3 Smart Practice Tips For Guitar Players

Man Practising notes with guitar

Whether you are just starting out or you’re an experienced guitar player, practice time is crucial. Research has shown that, in order to reach a professional level, an average of four hours of practice every day over the course of ten years is required. That may seem like a huge amount of time, but the quality of practice is also an essential element. Even if you cannot practice four hours a day, just half an hour of smart and deliberate practice can do wonders for your guitar skills.

Correct mistakes as they happen

When you make a mistake, stop immediately and correct the mistake straight away. It’s easy to finish the piece you’re playing, go back and start over, promising yourself that you will focus on that mistake. However, our brains are wired to repeat something we have learned in the same way, so if you just plough through a problematic passage and ignore it, you will probably make the same mistake over and over.

Decide how you are going to fix it and practice that specific phrase, without going back to the beginning of the passage. Once you are sure you have corrected your mistake, start from a few measures before and practice working the problem area into the piece. When you’re feeling confident, go from the top and play the piece the whole way through.

Eat right

Certain foods can boost both your practice and your performance, just as other foods can

Portrait of young man sitting couch with guitar in hands

have the opposite effect. Many musicians think that they have no time to eat healthfully and cook, as they’d rather practice or use their time differently, but this is actually a bad trade-off. Eating healthy will give you more energy in the day, help you maintain focus and be more creative. On the other hand, if you’re not paying any attention to what you’re putting in your body, chances are that you will feel drained and be unable to focus.

Integrate specific brain-boosting superfoods into your diet such as American ginseng or rhodiola rosea. These supplements can help you reduce fatigue, both mental and physical, reduce stress and increase focus and mental performance in general. This can be particularly useful before a performance.

Value the long-term over the short-term

It’s easy to become frustrated if you’re not improving every single day, but if you continue to practice every day in a smart way you will get better. It’s normal to plateau and find yourself in a rut once in a while; playing has its ups and downs, but if you relax and simply work through it you will eventually make a breakthrough and find yourself working on something new. There’s always an obstacle just ahead, whether it’s bar chords or fingerpicking, and it’s easy to get discouraged. This is when most guitar players quit so stay strong and remind yourself that you will get over that hump.

Research has shown that it’s much more effective to practice a short amount of time every day rather than many hours once every few days or the day before the concert since sleep allows us to process new information. Try to practice at least 15 to 30 minutes every day.

Understand that the long-term is so much more important than the short-term. Think about how good you will sound like one year from now if you just keep practicing every single day! Try not to be too critical about your playing, it will improve if you stay focused and just practice.

(Written by special contributor – Jess Walter)

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