Be Sure to Celebrate the Little Victories


By Brian Fish

If you are like most guitar players you love to talk about who is the best, the fastest, or the most expressive guitarist of all time. These are fun conversations to have but they are completely subjective. Itís easy to start doubting your own ability to play if you start comparing yourself to some of those all-time greats. It can get even more discouraging if someone close to you is a great player because they make it look so easy. What people donít see is the hours they spent practicing to achieve that skill level. Anyone can become a very good player if they are willing to put in the work that is required. It only takes time and patience. So, what are some things you can do that will help you get better faster?

Find what you need to practice for the style of music you want to play

Every style of music has a set group of skills you must be proficient at to make the music sound correct. Find out if your favorite bands are using power chords, open chords, bar chords, or inversions up and down the neck. In the style you like what scales do the guitar players use when they solo. You need to figure out the skills required to play the music you love. There is a ton of information about chords, scales, and arpeggios online or in books and videos. Practicing it all without a plan will not do you any good. Start by training on the skills that you need to play the music you love until they are automatic. Focus on what is important! Other skills can be added latter.

What do you do once you know what to practice?

Track it. I mean keep track of everything. How many chords can I play? How fast can I find them or switch between chords? What types of scales are used in the music you want to play? How many of those scales do you have memorized. How fast can you play them accurately? How many songs have you written or learned and can play all the way through? You should write this all down. It will give you a visual record of your progress.

You should also record yourself. Everyone has a smart phone these days. Record yourself playing. Listen to it and then put it away. Schedule a time for you to view it again in a few months. You will be surprised at how much smoother your playing sounds after a few months of practice.

Find a Good Teacher

Find a teacher who understands and knows how to play the style of music you love. They will be able to help you figure out what you need to work on. Make sure the teacher knows how to properly train you. How will you know this? Ask them to explain how they will train you. Most guitar teachers cannot answer this question. If they have no answer for you then keep looking. A good teacher will do a whole lot more than just teach you new info every week.

Learn to Enjoy the Process

Getting better takes time there is no way around that but you will be surprised how quickly your skills improve You are getting better every day you choose to work on your playing. What about all those people who play better than you? Let them inspire you. If they can do it so can you. Once you learn to enjoy the process it is a whole lot of fun learning to play the guitar. Donít be afraid to get help from a qualified teacher and be sure you celebrate all the little victories you will have along the way.

About the author: Brian Fish is a professional guitarist living in North East Ohio, He is a highly trained guitar instructor at Guitar Lessons Geauga.