5 New Year’s Resolutions to Make You a Better Guitarist
The only problem is only 8% of people who set a New Year’s resolution are actually successful, with most failing after just 12 days and 80% failing before February has even ended.
1: Make Time Not Excuses
2: Set Clear Goals
Making time for practice is a huge step forward but it is also important to make sure you fill that time wisely and that you have a clear purpose and direction when you are practicing guitar and this comes with a clear goal.
Take a few minutes to think about what your big overarching goal is, what do you want to achieve from learning guitar? this might be:
- To be able to play rock music
- Play in a band
- Write a song
- Play a blues guitar solo
The reason you want to learn guitar is obviously going to be personal to you so really think about what it is. Now, before you write down ‘I want to be able to play guitar’ as you overarching goal think again as that doesn’t cut it, you will need to go a bit deeper.
Once you have your big goal the next step is to break it down into small steps, for example if your goal is to play a blues guitar solo you might break it down into these smaller steps:
- Learn the first pattern of the Minor pentatonic scale
- Work on some simple riffs from that pattern
- Practice lead guitar techniques such as Hammer ons, Pull offs, Bends (1/4, 1/2 & full), Vibrato & Slides
- Play over a 12 bar blues in the most common keys, focus on creating phrases and using lead guitar techniques
- Listen to blues music to get a better idea of the genre and to blues guitar solos to pick up some ideas
- Pick a simple blues solo and start learning it
3: Keep Track Of Your Progress
For example, if you are working on a strum pattern and can play it at 80 bpm, then next week you manage to increase the tempo to 90 bpm then straight away you can see you have made progress. This will help to keep you from going around in circles and provide you with the motivation to keep moving forward.
I prefer a note book as you tend to remember things better when you write them down by hand but use what ever works best for you. Now when it comes to what to write I would recommend starting with:
- The date and day
- What you practiced including tempos, number of repetitions etc.
- Review any problems and possible solutions
- Anything else that seems interesting and valuable
Try keeping a practice journal for the next month and I think you will be surprised with how effective it can be.
Make sure to keep your notebook and a pen on your music stand and write in it after every session, even if you don’t feel like you have much to write as this will help you think more deeply about your practice sessions.
4: Work On Your Fundamentals
So the question is how are your fundamentals?