The guitar is one of the most popular instruments to learn. It’s a compact, affordable, and extremely versatile instrument. After all, almost every band requires a guitarist, regardless of their genre. With a decent amount of practice and dedication, the guitar can be fairly easy to learn.
But to really learn the guitar efficiently, there are certain disciplines you need to follow. From staying motivated to building a strong foundation in the basics, there are several things that separate beginners from the pros. Many people learn the guitar – from young children to the elderly. If you’re one of the aspiring musicians, here are 5 basic principles to follow to improve yourself as a guitar player.
1. Train yourself to listen
Apart from being an important life skill, listening is a crucial part of learning and playing the guitar. Listen to how professional guitarists play during both live performances and on pre-recorded albums. What playing style are they following? What technique are they using with their fingers? What kind of tones are they achieving? Watch and listen as often as you can. You’ll eventually improve your playing and musical feel which eases the process of learning new material.
Additionally, listen to yourself as you practise. Try to record your practice sessions and take some time every week to listen out for any mistakes or areas for improvement.
2. Learn the basics correctly
Playing the guitar involves a mixture of different fundamental skills – and it’s crucial to learn those skills properly. If you learn a few of those skills wrongly or cultivate bad playing habits during the learning process, you could create a muddle out of your playing. When starting out on the guitar, you should try your best to learn a bit of everything, from notes and chord to strumming and rhythm.
Although you could try to pick up these skills on your own, it’s best to learn from a professional music teacher. Besides teaching you proper technique, they’ll also be able to identify your mistakes and prevent you from forming bad playing habits that are difficult to break.
3. Don’t ignore music theory
While many guitarists tend to dismiss music theory, knowing a bit of it is always useful – especially when it comes to improving your playing. Like it or not, music theory is the string that ties the music together. It enables musical groups to play together and transposes music for the guitar. At the very least, every guitarist needs to know how to read a chord chart. Additionally, there are many guitar tabs online, so it’s beneficial to learn to read those as well. It’s also essential to learn the notes of each string, along with chords and scales.
4. Keep yourself motivated
Although the guitar is a relatively easy instrument to pick up, learning the music always comes with some challenges. In the beginning, it can be frustrating when you feel like you aren’t getting anywhere despite hours of practice. There’ll be days where you won’t want anything to do with the instrument. However, persevering through these rough patches will eventually reap you the fruits of your labour, so it’s important to stick with your practice even at times where you feel like giving up.
To keep yourself motivated, set achievable short-term goals along with more difficult, long-term goals. You can reward yourself after each practice session or get a music buddy to support you and hold you accountable. Everyone is motivated by different things – find a method that is best for you and stay with it.
5. Have fun
Finally, always remember the reason why you’re learning the guitar – to enjoy yourself! Having fun during your practice sessions is key to staying motivated and improving your skills. For an enjoyable learning process, don’t hesitate to get started with group guitar lessons that give you the opportunity to have fun and jam out with other aspiring guitarists as you learn!