Your time spend with your guitar will be rewarded if you organise the moments you spend with your guitar.
For this article a handful of tips some of your may find useful.
Give Your Fingers a Workout!
Typically when you start learning to play the guitar you will need some excercises to loosen up your fingers. Fingerexcercises are not only for beginners, a lot of intermediate players of the guitar need them as well as they may not use all their fingers correctly. Once your fingers know how to navigate around the fretboard they will remember this, but the fingermemory needs to be trained and a lot of people tend to skip the essentials. A lot of people even feel this is boring, but just remember: Noone in this world was born with the abililty to play the guitar. it is a skill learned over time and anyone can learn this skills.
Material to Play………..Songs!
Fingerexcercises are only a tool to get you going, the music is what you want to play, and part of the music are songs.
Once people discover they enjoy playing songs they tend to forget the hard work of scales, chords, fretboardknowledge ect. because it is boring………………
It is true that songs are what most listeners would like to hear you play, but you need a direction for those songs, you need to know what you can do with these songs rather than just playing them using the same old chords and rhythms that you have learned in the beginning.
How Do I get these Songs to Sound any Better?
This is where your journey on the guitar and in music starts! By learning about keys, tempo, chords, what you can do with those chords, how they are being formed ect.
All of this can be broken down into little segemants to guide you through the wilderness.
Make goals for yourself to solos over the songs you play, create new intros for them, learn to play some of the chords in different places.
Your Practise Time:
You could start your guitarsession with a few fingerworkouts. If you have been using excercises for a some time, have a look at them again, do not just repeat the same old hash: Work on all your fingers, get all fingers to work at a similar strenght in ANY place on the fretboard, work on slides, hammer-and pull offs, bends ect. Create your own excercises based on what your own playing needs! Enough to keep you going for quite some time.
From there you should move on to your songs, but don’t just play those songs as you have been doing, no break them down, analyse them: Ask yourself what key these songs are in, get to know all the different parts, the feel of the song. Memorise the song, learn to play it without the aid on any books or chord/lyricsheets. Listen to different versions of the song and have a look at how you play the song. Ask yourself why you play the song the way you do. In most cases you probably do not know, you probably never thought about this. Can you play this song differently? Yes, anything can be played in a way how you like it!
All in all I would call this the theory section of your practise session. Use this time to find out as much as you can about all the things you need to get better at, break it down in little sections and keep revisting this material and keep working on it. In this way you create your own practise scedule based on the material you like while at the same time working on new skills.
At the end of your playing session you should reward yourself with playing whatever you like playing and having as much fun as you can.
Remember: Each session should focus on something new, do not just play what you already know.
How you should go about finding fingerexcercises, theory for scales, keys and chords I leave up to you as there is plenty of material out there. You need to get to grips how to use this knowledge for what you do or would like to learn, do not just copy material without any reference to your own playing.
How long should I practise for?
As long as you feel is needed. I think doing it regularly is more important rather than dividing it up in hours or minutes. If you love the guitar noone should have to tell when to pick up the guitar and play. Whatever time you have available is good.
If you find it hard to get time, create moments of routine for yourself when you practise the guitar. Hopefully these habits will start to feel natural to you after some time.
Think about what you do, keep at it and enjoy.
Hope to see you soon again with more new insights in how to improve your level of guitarplaying