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How to Improve Your Practising Time
We all want to get better at guitar, but some people seem to improve faster than others.
In my experience as a teacher I found that if a student improves faster this is NOT due to natural talent, rather it's because he/she is following a few simple guidelines.
If you want to improve faster too, here they are:
Practicing guitar: that thing that will make us better at playing guitar, but it's not as fun as playing.
Here are a few suggestions to get the most out of the time and energy you put into practicing. They will help you getting frustrated, and they will make you improve at a steady rate:
Things you want to do:
Play slow before playing fast. This is the secret to speed and relaxation: do not speed up too soon. Make sure you can play your exercises at a moderate tempo before shredding with them.
Have a practice schedule. As your teacher help in building one, then follow it. Even if you do not follow it 100%, it's much easier to stay on track with a schedule... and your playing will massively improve in a short time.
Focus on one thing at a time. It stands to logic that it's quite hard, if not impossible to focus on TWO things a a time. The idea here is that if you try to fix EVERYTHING wrong with your playing every time you practice, then you are spreading your attention too thin. Pick ONE thing, and work on that.
Check with your teacher. Make sure your teacher approves what you are going to practice. Just asking him/her: "hey should I practice this thing right now?" will save you TONS of time, as your teacher may give you a better, more efficient alternative.
Things that will make your practice harder:
Practicing useless things. For you right now, everything you find on the internet/Youtube is useless UNLESS your teacher explicitly told you to go and watch it.
All those 'shiny' licks that you can learn on YouTube are a waste of time if you are not ready for them. I know it is hard to resist, but if you focus on what your teacher gives you, you will see the differences in just a few weeks.
Distractions. You can't learn if you do not focus, so eliminate all phones, computers, TV, etc from your practice space. Just practice!
Following multiple teachers. This is something you should NEVER do. Different teachers have different methods, and those differences will interfere and slow down your progress.
Pick ONE teacher that you like (not the best player, but the best teacher!) and listen only to him. If you pick two teachers it will confuse your fingers and your mind.
About the Author
Tommaso Zillio is a professional rock and metal guitar player with the passion for music theory that teaches electric guitar lessons in Edmonton to many local up and coming guitar players. He's also a respected writer of guitar columns.
5 Ways To Make Your Guitar Practice Inspiring
by Allen Hopgood
Are you tired of learning and practising dull and lifeless exercises that don't really work?
Frustrated with scale patterns that get you to run up and down the strings but don't sound close to a musical idea?
Do you jump around from one idea to the other hoping to see improvements in your playing but at the end of the hour you feel like you haven't got anywhere?
You're not alone. For nearly two decades my guitar practice consisted of basically what I felt like doing in the moment or learning songs that my band wanted to play. So I know how you feel – you want to play more and progress faster and feel a sense of accomplishment and inspiration of being a better guitar player.
In this short article I want to share with you some things that really helped to turn my practice sessions around.
I'm sure if you follow this advice you will get inspired to practice more and advance faster.
Practice Inspiration 1: Set Up Your Room Properly
Make you practice area unique and inspiring to you. You are going to be spending a lot of time here so make it a dedicated part of your house.
Have it set up with a good armless chair, a footstool and music stand. Have you amplifier nearby (if you play electric guitar) ready to go. On your walls, put up posters or photos of your favourite guitar players or bands.
Use album covers for added inspiration if you want. You can also include inspirational/motivational quotes on you walls to fire you up and to keep you focused.
Having your practice area, designed and set up the way you like it, will greatly aid to your inspiration to practice more.
Practice Inspiration 2: Have Practice Materials Ready
Before you sit down to practice for the day or particular session make sure you have all the materials you are going to be learning/practising/reviewing on hand ready to go.
Have the music sheets, guitar lesson handouts or books beside you at all times and ready to go so you don't have to waste your precious practice time, shuffling and rummaging through books or folders to find what you are practising.
This alone will save you time and make your practice sessions way more productive and rewarding. It will also eliminate the urge to just wander and start noodling.
Practice Inspiration 3: Ensure There Is Going To Be No Distractions
Before you practice, tell everybody you live with that you're not going to be available for the next thirty to sixty minutes.
Tell them that you are not to be interrupted during this time unless in case of an emergency. You also want to switch off your phone.
