13 Tips for Better Guitar Practice

Sitka Spruce Wood

 

Many people are turning to self-teaching methods with books and videos, instead of going to a teacher and getting lessons with feedback. Here are some helpful tips that will maximize your self-teaching efforts.

–Give yourself a break. It’s difficult in today’s lifestyle to be playing for hours on end, and it’s not all that good for you. You could get injured and have to give up playing for months. Its far better to set aside 15-20 minutes at a time and spread those sessions out over weeks, months and years.

–Practice correctly and mindfully. If you coast on auto-pilot when you’re practicing, you’re not helping yourself much. Relax when you do practice, but pay attention.

–Listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, that’s because it probably isn’t. Don’t be afraid to call it quits for the day and rest up.

–Don’t start a new instrument or technique all of a sudden. This could stress muscles you are not used to using. Ease into new techniques.

–Make sure your instrument is comfortable for you. Also, try to stay away from barre chords in solo arrangements whenever possible.

–Work on finding the buzz point. The best way to do this is to start off playing so light that your hand buzzes from not putting enough pressure on the strings. Next, press a little harder to make the buzzing disappear. You want to train your fingers to apply a certain amount of pressure, because any more than that would be wasted and unnecessary.

–Take a look at your hand position. Your wrist should be bent in any sort of extreme angle. This is an area you may wish to consult with a teacher or someone who can give you feedback.

–It’s a good idea to do hands, arms, and shoulder stretches. This will help you to prevent injuries and even carpal tunnel.

–Breathe. If you can remember to breathe deeply, then it can help relax you and produce better music. This is especially important if you need to perform in front of an audience.

–Use a sensible warm up routine. Play some slow scales, pay attention to posture, and make sure you’re loose and relaxed. Also, try not to hang your head forward, as this could cause a lot of discomfort.

–Drink water! Your body will just feel better in general after drinking water.

–Stop practicing your guitar, and start practicing music. Certain aspects of guitar playing will become easier and more apparent once you start to play actual songs – like speed and fluidity.

–Go for a beautiful sound, instead of trying to be the best guitar player in the world. It will start to become about you instead of the music you are producing. If you find yourself feeling tense, take a moment to think it over and reassess your goals.

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