It’s very hard to enjoy playing guitar when you struggle to make any progress or reach your musical goals. Unfortunately, many guitarists spend the majority of their musical life struggling, giving up and settling for less than what they want. Don’t let yourself end up this way! Getting better on guitar usually only requires a few tweaks to the foundation of your practice or practicing mindset. Once these changes are made, you begin seeing huge advances in your playing in a short time. Here are a few things you can do right now to stop struggling and start making big improvements in your guitar playing:
Start using a practice schedule and practice with better focus
It’s very difficult to get any better on guitar when you do not practice with a schedule. Many people make this mistake by treating their practice time more like an extended jam session rather than actual practice. Others do things like mindlessly play scales up and down, over and over with no real goal or intention behind it. Either way, these kinds of practicing approaches won’t help you get better or reach your musical goals any faster.
First, determine the specific goals you have for yourself as a guitar player. What are the things you want to achieve? Be as specific as possible (ex: don’t say things like “getting good” or “playing fast”). Set your goals in the most achievable and tangible ways possible. For example, rather than setting the goal of just playing faster. Choose specific techniques, exercises or licks that you want to be able to play at specific speeds. Also look for ways to expand your goals in order to become a great overall musician. Tip: do this by working together with a guitar teacher.
Once your goals are in place, begin finding materials that help you reach those goals. Design a practice schedule specifically around your goals in this way so that you are always practicing things that get you where you want to be. As you practice, don’t let your mind wander or fall back into noodling or mindless jamming. Treat your practice time seriously and focus on staying productive.
Don’t let self-doubt take control of your guitar playing
Your mindset is a key element for your potential to make tons of progress on guitar. Feed your mind positive, self-empowering thoughts and it becomes easier to take whatever actions are needed to get better. Feed your mind thoughts of self-doubt and you shoot yourself in the foot before you ever even had a chance.
Best approach if you are struggling: get a guitar teacher
Working with a guitar teacher is the best thing you can do to get better fast and overcome any struggles in your playing. Experienced guitar teachers understand how to create a specific guitar practice strategy for you to help you reach your musical goals in as little time as possible. When you work with a teacher like this, you get constant feedback on your playing to help you stay motivated and see yourself making progress. By observing yourself make progress, you begin to gain momentum that carries you to your goals and helps you achieve even bigger things than you ever thought possible in your playing.
Tom Hess shows guitar instructors how improve their skills and teach guitar for a living. He gives this advice to any student who doesn’t yet have a teacher: “No matter how bad you are struggling now, working with a great teacher moves you beyond these problems and helps you become better in a hurry. Don’t hesitate… the sooner you begin taking lessons the sooner you become the guitar player you always wanted to be.”