Turn off your television and/or stereo. Any device that can alert you with notifications with beeps or buzzes. You want zero distractions in this time so you can focus on what you are working on – free from any outside influences or any of your own creation. You will get more done and accomplished, by following this simple rule. Plus having this no access zone set up for your practice time and seeing the new improvements in your guitar playing will go far to inspire you to practice more
Practice Inspiration 4: Set A Goal To Work Towards
Jumping from one thing to another in any random order, or spur of the moment is not practising. It's noodling. And noodling doesn't get you results. It leads to just playing around on your guitar. And playing around on your guitar doing things you can already do is not practising.
To overcome and prevent this from happening, set up what you want to practice and achieve for the week, before you ever sit down to a single practice session.
This can be as simple as “I want to learn these two new chords and to change between them smoothly by Saturday”.
When it is written down it gives you direction, something to aim for. Your goals for the week should include most areas of your guitar playing. Write down one goal for chords, notes/scales, rhythm and songs.
Get a sheet of paper – better still, a dedicated practice journal and note book and put a heading across the top of the page, I Will Achieve This In My Guitar Practice This Week. Then list your items:
· Memorise complete verse section of song
· Play an eighth note strumming pattern at 100bpm
· Read page 10 of music theory book
· Learn the second pentatonic scale pattern
Seeing this written on paper will keep you focused and organised to practice with more determination and discipline.
Practice Inspiration 5: Make Your Commitment
What does this mean make your commitment? We all live busy lives.
We have other responsibilities to consider besides learning guitar. With these other things wanting and needing our time it’s easy to let guitar practice slide and dismiss it off with a 'well, this came up' attitude.
However, things do come up from time to time that prevents us from doing our practice. That's life.
However we need to dedicate time to our practice. To see improvements in your playing week in and week out you have to schedule your practice time in.
Write it down as not negotiable. Commit to this time daily. Even if it can only be 10minutes a session down several times throughout the day. If you don't schedule it you'll find your guitar practice at the mercy of 'other things'.
The five things above call for no real sacrifice. They're not hard to do. However once you start doing them you will see continued results in your guitar playing.
Each week the thing that was once hard to do gets easier to play and allows you to tackle more challenging songs and material. Now that's inspiring.
About the author:
Allen Hopgood grew up on a steady diet of Australian rock music. Having played in bands since he was 15, he has shared the stage with some of the elite Australian musical talent. Living on the Gold Coast, he runs a successful guitar teaching business while pursuing his passion of song writing.
Saying Yes to Music Theory For Guitar Playing
Saying Yes to Music Theory For Guitar Playing
Music theory is a scary thought for many guitar players. Whether they are beginners or advanced guitar players. To many people, when they think of music theory, they think that it’s similar to learning advanced physics formulas which does sound scary!
Besides having a fear of having to learn music theory. Lots of guitarists say you don’t need it! This leads many beginner guitarists down the path of learning to play the guitar without a real understanding of what it all means and understanding how the guitar works.
I’m here to tell you that music theory A. Doesn’t have to be scary. B. It is so useful to learn when it comes to learning the play the guitar.
The biggest reason for learning music theory
The biggest reason for learning music theory is for communication. If you know what a sound on the guitar is called. You can then communicate that with someone else or for understanding what someone else is saying. Even for reading music. It’s really useful for understanding what it all means.
Imagine going around life, not knowing what items are called. If you are after sugar when you are making a tea. But don’t know how to say the word sugar. Asking someone to pass the powdered white stuff becomes more difficult.
What happens to guitar players normally
This is what happens to guitarists. There are many who can play the guitar who can’t describe or talk about what they are playing. Or even understand it. That means they struggle to communicate with other people or if someone asks them to play something.
This can cause a lack of confidence for many guitarists and musicians in regards to their playing.
And the thing is that music theory doesn’t have to be complicated either! Lots of music teachers over complicate music theory. I’ve heard it from so many of my students that teachers will often teach them theory that isn’t relevant, or really make things a lot difficult than it is! A great teacher would only bring in music theory if it’s needed and make it very applicable as well.
