Want To Become A Great Guitarist? Stay Away From These 4 Mistakes
If you can identify with even one of the guitar practice mistakes listed in this article, you will have taken a big step towards overcoming an important obstacle that stands in the way of you becoming a better musician.
Mike Philippov is a guitarist in progressive rock and neoclassical styles and an expert in guitar technique and guitar practice training.
Posted Jul 13, 2012 01:13 PM
What do you think is the reason why some guitar players become truly great musicians while so many others continue to struggle for years (or decades) with improving their musical skills? Is it natural talent? The amount of time spent practicing? Access to higher quality guitar learning resources?
Although all of these elements do play some role in the amount of progress one can expect to make in their guitar playing, it is quite common for many guitar players to practice a lot and have naturally high aptitude towards learning music and still have a very hard time improving their guitar playing.
The reality is such that the world's best guitar players have various things in common in the ways they approach the process of practicing their instrument. Likewise, guitarists who practice for years and never seem to get any better ALSO have things that are in common in their guitar practice methods. These common flaws are some of the reasons why many guitar players never become the great musicians they have the potential to be.
As you keep reading below, I will explain a few of the more common mistakes guitar players make in their approaches to practicing. If you have a hard time getting better on guitar despite practicing regularly, be honest with yourself and ask if any of the issues you will read about are true in your own guitar playing. If you can identify with even one of the guitar practice mistakes listed in this article, you will have taken a big step towards overcoming an important obstacle that stands in the way of you becoming a better musician.
Mistake 1: Looking At The Calendar
Far too many guitar players obsess over looking for an answer to the question such as: How much time is needed for one to become a good/great guitarist? It is normal to wonder about this issue in the early stages of your guitar playing, however too much energy spent focusing on the concept of time will only delay the process of reaching your guitar playing goals. The reason is because your guitar playing results are NOT directly affected by how much you practice your instrument but rather by how WELL you practice. The classic saying: It's not how much time you spend doing something, it's HOW you do it that matters sums up this point nicely.
In addition to the above realization, focusing on how long something should take to learn on guitar will (subconsciously) move your attention away from the things that matter (such as learning how to practice guitar effectively) onto things that don't matter (counting days until an arbitrary date on the calendar is reached).
Rather than falling into the trap above, focus your mind on finding ways to make your guitar practicing efforts more effective. As you do this, you will often notice that the time it takes for you to see results will become less than you expect.
Mistake 2: Spreading Yourself Too Thin
The internet age has made it far too easy to find all kinds of guitar and music related information for free within seconds. Unfortunately, despite the convenience of modern technology, it hasn't gotten significantly easier for one to become a TRULY great musician. As a result of such an overflow of information guitar players are faced with a new challenge, which is: what to do with all of the resources that are available to them. From this, one or both of the following things happen:
01. Guitarists attempt to move from one type of guitar learning resource to another very quickly, not having fully benefited from what they were working on previously and (just as bad) having no idea how the next thing is going to help improve their musicianship.
02. Guitar players become frozen by excessive number of possibilities and choices and cannot make up their mind about what to practice to reach the next level of their musical skills.
In contrast, great musicians are able to successfully avoid such problems of overwhelm and can determine at any time what they need to practice next to improve their guitar playing.
Mistake 3: Not Taking Ultimate Responsibility For Your Guitar Playing Progress
While the two guitar practice problems described above often come up for self-taught guitarists, the following issue is quite common for guitar players taking music lessons. Although your guitar teacher's role is to help you make much faster progress in your guitar playing than you can achieve on your own, it's sometimes easy to overlook the fact that nobody but yourself is ultimately responsible for improving your own guitar playing. There isn't a guitar teacher in the world who can do all of your practicing for you and there isn't a magic video or book on guitar playing you can study that will make you a great guitar player simply because you watched/studied it.
Having said that, it's important to mention that taking responsibility in no way means that you must assume that you know more than your guitar teacher or completely dismiss new ideas or guitar learning resources. All this idea means is that you must put in the work on your own with applying whatever materials or concepts you use to improve your guitar playing. It also means for you to at least attempt to think through your problems before asking for help. Doing this will help you to achieve a much needed level of balance between feeling in control of your own musical progress and seeking outside help when it is truly needed to allow your guitar playing to improve more quickly.
Mistake 4: Being Impatient
Although there is a LOT you can do to speed up the rate of your progress on guitar, you must remember that, similar to growing up, some processes simply cannot be rushed beyond the natural course of action. To put it another way, there is much you can do to avoid common problems that slow down (needlessly) the speed at which your guitar playing improves, but there isn't much you can do to rush the process of becoming a musician past a certain point.
What this means is that you must learn to be patient during the process of developing your musical skills and remember that the journey of being a musician is a never-ending one. There will always be new things to learn and new skills to develop in your guitar playing for as long as you choose to be a musician and every guitar player goes through the same process (with no exceptions). The sooner you realize this, the easier it will be to put your mind at ease about the learning process and focus on the steps you must take to reach the next level in your guitar playing.
Armed with the understandings in this article you should analyze your approach to practicing guitar to consider if any of the mistakes here apply to you. Take the needed actions to make your practicing efforts more effective and you will notice yourself starting to move a lot more quickly towards your goals as a guitarist.
To find out more about how to get greater results in your guitar playing and practicing, see this free guitar learning video.
About The Author:Mike Philippov is a professional musician, music instructor and composer. He writes articles about learning and practicing guitar that are published on websites around the world. On his website PracticeGuitarNow.com you can find many more guitar practice articles and advice about becoming a better guitar player.