If you follow the advice in this article, I promise you three things:
1. You will experience an unbelievable rate of improvement with your instrument
2. You will have an incredible determination to improve
3. You will have heaps of fun
So, what magic must you perform to acquire these traits and gain these attributes? There are only two things you need to do: acquire a great teacher and join a band.
Sounds fairly obvious right? Well it may be to some of you, but I'm also sure that there are some players who are waiting to get better before they even think of joining a band. I hope to show you that diving headfirst into these two experiences will increase your motivation so much you won't want to do anything but play guitar.
So, what will playing in a band do for you, other than get you chicks?
The first thing to improve will be...
1. Your rhythm and timing. Playing in a band is a different beast to playing on your own. You'll have to develop your ear for the drummer and bassist and work with them to make sure you all sound tight.
2. Your strength and endurance will improve. You probably already notice that your hands tend to cramp up after playing for a little while. Well the great thing about playing in a band is that you'll be playing live eventually, so after mastering each song individually, you'll start practicing as if you were live. When's the last ime you played guitar for two hours straight, playing full songs with only a 20 second break in between? Unless you've been in a band before, you probably never have. After a couple of band sessions like this, you endurance level will have improved dramatically (power level>9000)
3. Your knowledge of the songs your playing will improve. I have had the experience of thinking I knew a song inside and out, but when I played it with the band something was missing. I went to listen to the song again and there were things I hadn't even heard before. I was forced to go back and find them.
4. Your creativity will be given a kick start. If you enter and battle of the bands, creativity (playing your own songs) is usually an important factor in the judges decision. You'll be forced to star writing your own progressions and riffs, and maybe they won't be amazing at first, but everyone starts somewhere, and it's better to start sooner.
When playing in a band, your motivation to practice shoots up, because practice is a lot more fun when you nail your parts, and it is really satisfying when you nail that tricky rhythm, riff or solo. You can almost feel the appreciation of your band mates for your skills. You'll even start practicing more efficiently, as you'll soon have he whole song mastered with only a few tricky bits you need to work on.
Since the goal of 99% of people who start playing guitar is to either entertain, play in a band or write songs, being in a band is great because it accomplishes all three at once.
So where does a teacher fit in? Well, as motivated as you'll be to practice for the band, a teacher can show you the most efficient way to practice, or show you how to play hat riff that doesn't seem humanly possible to play.
Ideally you'd space band practice and lessons out (e.g. Monday band, Thursday lessons) and this way you can bring any problems to your teacher and he or she can show you the root of the problem and give you specific exercises to improve in that area. The teacher can also help you with music theory, which, although not essential to writing songs, can certainly help. And what if you wan to put solos into your songs? You can learn to solo on your own, but like most things, a teacher will save you much frustration and speed your progress.
With both a teacher and band to practice for, your practicing schedule will vary and be kept fresh, every week will present a new challenge, every band practice will get tighter, and your ability to play guitar will improve dramatically. Not only will be practicing guitar become fun and rewarding, at practice you get to apply it all and spend your time playing songs you love (and ripping on the bass player).
You can find more of Eoghan's stuff at his website Galway Guitar Lessons. Or keep in touch through his blog. If you found the above article useful, help Eoghan look cool by liking his page on facebook.