An example of very simple music theory that you can learn on the guitar that will help you tremendously is learning the notes on the neck of your guitar. So that when you play anything, you actually know what you are playing. You can now communicate that with someone and also when someone else tells you to do something on the guitar, you can understand what they mean!
Most important thing about music theory
The most important thing is that music theory is useful. Learning what is applicable to your playing is really helpful. There are a lot of people saying that it’s not required, but music theory encompasses so much that even just learning the basics to excel your guitar playing and confidence tremendously.
How awesome can Music theory be?
Here at Guitar Tuition East London, we make sure that any music theory we teach you can be applied to your guitar playing, and also your long term goals and dreams on the guitar. This is why our students are more confident as musicians and guitar players than any self taught guitar players and guitar players who have come to us from other guitar teachers as well. We make sure that music theory is taught in a fun way that is very practical. We know you don’t want to sit there learning things off by heart all day.
If you are based in East London, and you want to find out how to improve your music theory so that your guitar playing can improve, then contact us to find out how we can help you. Whether you are a beginner or advanced guitar player, we can help you take your guitar playing to the next level.
Why Is My Wrist Hurting Playing Guitar?
Are you wondering why your wrist is hurting when you play guitar?
Are you getting wrist pain when you are playing guitar? Are you thinking how professionals play for hours seemingly easily while you have to take a break every 10 minutes?
Are you wondering why your wrist is hurting?
Do you question your technique?
We are going to look at some of the reasons why your wrist might be hurting and a few solutions that will hopefully help you solve it.
As a Beginner Guitar Player
1. If you are a beginner guitar player, it is normal to have a level of pain in your wrist while your muscles develop and your hand gets stronger. The pain should be an ache, not shooting. If you are getting shooting pain, then definitely stop. During this beginner stage, if you are at home practising on your own and suffering from wrist pain. It’s a good idea to keep your practising sessions to 20-30 minutes only. If you are studying with a great guitar teacher who can monitor you and check your technique, then you can play for hours.
Tension in the rest of the body
2. One of the biggest contributing factors I see as the cause of why people’s wrist pain is hurting is because of tension somewhere in your body. This might be in your shoulder or back. If this is the reason, then you need to solve it by having proper posture. Here is a video that I had posted previously regarding good technique for sitting to help you with back pain and tension.
Building up strength
3. If you are trying to learn how to play barre chords at the moment. You will need to take some time to build up your strength in your wrists. Without that strength, it’s difficult to play for long periods of time without pain. To solve this, keep barre chords practising time short initially as you are building up your strength. Once you have done that, playing barre chords will be so much easier for the rest of your life.
Pressure on the fretboard
4. Another reason that people struggle with wrist pain with barre chords is that they are pressing on the fretboard too hard. This causes a lot of tension in the hand itself for long periods of time. This causes tension in the wrist as a result. To practise being able to hold barre chords softer, you can play the chords in the muted position, and then gently add more and more pressure until a clear chord rings up. Then you know that’s the level of pressure you need for playing a barre chord to reduce the amount of pressure and tension required by your hand to play it.
An extra point about pushing the strings down so hard, you can actually change the note to be out of tune if you press too hard, because it’s bending the string.
There are other reasons that might be the source of your wrist pain. If you have tried all of the solutions above and still struggling. I would highly recommend going to a professional guitar teacher who is able to look at your playing positions, your technique. It is really important that you solve this as early as possible to reduce injury to your wrist in the future.
If you are struggling with wrist pain. Get in contact to find out how we can help you.
How You View Your Long-Term Guitar Playing Effects Your Short-Term Progress
A Little Question With A Big Effect
The question to ask yourself is
"How long do you think you will play the guitar for?"
That's a very small idea that effects your progress on the guitar in both the short term and long.
If you have low commitment level towards playing the guitar. The result is that you are more likely to do less practice.
On top of that. Even if you did do the same amount of practice as someone who has a long-term commitment to play the guitar. Based on the simple idea before you've even started. This very little thought affects your progress by up to 400%!
So if you start playing the guitar with the idea that:
"I want just to try it out."
"I will carry on if I enjoy it in the first month."
"I want to just learn a couple of chords, shouldn't take long."
All these things that you may be saying to yourself can affect your progress all term.
Aim Sky High
I love the quote:
"Shoot for the moon, and if you miss. You will still land amongst the stars." By Norman Vincent Paele.
