Basic Dos and Don’ts for Guitar Practice
It’s been a couple of weeks now that I’ve been practicing guitar and I’ve picked up a few key items that help guitar practice go more smoothly. These things seem to be common sense, but you would be surprised – sometimes when we’re so determined to do something (especially if we are struggling), simple things seem to slip our minds. Here are a few tips and tricks that can improve your guitar practice sessions, making them more effective and help transform you into a pro:
- First things first – this might sound like a no-brainer, but you can just as easily be committing this crime. Turn off background music and tune out outside sound so you can focus on the music you’re making (or attempting to). Use headphones if you have to.
- Adjust your guitar strap (if you have one), so that you can actually see all of the frets. Rex taught me it’s a common misconception that you’re supposed to place your guitar around or below your hips. It might not look the coolest to have your guitar propped up so high, but it makes a huge difference when practicing.
- Do your finger stretches before beginning! Make sure you are arching your left hand properly as well.
- Focus. If you have a short attention span, try to break up practice sessions into a couple 15-30 minute sets per day. Make sure your mind is focusing on playing and not on distractions – that includes TV, cell phones, iPads, work, stress, relationships, etc! If you want to have an effective session, you have to make the sacrifice to dedicate your full attention to the time you’re spending with your instrument.
- Sit up straight, drink water and breathe. Don’t be slouched over holding your breath – this can and will affect your playing. Stay hydrated and stay focused.
- Create a routine. This is a trap I often fall into. I start and for a couple of days I’ll practice every day. Then, I skip one day. That one day becomes two, then three, then four, and so on. Avoid this pitfall by setting time aside each day and really making guitar a part of your daily life. Like eating (seriously!).
- Visualize. This sounds silly, but it’s something that really works and is backed by science – in fact, it’s often used in sports performance settings. Visualize yourself playing well, focus on your posture and how you’re feeling in your visualization. Eventually, you can become this image if you put your mind to it.
These are a few of the simple tips I’ve picked up wile studying guitar from Rex. He brings the guitar lessons to you – Dublin, Pleasanton, San Ramon and Livermore CA.