Do you ever feel like your guitar playing is stagnating even though you are practicing on a consistent basis? Does your apparent lack of progress on the guitar sometimes make you want to give up completely?
All guitar players experience frustration with their playing—even advanced guitar players. If you feel like you are stuck or not progressing as fast as you want to, this is a normal feeling. Don’t let temporary frustration with your progress derail your guitar playing—there are ways that you can keep yourself on track. It is simply a matter of keeping perspective and changing your mental focus.
The best part about getting frustrated with your progress is that it is an indication that becoming a great guitar player is important to you. If it didn’t matter, you wouldn’t care at all. It also means that you are challenging yourself to learn things that you haven’t quite mastered yet.
How do you get through these times when your motivation to practice and improve starts waning? Here are some key points to keep in mind and apply to help you stay motivated:
Get a good guitar teacher
If you are trying to teach yourself, you will get stuck at some point. A good teacher can show you exactly what you need to learn and the right way to practice so that you don’t get stuck and frustrated. The right teacher should keep you motivated and challenged.
Don’t blow things out of perspective
When you were a beginner, there were techniques (like a simple chord change) that were difficult that you have mastered now. Getting frustrated is often an indication of growth and the next breakthrough is close.
Most people get frustrated because they aren’t seeing progress on the guitar as quick as they think they should. The truth is, they usually give up right on the verge of a breakthrough.
Keep things simple
Narrow your focus when you are practicing a difficult technique. Take one chord change, or part of a scale or lead and practice just that very small part in isolation. The fastest way to improve guitar skills is to break them down into small, manageable parts that can be practiced easily. Come back and practice that small, isolated part many times a day for a short period of time while maintaining complete focus on the task at hand.
All problems are temporary
You have conquered other guitar techniques in the past and what’s frustrating you now is no different. Stay on the path your teacher has planned for you. Maintain your focus and your guitar playing will improve. It takes time, but staying motivated is key to seeing progress on the guitar.
Sometimes all you need to break out of a rut is a good ol’ fashioned challenge. You could create various challenges like setting a personal record for how many days in a row you’ve played your guitar. Another option would be to challenge yourself to learn a song note for note. One of my personal favorite challenges is to create a songwriting challenge. This is great for not only staying motivated but also for busting out of a guitar playing rut.
Focus on how you will feel once you conquer the challenge you are stuck on. See yourself playing the song perfectly and effortlessly and imagine how you will feel—visualize your goal like you have already achieved it. Creating a vivid mental picture of the end result will help you maintain your motivation.
The internet can be a scary place for the beginning guitar player. Many of the free guitar lesson videos posted online do more harm than good. Get beginner guitar lesson videos that will show you exactly how to improve your guitar playing the right way.
By Paul Kleff
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