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How to determine and improve the weaknesses in your guitar playing

By January 3, 2019 No Comments

Are you practicing every day, without getting the desired results? – If yes, it could be that your practicing isn’t well organized.

Before you are touching your guitar today, are you sure upfront on what you want to work on and witch areas of your guitar playing need the most attention from you? Or do you even know where the most severe weaknesses are, in your guitar playing?
If you don’t know it you are not the only one, many guitar players are not aware of which areas they need to improve. A good way to determine your weaknesses is to video record your playing.
As you are observing the footage, ask yourself the following questions: What could be done better, what could be done more efficiently? Write down all mistakes you observe. With what are you struggling the most?
As you found out the answers and actually begin to work on eliminating those weaknesses, you will see that you are making good progress in your playing.

We all find it much more enjoyable to play stuff on what we are good at, rather than working on the things that are giving us a hard time. I still catch myself from time to time, playing songs on witch I’m already good at, rather than working on really difficult pieces.
Of course it is much more fun to play stuff that you know by heart and you should take the time to enjoy the work, you already put into your guitar playing, because that’s why we are practicing in the first place. But don’t presume, that you are going to develop your skills and eliminate your weaknesses this way. Yes, that means a lot of work, but isn’t it much more fulfilling, if you are able to play all the stuff that you want to play eventually?

And this is leading me to the next point: Did you ever draw out a practicing schedule for yourself, on which you organized all the items you wanted to practice for each day and for how long you would practice each item?
If you are like me and you have a hard time to focus yourself on a single task, or you are lacking discipline, a practice schedule will help you to deal with this issues. If you already video recorded yourself and observed what needs to be improved in your playing, you might already have a list of items that require your attention.

The next step is to organize this items into a practice schedule and to note for how long you want to work on each task. To accomplish this, you would want to focus as long as you can on each task and to record the moment you recognize your mind is starting to wander frequently. This is the time span witch you want to include for the specific item.
You will find, that some items will be easier for you to focus on and you will have more endurance with them. Your goal should be, to extend this time span over time, to be able to focus longer on each task.
However, if you find it hard to keep focused on specific items for less than 3 minutes, you may consider to practice these items multiple times during your practice session, as shown on the graphic on the left side.

 

Depending on how many items you want to work on and the time you have available for practicing, you will need to split the items over several days. You don’t have to work on everything on every single day. This will prevent you from becoming overwhelmed and also from becoming frustrated, because you don’t have to work every day on items that are giving you a hard time and cause a lot of struggle for you.

The only thing that matters is, that you keep constantly working on all areas of your guitar playing that you are struggling with, in order to achieve results.

Now, go ahead and implement the advice I’ve been given you here, as soon as you pick up your guitar the next time. I wish you a lot of success with this method!

About the author:

This article was written by Marco von Baumbach, guitar teacher in Wuppertal, Germany. If you are interested in the author, check out his website about Gitarrenunterricht in Wuppertal.