys practically on your guitar, but it’s essential you understand musical theory fully in order to become a better guitar players. Study all keys and chords, as well as the circle of fifths, and make sure you understand the relationship between the degrees of the scale. It’s essential that you know which chords go on which degree of the scale, and which ones are fundamental in determining the strength of the key (I, IV, V). Study major and minor scales to a point where you’re playing them proficiently and automatically.

Divide your study time between physical practice and theory study. This will also help you avoid injury, as pushing yourself too hard may result in pain in your wrists or fingers. If this happens, rest and avoid practicing for at least a day. Practicing through the pain could result in injury, which would probably force you to stop playing altogether for a while.

Travel With Your Guitar

Traveling with an instrument allows you play and express yourself anywhere you are. Music is also a great social activity which can create lasting bonds and unforgettable memories. For this reason, investing in a great travel guitar is ideal in order to ensure that you always have a guitar with you and it’s not a burden to take with you whether you’re on a memorable road trip or you’re flying to an exotic destination. Great options are the Little Martin LX1e or the Baby Taylor BT1e, which both sound great for their size but are so small that they can easily be taken anywhere. They are not a bulky addition to a car trunk and are usually considered hand luggage on airplane.

Whether you’re looking to be more creative and expressive in your playing or you’re looking to take up an activity such as songwriting, travel is an endless source of inspiration and creativity. Shelley H. Carson, psychology professor at Harvard, states that travelling allows us to see our surroundings and ourselves from new perspectives, and also exposes us to new experiences, taking us out of our comfort zone. This in turn increases our creativity. Having your guitar with you every day will ensure you get the practice time you need to grow as a guitarist while also improving from a creative perspective.

(Guest post from ShareMyGuitar Blog contributor Jess Walter)

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