One of the best things about taking guitar lessons is being accountable to a teacher each week. They can tell if you practiced or not, you can be embarrassed or proud. If you are self taught (or self teaching) or haven't taken formal lessons in a few years, it can be tough to progress in your practice each week. Here are a few tips to get more out of your practice time: 1. Stretch Yourself If you haven't picked up a guitar in a few days or (gasp!) longer, it can be tempting to bust out a few renditions of your favorite tunes. Soon your guitar practice sounds like your own, personal greatest hits album. For me it's Jimi Hendrix Voodoo Child, Stevie Ray Vaughan Cold Shot, and Setzer's Stray Cat Strut. Every time. Don't fall into the trap of playing the same tunes over an over again. Make a goal of learning one new song each week. And really learn it- don't just learn the main lick and then go back to playing your favorites. 2. Regularity (without the fiber) It can be easy to play sporadically. Guitar is rarely a priority in most of our lives (as much as we would like it to be.) Remedy this by setting goals practice at least a small amount, 10 minutes or more, every single day. There are several popular goal management apps out there. One I like is the free app DontBreakTheChain. It's a simple concept- each day you practice, you get to check off a calendar box. Do it again tomorrow, you have a chain started. See how many days you can go without breaking the chain.
3. Play Along
Playing by yourself is different than playing with a band. With a band, you can't stop and fix a bad note. You keep going. With a band, you get a powerful backbeat that drives you forward.
But what if you don't have a live band sitting around waiting for you to play? Any music will do. Put on your favorite album, find the key, start jamming. You will pick up some new licks as you emulate the guitar player, and you will hone your "playing along with a band" chops. It also ensures you are playing new music, not sitting stagnantly with the same music (unless you only own a few songs).
There are also services out there with backing tracks made specifically for you to practice along with. This is a great part of the JamPlay online guitar lessons suite of tools.
What else works for you? What keeps you learning new stuff and getting better each day?
3 Ways to Practice Guitar Less, But Learn More
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