The first guitar practice tip is this: spend as much time during your practice session as possible pick in hand, guitar strap on, your fingers moving, mind engaged!
Do not watch TV or talk on the phone while engaged in active practicing. The amount of attention you give your playing will be paid back the next day, after you sleep, when you find that the solo that was giving you so much trouble has now become easy and you can play it like a pro.
The second guitar practice tip is this: Play slowly, with a metronome, drum beat or recording. Get good at the slow speeds, then gradually speed it up.
Is this really much of a secret anymore? You wouldn’t think so but I’ve encountered some musicians complaining about the click track at their recording sessions, saying they’d prefer to record without it because the metronome gets off. The metronome doesn’t get off the beat (but sometimes the musician might!)
In a band setting, we get used to playing a song a certain way with our friends. There is an energy, excitement to playing. But if we allow ourselves to get too carried away, excitement turns into rushing. And then the band will have to slow down to get back to the original tempo. And this gives the music a rushing ahead and then slowing down feeling. At the time, we might not notice it because it feels right to us, to give in to the music and the energy.
The problem is that our brains are encoding and learning from everything we do. If you speed up during practice, you will speed up during the recording session or live performance.
Instead, practice with a metronome, recording or drumbeat . Set the metronome to where you can play the song or song section 95-99% correct. It should feel challenging but doable. Then focus your mental efforts on every little detail – good sound, good feel, good rhythm – until you can play it comfortably.
The third guitar practice tip is this: Focusing is what allows our brains to learn. Focus on the weak spots in your playing and ask yourself, “What can I do to make this sound better?” Often, the challenge is knowing what things will make your playing sound better. That is why studying with a qualified guitar teacher can save you years of frustration.
[ilink url=”www.metronomeonline.com”]Metronome Online – the free browser-based metronome[/ilink]