While this quote isn't astronomically true. I still love the meaning of it.
If you are not going to aim very high in your guitar playing. You will struggle to get very far with it. If you believe you have the potential to be as great as you want to be at the guitar. And you have the long-term commitment to get you there. Then you will achieve it. Or at least a lot further than if you would have been able to, if you hadn't believed it to be possible.
Everyone has the ability to learn how to play the guitar if you really want to do it.
Even people with missing fingers, even no hands. There is no excuse for why you can't learn.
Your Perception Of Yourself
The only thing that is holding you back is yourself. If you want to do it bad enough, you will get the best tuition and teaching you can get to get you there.
If you aren't sure about it, want to try it out. You will most likely end up going to a cheap guitar teacher. End up having a bad experience. Think all guitar teachers are like that and give up before you've even started.
Positive Attitude Goes A Long Way
Having a positive attitude towards your learning is so important.
The guitar is hard in the beginning, it takes a lot of coordination, but if you have the right instructions. Then you can have faith that you will get there as long as:
- You have the right attitude towards learning
- You believe in yourself and your ability to learn
- You have the right training from your guitar teacher
- You have long-term commitment towards learning the guitar
Your perception and your long-term commitment to learning the guitar. It will affect your progress both the short term. Which based on how it goes in your short term can massively effect your long-term playing as well.
In the Beginning...
If you "pick it up quickly". As many of my students say. You may think you are more capable, and carry on. (There are downsides to this too, which we won't cover in this article.)
If you are only going to try it for a month, and you think you are struggling. You won't have the willpower to keep going. You need that determination to get you through the challenges.
An amazing guitar teacher who understands the psychology of learning guitar will help you. But you are the one in charge of your own belief system about learning the guitar.
Setting The Bar
I recommend that if you decide to pursue learning the guitar, you set the bar higher for yourself. Whether it's able to play your favourite songs effortlessly, and confidently in front of your friends and family. Be able to sing and play at the same time. Be able to be creative and understand how the guitar works.
Have those ideas in your mind, that are longer-term targets for you to aim for. This will help you a lot with your short-term progress.
Darryl is the head of Guitar Tuition East London. Training his guitar teachers at the school to provide the best guitar lessons in London. He wants to help anyone wanting to make a big change to their guitar playing happen.
How To Improve Your Guitar Playing
Let’s look at some of the best things you can do right now. So that you can improve the guitar in both the short and long time to make some real progress. Which will make you more confidence in your guitar playing progress.
Setting some goals
The first things you need to do to improve on the guitar is to work out what it is you actually want to do.
What is it that gets you excited?
Is there a particular guitarist that you want to play like?
Are there songs that you want to play?
Do you want to be able to play in front of people?
Feel more confidence when you play?
Be able to pick up the guitar anytime and make it sound awesome?
Write it down. Get some goals.
Make sure you make it specific to you. Something that gets you excited and will make you want to improve your guitar playing.
Seek out, get help, work out how to achieve your goal
Seek out help on how to do that goal that you’ve got.
If you can work it out yourself, great. For most people in most situations, they can’t. So don’t feel bad for seeking help.
If you can get a teacher to get the information you need to do it. Then that’s great, you can do that too. But make sure once you have the help, make sure you make a plan and start working towards your goal.
Believe in Yourself
Put believe into the practise plan that you have, practise best as you can, and put best effort into it.
So that you believe in what you are doing.
I see some people struggle at this stage because they don’t trust the plan that they have. They are not sure if they have the right plans together.
A lot of people sabotage their good plan by not believe in it. And then even a good plan won't turn you into the guitar player you want to be.
Believing in your plan is important to ensure you carry through with it to get the maximum result. If you put your best effort in and it doesn’t get you where you want to, then over to our next point.
Review your plan
You need to review your plan regularly.
I find three months to be a good time, see if your plan is still working, if it’s not working, find out why. If it’s not, get help, get someone to look over it and work with you and get a new plan. And keep persisting with it.
And again, putting in your best effort each time. When you have a great plan and you keep on improving it, and you believe in yourself and put your best effort in.
You are bound to see a lot more improvements in your guitar playing.
