Saturday, May 15, 2021

Guitar: 8 essential tips and mistakes to avoid as a beginner

Learn the guitar at your own pace and focus

If you only take one of these beginner guitars tips, do it with this one!

Don’t feel rushed. Learn at your own pace and focus on one technique first in a given practice session. Don’t overload yourself with too many goals at the same time or you’ll just end up getting frustrated.

Stay focused on one goal at a time. You could spend a week or two really getting to know 5 chords (why 5? Just pick a realistic number for that time window and do it!) Then, in the next week or two, practice changing. between these chords using different combinations. In the following week, work on your strumming or picking, using the chords and chord change combinations you have learned.

Progress in stages like this. Know what your specific goal is for the current week and stick to it. Don’t get distracted by a new technique that causes you to prematurely abandon your current goal. This is what causes problems.

As a beginner, you might think that using this method will take years. You will be surprised how quickly you progress if you focus your learning time and put on those blinders.

The thing that seriously slows down guitarists, and makes them run up against brick walls with their learning, is constantly switching from technique to technique and element to element, carrying with it. them all bad habits or half-learned techniques.
Don’t let that be you!

How often and for how long should I practice the guitar?

An hour a day devoted to playing the guitar is, in my opinion, a good benchmark. Maybe you can practice more on the weekends if you have more free time? If so, so much the better! Otherwise, don’t worry, just aim to get that time on the days you can.
Remember that regular practice is more important than time per session. 30 to 40 minutes a day is much more effective than four hours on the weekend and nothing in between.

Be prepared for every workout. This means you need to know what you learned in the previous session and whether you are happy with your goal for that session. If you still need time to reach your goal from the previous session, devote another session to that goal. Don’t move on until you’ve achieved your goal. It is important. If you feel like you are not making progress with a particular technique or concept, I am always here to help.

Spend time on practice and theory

There are two types of guitar learning – the mental / theoretical side and the physical / application side. It’s important to distinguish the two, as you may find it easier, as a beginner, to focus your practice sessions on one or the other, rather than mixing them together.

Theory – These sessions will be devoted to studying how the fingerboard works, the relationship between strings and notes, chords, etc. A lot of theoretical time will be spent reading and analyzing the diagrams and the fingerboard of your guitar. This aspect is intended to understand how music works on the guitar, to map the fingerboard in your mind so that you can later apply the physical techniques with confidence. If you really want to get good at the guitar, you have to devote some time to theory.

Practice – These sessions will involve exercising your fingers. Fingering chords fall into this category, as the emphasis will be on acquiring physical ease in positioning and changing chords, or on experimenting with new playing patterns. With solo guitar , the physical side covers techniques such as legato (you’ll learn what that means soon enough!), string curves, speed drills, and anything that involves the physical side of playing the guitar.

As you can probably see, the two go hand in hand, but I recommend that you clearly separate these two aspects during your practice time. Have a separate session for each. Most often, the theory comes before the physical. Here is an example …

Week 1 – theory – major 7th chords

Learn how the regular major chords you learned in previous sessions can be modified to create 7th major chords. What notes do you add? What unique sound do major 7th chords have? How does adding this major 7th change the sound of the original major chord? Can you build a chord progression that uses a major 7th chord well?

Week 2 – physical – chord changes and rhythms

Focus on the new chords you’ve learned and get physically accustomed to switching between those chords and others you’ve learned in previous sessions. This is where you can use a metronome or drums to develop your rhythm and timing around those chord fingerings. Try to play a simple sequence using these chords. Create a simple 3-4 chord piece. It’s about putting the theory you’ve learned into context.

Thus, the time of theory lays the foundations, physical time puts them into practice!

Practice time vs improvisation time

Noodling is just a term I use, and a lot of guitarists use to ‘mess around’. It’s a lot less serious and focused than a typical workout, and yet, in my opinion, just as important.
“Messing around” can seem a bit chaotic and unproductive, but it’s often the respite you need to be at your maximum creativity. Improvisations often bring to the surface ideas that you have formed, consciously and unconsciously, during your practice sessions.

Let me just clear it up – improvisation time is NOT part of your practice time. During practice time, you want that extra hour to be devoted to a specific technique or theoretical element. The time you improvise is extra, and should stay out of your more focused sessions.

Improvisation is simply the desire to take the guitar and experiment with a raw and free playing. No rule. No “good” or “bad”. Everything is allowed. Now is the time for you to experience those more unusual chords around the neck of the guitar, improvise, deconstruct and relax your playing. To truly be yourself on the guitar!

Of course, if you haven’t neglected a solid practice time, your improvisation won’t sound so spontaneously, but let’s just say hitting a few bland notes during this holy time, in the name of experimentation, isn’t the end. of the world!

It may also be helpful to write down any weaknesses in your game discovered during this time so that you can plan your future training sessions more constructively.

Rework your weaker parts

If you’re playing a piece of music and keep tripping in the same spot – maybe it’s a chord change or something you’re doing with your right hand – try looping that single section to smooth out gradually your mistakes.

It’s much more effective than approaching it with that dread feeling every time you start the song from the beginning.

Instead of seeing the whole piece as an accomplishment, see the smaller pieces of the piece as accomplishments and break it down accordingly.

Overcome frustrations as a beginner guitarist

If, like me, you have a short fuse, you might find yourself cursing yourself when you can’t nail something to the guitar. Indeed, you might be so frustrated that you will feel like, quite literally, hammering something into the guitar. If you get to this point, it’s because you’re trying to go too far, too fast. Your mind and fingers will have a hard time keeping up with your expectations if you are too ambitious or too impatient.

When you run into that brick wall, take a small step back. Are you trying to play too fast? Did you use a metronome to start slowly and gradually speed up? Are you giving yourself enough time? Do you progress in stages instead of taking huge leaps to try to “shorten” your progress?

The important thing is not to feel hopeless, never to accomplish what you are stuck on, because you will. All it takes is time and persistence. YOU set your deadlines, and even then, you can move them.

As I mentioned earlier – know what you have accomplished in your previous sessions so that you have that safe point of trust that you can step back to, breathe deeply and start your creeping progression from that point again. Once. See my article 10 Reasons You Are Not Progressing on Guitar for more help.

Get inspired by the different styles of guitar playing

I listen to a lot of internet radio, from soul to death metal. I think it’s good to listen to a wide variety of music, even if you’re not particularly into certain genres. Each genre has its own unique qualities when it comes to guitar, so spend some time just… listening. Hear how rhythms, chords, and solos are used. You might not know how they do it just by listening, but you might like the sound of something that will inspire you to go and investigate independently.

This is how I learned a lot of what I know about the guitar – the inspiration, the investigation, the accomplishment. The benefit of all of this is that you will learn a lot more than what originally inspired you.

Don’t forget to take advantage of it!

Above all, take pleasure in playing the guitar and enjoy the trip! Expect 3, 4, 5 years later, when, if you’ve been persistent with your practice time (and given yourself plenty of time for the noodles), you’ve accomplished so much. It’s about unleashing your creativity, little by little, so that you can express yourself on the guitar as naturally as you can with the spoken word. The doors will open as you progress. Each new door that opens is like a new outlet for your creativity.

The more doors you open over time, the more creative options you have at your disposal and the more your music will have the chance to be unique to you – and that is, in my opinion, the ultimate goal of learning. guitar, or any other instrument.

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