Do Things You Can't Do YetThis is a definite sign that you are working to move forward. It will be uncomfortable at first but so is everything else. Before you know it, that thing that was uncomfortable becomes comfortable. This is critical to your progress, practice is working on things that you aren't very good at yet. If you are doing things you are good at already, you are rehearsing. Your comfort zone has to be broken. You can always come back to the things you already know but if you don't break through the rut of doing things you're not good at yet, you will not see progress as fast as you would like. Practicing things you are good at will not move you forward, it will simply make you better at that one thing you are working on.
Goals, Goals, and More GoalsSuppose you haven't learned a certain scale, that can be a goal. If you've never written your goals down before, stop what you're doing right now and write your guitar goals down, then get to them. This will do wonders for your guitar playing. You will be able to see what you want to accomplish clearly, and there is power in clarity. The brain releases endorphins after you have completed even the smallest things including small goals. You'll feel good, and you'll feel like you've moved ahead with your skills after you start working towards your written goals. When you start to practice, have this new goal in mind and envision yourself already doing it. Figure out what you need to do in every area of your guitar playing: chords, scales, techniques, etc., and move forward. Keep yourself from staying stagnant. There is always excitement when you challenge yourself to new goals. Jim Rohn said, "Goals will get you through the winters of your life." I'd like to add that they will also get you through those challenging phases of your guitar playing. Challenge yourself today. Try to get faster at your sequences or tremolo picking or whatever it is that you feel you're not good at yet. Add some techniques into your goal list and implement them into one of your songs. Do this right away, don't wait. Brian Tracy, a master at achieving goals says to write your goals down on a piece of paper and then under them write 3 things you can do to get there. Write them in the first person as if they are already yours. For example, "I rip through my scales at 800npm, I sweep arpeggios in any given key, or I have vibrato mastered." This will help you get focused on what you need to do to get there. You don't need to broadcast your goals to the world, keep them for yourself. If you work towards them every day, you will soon be in places you never thought you could be.
Add Techniques To Your ArsenalWhen you consistently practice different techniques all the time your options start to grow. In the book "The War Of Art", it says "The professional dedicates himself to mastering technique not because he believes technique is a substitute for inspiration but because he wants to be in possession of the full arsenal of skills when inspiration does come. The professional is sly. He knows that by toiling beside the front door of technique, he leaves room for genius to enter by the back." In other words, the more you work on your technique, the better the ideas will be that come out of you when you're inspired. Once you have certain techniques mastered they will start to come out on their own when you are noodling around or trying to come up with something cool. Build your arsenal and keep at it.
Here is a suggestion: when you sit down to practice, have a metronome out or a drum machine. You can find these online for free if you are just starting out or if you don't have one yet. Have your lessons in front of you. You can open up the pdf files you want to work on if you have lessons on your computer or you can print them out. I have a folder of all the exercises and lessons that I want to get better at, right on my desktop. It's good to practice several different things in one session versus spending all your time on one thing. In this way you can progress much faster as a player. For example, you should warm up, you should include time for, chords, songs, scales, songwriting, vibrato, tapping, sweeping etc., based on what your goals are. This does not mean you should do all of these things in your session it simply means to do more than one. Your goals are simply what you want to be able to accomplish on the guitar and what you want to get better at. Goals are one of the most important things you can invest your time into. Write some down, nail them to the wall and then try to reach them. When you do, write some bigger ones down.
Fire Yourself UpBeing fired up can make all the difference in the world so do what you gotta do to get into that mental state. If you need to go the gym first then go, if you need to belt out a few songs first then do that, if you need to have a cup of coffee, talk to your significant other, hang with your kids, or anyone that inspires you, then do it. If you need to blast some your favorite band at high volumes then do it. You end up playing much better after you've heard the artists who inspire you do their thing. In order to get fully fired up you have to fuel your mind with things that move you. Affirmations work for some, sex works for many, and a simple cup of coffee works for others, do what you need to do and crank it up. For me, watching a masterclass by a virtuoso player always does the trick.
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I am a solo artist and guitar teacher. I teach guitar lessons in the Miami, Fl area and if you would like to know more about music and playing guitar you can visit my site above.
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