Sure, youve heard its true that practice makes perfect but when learning to play any instrument as the guitar, your practicing technique must be properly done. If you develop an improper method of playing, such as strumming the strings with a flat hand instead of a cupped hand, you will continuously reinforce this method throughout your future practices. Poor hand position of either hand will create tension and fatigue as well as making it hard to use certain playing methods properly. Improper hand techniques lead to common injuries as carpel tunnel. This is a condition common to musicians and can disable you from playing permanently. Once poor playing methods are reinforced through continuous guitar practice exercises, they become extremely difficult to correct. One thing thats really bizarre about the guitar, making it unlike most other instruments, is that its upside down and backwards. In a sense, the guitar is played both horizontally and vertically, but it must be flipped upside down to correlate with the fretboard diagram. Hence, to help them establish a good guitar practice routine, I stress this to each new student. One must not think of a guitar like a piano, a piano is more of a linear instrument, but on the guitar, up is down and down is up. This must be remembered when referring to direction and the pitch or each string. Knowing these factors helps my students determine what finger position is most proper when playing notes and prevents them from becoming disoriented as they start moving around on the fretboard. Anyone practicing guitar must never forget about rhythm. Without rhythm anyone listening to your playing will not be able to recognize what youre trying to play. Playing along with other musicians who want to jam would be difficult and unpleasant as well. If you can read music thats fine, but you must also be able to count the beats within each measure of in order to play the piece properly. Therefore, I cannot stress to my students enough, keeping rhythm is one of the most important guitar practice tips theyll need to remember. Quite often, during solo guitar practice, many of my students have a tendency to play too fast. When doing so they forget to concentrate on rhythm and timing. Therefore, I remind them again and again to SLOW DOWN to a clear tone and pace that feels comfortable. Even if youre playing a fast lick you still need to slow down to interpret the timing properly. Correct timing promotes proper articulation, meaning to pronounce distinctly. I also tell them No one will be impressed with your music if its played too fast. For best guitar practice I suggest that students either try to use a metronome or drumming machine as a background tempo. These will enable you to play short speed bursts one section at a time. Once youve mastered that, increase the speed with each practice until you can play the whole lick, riff, or measure at just the right tempo. Remember to concentrate on proper hand position, rhythm, and articulation throughout the process. Approach solo guitar practice in the following manner: 1. Start slowly 2. Develop a relaxed cupped hand position 3. Learn how to interpret the rhythm properly (timing) 4. Concentrate on articulation (clarity) 5. Gradually increase speed (tempo) Although practice makes perfect, developing good practice habits should be your top priority. As you develop good practice habits youll realize youre also developing good technique as you go along. Whatever you do, dont rush the learning process. Think of it as a hobby you embrace and enjoy rather than a task. Learning to become a great musician takes a long time. By keeping these ideas in mind, youll notice a steady, progressive improvement in your playing. Playing the guitar will be much easier and fulfilling in the long run.
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