Get a teacher and mentor
We’ve already mentioned it, it may be that you can achieve your goals on your own. And that’s great if you can.
For all situations, getting a teacher and a mentor to help you, will help you make so much more progress. And you will see a huge difference in the results that you get.
They need to be the right guitar teacher for you to help you with your specific plan to get to your goals. They should be able to foresee obstacles and challenges you may have and help you navigate them.
Having someone in your corner will help you to make a lot of progress. They will help reduce the amount of stress and frustrations that you would have.
And when you have tough days or weeks or months, you want someone to keep you accountable. They will help encourage you to carry on persisting.
Learn how to practise
Even with the best books, best exercises, best teacher, you need to learn how to practise the guitar.
Learning how to practise means you know how to use your time in the most efficient and effective way possible. So that you get the most progress possible.
And when you can work on practising guitar at home. It will make the more journey go a lot faster. You will get to each of your milestones quicker, and it will be a more enjoyable experience altogether.
You will be improving on the guitar a lot faster.
Do You Want to Improve Your Guitar Playing Faster?
Are you frustrated at your progress on the guitar? Do you wish you can be certain if you have the right plan to get you to your goals? Are you struggling to know what goals are realistic for you that is achievable in the timeline you have in mind? Are you passionate about guitar and music and is willing to put in the work to become confident at playing the guitar?
If this sounds like you, then contact us regarding how we can help you with your guitar playing. We will help you with setting your goals and providing a tailored program for you.
We will help you to learn to practice, so you can make the most progress in the least amount of time possible. We are so sure of ourselves that we provide a free introductory guitar lesson.
Click below to get started and to schedule your free introductory guitar lesson.
A Few Tips and Tricks
Playing the guitar is a tonne of fun, yet there are lots of people who give up, who never become good. We are going to look at a few tips and tricks to help you to becoming a better guitar player.
Is playing the guitar definitely something you want to do?
Playing the guitar isn’t the easiest of instruments. In fact, it can actually be really hard at first. Which is why it’s really important to have persistence for your guitar playing.
When it gets tough, you mustn’t give up. Because the only difference between people can play the guitar and those who can’t is that the people who can never give up.
Your effort that you put into the guitar will directly translate to the amount of result that you get. If you put in massive amount of action in a short space of time. You will see that reflected in your guitar playing.
However, in the initial stages. It does take a little while for your brain to adjust and learn how to coordinate with your fingers. This will be easier for some than others because different people’s coordination ability is different. Over time and with practice, everyone can improve and learn to play the guitar.
So just do it, and keep going and you will get there.
Having a good sitting position so you don’t end up in pain
A lot of guitar players learn how to play from YouTube videos or watching their favourite guitar players. Did you know that not all of them have good posture? In fact, a big majority of them do not. What does this mean for you?
If you learn to sit in a posture that is not ideal for you, you can struggle with technique problems later down the line. And the worse thing is having pain in your back and shoulders.
I'm going to outline how to sit with your guitar to that you can enjoy playing it without pain in the future. On top of that, also making sure that you don’t ever hit a brick wall with your technique.
Yes, the way we show you to sit with your guitar may not look very cool. The most common way that guitarists hold their guitar nowadays does look more rock and roll. (Which means having their guitar on their right leg for most people.) We want you to save that for your music videos.
When you are practising, the best thing to for your posture is to have your guitar on your fretting leg. (Left leg for most people.) Tilt your guitar so it’s in the same position as it would be if you were standing up.
Once you’ve got it in that position, you will realise that now this guitar positioning is similar to when you are standing up with your guitar. So practising this way means you only have to learn to play in one position for both hands! Therefore, you need less practise time for you to make more progress.
To maintain this position, use a guitar strap or footstool. If your guitar is heavy, definitely keep both options open, so that you can change between the two when your guitar gets too heavy for your back, or you start getting pins and needles in your leg.
Having the correct positioning will save you from a backache, neck ache, shoulder pain, wrist pain. On top of that, reduce the possibility of incorrect technique holding you back from playing at an advanced level.
I think all of that is worth it for sitting in a more “classical” position.
Keep a look out for Part 2 to find out more about other guitar tricks to help you advance as a guitar player!
Hope this guide and the videos have helped you understand a couple of key pieces of information in regards to your playing.
