Practicing effectively and efficiently between lessons is the key to improving your technique.
Practice makes perfect.
Learning guitar or bass can be an arduous, frustrating process for a beginner. Many seasoned musicians will sympathize with the pains of trying to memorize complicated chord shapes, understanding scales, playing to a metronome, and trying to play the infamous F Major barre chord. Within the first few weeks of learning, people often find themselves improving dramatically, but feel as though they reach a point where they have hit a wall with their progress.
The key to passing over that wall is practicing effectively and efficiently. Weekly structured lessons are incredibly helpful, as your teacher can provide real-time feedback to correct any mistakes and help guide you in the right direction. When not at your weekly lesson, it’s encouraged to set aside a minimum of 20 minutes a day dedicated to learning and familiarizing yourself with your instrument.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with practicing the same song for the entire duration of the time that you have set aside, but with a few tricks we believe that your progress will improve dramatically.
- Set yourself a few goals. For example: “I want to be able to play barre chords and write my own solos.”
- Make the best use of your time by taking action. Dedicate portions of your time in a structured way towards each of your goals. If you only have 20 minutes of practice time, then set a timer and spend 10 minutes on each of your two goals. Having structure will give you a sense of accomplishment and prevent what guitarists refer to as “noodling” (meaning playing random notes, which is okay and fun, but try to avoid doing so during the specific practice time you’ve set aside).
- Spend a few minutes each day working on scales. Many people find this to be a boring, repetitive activity, but it is something that can be done while sitting in front of your TV or while watching YouTube.
- If you haven’t already, learn the notes of your guitar. Once you have committed them to memory, many people say that the fretboard “unlocks” and seems less foreign. It will help you understand what you’re playing and can only benefit you.
- Have fun! Practicing guitar or bass shouldn’t be a painful process. If you find yourself getting frustrated, step away from your instrument and come back tomorrow.
Throughout the week following your lessons, if you find yourself with a question – don’t hesitate to ask! I’ve found that it’s way easier to learn things correctly the first time than to break bad habits. I want to make sure that you avoid the mistakes and frustrations I’ve faced, so that you have a solid foundation on which you can build and progress. I can give you all the tools to musical success, but it’s up to you to use them.