5 Tips for beginner guitarists!
So you’ve just got your first guitar! Maybe you’re starting to imagine yourself playing along to your favourite songs and all the fun that goes along with it. Playing guitar can be a great way to relax, it can introduce you to new ways of socialising and for a lot of people becomes a real passion. So here are a few tips to help you on your way!
Play the songs you love
A great way to get yourself inspired and really enjoy what you’re doing from the get go is to learn songs that you’re familiar with. It gives you a great platform to start playing quickly, because you already know the songs your learning. You will be able to use this to reference your progress and it will reduce the time spent memorising new melody lines, giving you more time to focus on your technique and the fundamentals of playing guitar. It’s very rewarding and motivating to hear yourself improve and get closer to being able to play the music you admire. Always be on the look out for new music you would like to learn and make an effort to explore different genres. Having an eclectic ear for music not only gives you loads of stuff to practice, but will expand your musical knowledge.
Make the most of your practice
As cool as it would be, unfortunately there is no magical solution to learning the guitar. No matter how many websites claim to have the key to unlocking the fretboard it still takes practice, so it’s important that you make the most of it. Try getting yourself into the habit of practicing. Find a good time each day when you can sit down and really dedicate yourself to playing guitar. Do it in a quiet environment where you can concentrate on the task at hand and stay focused on what it is that you’re working on in that particular session. Playing the guitar relies a lot on muscle memory, so playing regularly will help you develop this quickly. Even if you have a hectic schedule, if you can only play for 10 minutes a day something is better than nothing!
Be patient with yourself
It is important that you don’t turn learning guitar into a chore though. It should be a fun process as well as a challenging one. Take your time with learning and don’t try to progress things too fast. Everybody learns at different rates so make sure you find the right balance for you between too difficult and challenging, try not to run before you can walk. You might find at times you get stuck with a particular technique or are having trouble with a section in a song. It can be incredibly frustrating after trying over and over again, sometimes you might feel stuck in a rut and those thoughts of ‘I’ll never be able to do this’ start creeping in. Don’t worry… it’s natural. When you find yourself feeling like this just step away for a bit. Move on to learning something else or take a break and come back to it later. Be patient with yourself and embrace the challenge!
Find ways to stay motivated
I think its common amongst not only beginners, but musicians in general to listen to other people play or the artists they like and feel as if they will never be able to play that well. Everyone starts somewhere though. Nobody just picked up a guitar and started shredding, they practiced and practiced and learnt the same way that everyone does. That’s one of the best things about playing the guitar, there is so much out there to learn. Nowadays there are so many resources that everyone has access to which can help them learn. On youtube alone there are thousands of guitar lessons and song tutorials to watch, backing tracks to jam along to and more. Check out blogs and articles, listen to as much music as you can, get your hands on anything that you can use to improve. The more resources and inspiration you have, the more motivated you will be. Discovering new ways to learn can help you choose what kind of guitarist you want to be, by jamming new genres and trying lots different exercises you will find your niche and how you want to focus your playing. If you’re having lessons, take these new ideas to your tutor and get some insight into the things that interest you.
Keep a record of your progress
With all these new found resources and exercises to practice, it makes good sense to keep a record of what you’ve been working on. Whether you have a notebook or you use the ‘notes’ on your phone; write down what you’ve been practicing, how it’s going, new ideas you have and anything thats going to be useful to you in the future. It will make practicing way easier if you know exactly where to pick up from, as well as more productive because you’ll be reminded of specific things to work on from session to session.This will also turn into a good record of your progress. Being able to see where you’ve come from will give you the motivation to get where you’re going. If your feeling really disciplined, setting yourself some realistic goals to aim for can spur you on even more!
Basically… Do everything you can to give yourself the best chance at succeeding. Really put some thought into what, how and why you’re practicing. If you’re working on things that are taking you in the musical direction you want to go, that are helping you progress quickly and most of all you’re having bucket loads of fun; the motivation will follow and so will the results!