If you are a beginner guitar player struggling to make progress and you are based in London, England. Then we would love to hear from you. We are here to help you get fast results on the guitar the fun way and want to find out how we can assist you with your specific goals.
Fill in our contact form below, and we look forward to hearing from you.
When you are first starting out playing the guitar, Should you start on the Acoustic or Electric Guitar?
This is a common question that we get all the time from guitarists who are just beginning at their guitar journey.
I’m going to address some myths that so many people say which are just not true. I’m not sure where they are coming from but let’s go through some of the facts so you know whether the acoustic or electric guitar will suit you best when you pick your first guitar.
The big myth about the acoustic guitar being a beginners’ guitar
The big myth, and I often hear this from beginner guitarists is, “it’s better to start on the acoustic guitar, because that’s the one that’s good to learn on. And then you get the electric guitar later.” That is absolutely not true, and for so many reasons. You are much better off starting on an electric guitar because it’s an easier instrument to play in general. Let’s look at the facts:
1) Both on the acoustic guitar or electric guitar when you first start out playing. The big struggles you will have will be your finger strength, your finger tips, your wrist and you may struggle to find the strings as well.
2) The electric guitar is easier because you have thinner strings so it’s easier to press down on them.
3) On the acoustic guitar, you have a big body. So it’s harder to see the frets that you are playing. You have to bend over to see the fretboard and also to see which strings you are playing as well.
Because of these reasons, with an electric guitar, you can handle practising for longer, because your fingers won’t hurt so much, it’s easier to have a better posture. This way you can make more progress early on as you start to gain strength in your fingers and your body learns what to do with the guitar. These things are worth bearing in mind as one of the first things to look at when considering which guitar to start playing with.
Why you might still start with an acoustic guitar instead of electric guitar
Now with all that in mind, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should definitely start with an electric guitar. Sometimes you may still want to start with an acoustic guitar instead, so let’s examine the reasons why:
The style that you want to play
If you only ever want to play acoustic guitar music, such as campfire songs and finger style music, and you don’t have any interests in ever playing the electric guitar. Then you should get an acoustic guitar.
So in this particular case, it is worth starting out on an acoustic guitar instead of an electric guitar. Choose an acoustic guitar that you feel easy and comfortable on.
Yes, it will be slightly harder to play, but the most important thing when you first start playing the guitar is that you buy an instrument that, when you come home from work, you see it sitting there or hanging up and it makes you excited to play it and makes you want to practise. If you do not like the electric guitar, then it won’t get you excited. So definitely get an acoustic guitar.
If you ever to play both styles of music, then start on the electric. For the reasons stated previously.
Do you want to solo and improvise on your acoustic or electric guitar?
If you ever want to do solos and improvisation, play any type of rock music then getting an electric is a great idea because on an electric guitar you have a lot of frets. On the acoustic, the frets often barely go past the 12 fret mark. You also get the body of the guitar restricting you, so then it’s harder to press down the strings. Whereas the electric guitar often goes up to 22 or 24 frets, so you have a lot more freedom and flexibility when it comes up improvisation and playing solos.
Getting both acoustic and electric guitars
I would personally recommend that you get both, if you want to play both at one point. I would start with an electric guitar, set some milestones and buy an acoustic guitar later on.
I find a lot of acoustic guitarists say later on, I fancy playing the electric guitar as well. So if that’s the case, then definitely start on the electric guitar.
The Big message
In conclusion, the big message is, if you can find any reason to start with the electric then start with the electric. If you are completely opposed to it, then start with the acoustic but make sure you find one that you feel comfortable on and that excites you.
The most important thing with playing the guitar is persistence, and carrying on even when you have a bad day or bad week. The biggest limiting factor isn’t the guitar, it’s how much work and practise you put into it.
Are you a beginner guitarist and don’t know where to start? Do you want someone to help you through every step including helping you pick your first guitar so it’s perfect for you? Do you want to be able to play your favourite songs as quickly as possible?
Contact us to find out what we can do for you, we have helped many beginner guitarists get a head start in their guitar playing. We are so confident that we can help you that we offer a free assessment guitar lesson to discuss your goals and dreams on the guitar. If you are based in London, contact us to schedule your free assessment guitar lesson in London by clicking the button below.