I don't like to use clichés when I write my posts, but this one is true; Practice makes Perfect!
Even thinking about practice makes a lot of people shudder. To most, it evokes memories of studying for exams for school.
I love practicing, and although I am a self confessed guitar nerd, there have been times that I have sat around, getting bored, frustrated and thinking that I'm not getting any better. So here are some tips that have worked for me when I was learning new things on guitar.
1. Understand the reality of practice
First things first; you need to be realistic, you're not going to get everything immediately. When you're practicing, you need to think medium to long term. Whenever I am struggling with something new, I think that in one month, I'll be really good at what I'm working on now, and in a year I'll be amazing at what I am working on now and in three years, I'll be as good as anyone in the world at what I am working on now.
It'll all come in time, be patient.
2. Mix it up
I think that you get the most benefits from 15-20 minutes of really focussed practice a day. I consider really focussed practice as having no distractions and working at something that you're struggling with. For example if you're struggling to transition between chords, work on really slowing down the movement between chords and identifying what is wrong and trying to fix it.
15-20 minutes a day really is not that much. The rest of the time when you pick up a guitar, just play for fun. If it sounds a bit wrong, but you're enjoying yourself, just go with it!
3. Enjoy the practice
There have been a lot of studies that show how beneficial meditation is for the mind. Meditation is in effect not doing anything but focussing your mind on one thing at a time (e.g. your breath or a candle). I try to make my guitar practice like meditation: I work on small little things (e.g. trying to play a bit faster or with more fluidity), and when I start thinking of other things I just try and return my mind to what I am doing. It takes time, but I find it really helpful for me.
Health studies have shown that 20 minutes of focussed meditation a day can lead to identifiable positive changes in the mind. So why not kill two birds with one stone, do your daily meditation and your daily guitar practice at the same time?Here's an interesting article on the topic:
Hope that was useful!