So you want to learn how to play guitar in less than a lifetime? Need some fresh ideas for your Guitar practice routine? As a multi-instrumental music instructor, the most common question I receive from beginner students is how to progress on their instrument as quickly as possible. The easiest way to answer that is by making your practice time as productive as possible.
This includes creating a structure in what you practice, where you practice, when you practice, and setting goals for yourself to accomplish. Sticking with the tips in this article will get you on the road to learning the guitar proficiently and in the quickest amount of time.
1. What Should I practice?
Before starting your guitar practice sessions, I always recommend to start off with a warm up exercise to get the blood flowing in your fingers. Here is a Chromatic (a fancy term for when you play all 12 pitches in the sequence of notes) exercise here:
(Use your index finger for the first fret, middle finger for the second fret, ring finger for the third fret, and pinky for the fourth fret on each string). Watch this video instructional:
After you have warmed up, there are several things that you can work on as a beginner: Scales, Single Line Melodies, Sheet Music Reading, Ear Training, Music Theory, Chords, and much more. The way that you want to approach all of these is very similar, but let’s take a closer look at practicing chords.
2. Practicing chords
The most effective practice method is to play slowly at first and perfect what you are playing. From there, practicing allows you to get to a faster speed, taking the clarity of the sound that you developed while playing it slowly. Start off by getting the chords in your left hand, and pick through each string to make sure each note rings out clearly. Use Uberchord App , it is free and the most effective way to learn chords and improve your chord changing on Guitar.
After getting the clarity out of the chords, the next step is to practice transitioning between them. The most effective way to do this is with chord progression exercises, where we strum each chord four times in a series of chords. Here is a Chord Progression example that you can use with any set of chords:
Strum each chord four times:
A quick tip: You should initially practice at half of the speed you intend to play your music at.
- Using a metronome, start off playing at 50 BPM, strumming down on each beat every time you hear the click.
- Once you can transition between the two chords without any pause in between them, speed up the metronome by 5 BPM at a time until you reach 80 BPM.
- Eliminate any pauses between your chords, and make sure that each note comes out clearly in every chord.
- Practicing with a metronome is beneficial to keeping the rhythm and timing of tunes, but is also a great tool to set practice goals with. Stay tuned to Uberchord’s blogs for my next series on using your metronome effectively and making it fun.
Watch this video on some really interesting chord changing tricks:
Lastly, always save room to have some fun in your practice sessions and to play your favorite artist or songs! This is a great way to build your repertoire and apply your chord knowledge, technique, and proficiency into songs by the artists you enjoy listening to.
3. When should I practice?
Of course, the simple way to answer this is to say as much as you can. But since our schedules do not always allow that flexibility, the best way is to get in a habit of a specific practice schedule routine. One great way is to practice every day at a specific time based around your current schedule. Some of my students practice after school, after work, or whenever they can pick it up throughout the day. Remember that learning the guitar is a discipline, so it requires a consistency of practice to progress. With our new update of Uberchord App , you can follow your progress, log your reports, schedule reminders and alerts to meet your daily or weekly guitar playing goals.
Having a practice sheet allows you to stay on track towards your specific goals and to further discipline your practice routine. You can also download your very own WeeklyPracticeLogSheet here and start using it for scheduling and logging your practice time, practice material, and future goals.
4. Where should I practice?
This is a topic that is often skipped over when talking about practice routines, but it is just as important as the others. Where you practice is another part of turning your practice routine into a habit that will flourish results. The best places to practice guitar are where you can be comfortable and without any distractions nearby. You want to be able to hear yourself play and to give your full focus to what you are working on. Many like the solitude of practicing alone in a bedroom, whereas others get excitement out of playing in front of others.
5. Set Goals For Yourself and Guitar practice
Lastly, always set goals for guitar practice to stick to and accomplish. Whether that be playing a song at a certain tempo, making your chords sound clearer, or just finishing that song that you always have wanted to learn, setting goals will make sure that you are progressing in a disciplined amount of time. Remember that it is the consistency of practice that makes perfect, and a little bit of practice goes a long way. Learning guitar is a journey, where you grow from your influences and develop your individual style through practice. It doesn’t happen overnight, but is worth the time that you invest into it.
Taking weekly music lessons can also help you stay consistent with your practice and reach your goals sooner. A good music instructor is similar to a workout personal trainer, where they track your progress and make sure that you are sticking with your goals.
About the author: Joseph Capalbo
Joseph acquired a Bachelor’s of Music, with a specialization in Songwriting, from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. A native to Florida, Joseph has been playing music for fifteen years. He was taught by many well accomplished instructors such as Tomo Fujita, who also taught John Mayer and Eric “Kraz” from Soulive. Joseph is now proficient in all genres and instruments.
Joseph’s career began in Boston as an instructor at the Boys and Girls Club, where he was presented with the Berklee Urban Service Award for his dedication and passion to teaching music. Following that, he taught at various establishments to all ages and skill levels across South Florida for the past several years. His style of teaching can be described as very personalized.
Alongside his teaching career, Joseph is also an avid song writer and producer. After graduating, Joseph was quickly signed by a publishing company for his single “Ignited”, which put him on a compilation cd with such names as Avicii, Nicky Romero, Tiesto, and Disclosure. Soon after, he signed his first record deal with Smilax Records. He also writes for Film & TV, where his most recent placement was on E!’s Season Finale of Keeping up with the Kardashians. Additionally, he has performed in many locations across South Florida.
Some of Joseph’s work can be found on Youtube, where his videos have accumulated over 55,000 views. He encourages taking a look at www.youtube.com/JoeCapMusic, which includes performances, some of his original work, covers, and trial lessons. In his spare time, Joseph can be found clicking on his own videos 55,000 times, but he still has a free hand to answer any inquiries you have. Please visit www.YouPickMusic.com for more information.