13 October 2008

6 Ways to Get More From Your Guitar Lessons

This post shows you six ways you can benefit by studying your guitar lessons when you're not playing. Many players leave their lesson material sitting in their guitar bag, or on a shelf at home. They are missing out on some great opportunities to boost their guitar learning in spare moments they could use to study.

Here's what that extra study could do for your guitar playing. You can study in your spare time, sitting in the bus or train on your way to work, waiting for someone, or in your lunch break.

  1. Improve memory.
  2. Reduce mistakes.
  3. Improve reading skills.
  4. Identify what you need to work on.
  5. Know just what to practice when you pick up your guitar.
  6. Increase your motivation.

Let's see how this extra lesson study can do all of this for you.

Improve Memory

The idea is simple, the more you read your lessons the more you will remember them.

You will also memorize things better if you preview them before detailed study and review them afterwards. If you have your lesson book handy you can easily do this by reading through stuff you haven't played yet and by reviewing lessons you did a while ago.

Reduce Mistakes

A big cause of playing mistakes is that you simply don't know what to play next sometimes. You often have the technical skill to play the next chord, or lick, but if you are unsure of what you are about to play you mess it up.

As you study and memorize your exercises and songs you will improve your memory of what comes next. You can start to think ahead a little while you play and prepare with confidence your next moves.

Improve Reading Skills

You don't need a guitar in hand to work on your music notation or tab reading skills. Practice reading along and saying the names of notes and chords. You can try to hum or sing them, too, it's a good exercise for you ear. You can also simply practice reading the rhythm and tap your hands in time to what you should play.

Identify What You Need to Work On

When you review your lesson, or practice reading as described above, try to visualize what you play on the guitar. If you have a clear mental picture of what to do the chances are you can play it. As an example, can you instantly "see" in your mind how to play an A chord?

Things that you don't see how to play are areas of weakness that you need to work on.

Know Just What to Practice When You Pick Up Your Guitar

With a good memorization of your lesson and knowledge of your weaknesses you won't have to think much about what to do when you do have your guitar handy. Instead of doodling and wondering what to play your mind can instantly give you several things to work on.

Increase Your Motivation

The extra guitar reminders you get from browsing or studying your lessons regularly stimulates your desire to play. In addition you will raise questions as you read and your natural curiosity will be just dying to answer them in practice.

There you have six good reasons to carry your lessons around with you. You can carry a tutorial book or sheet music, put audio lessons onto your mp3 player or a CD that you can play in your car. Here's a quick review of the benefits you can expect.

  1. Improve memory of your lessons and songs.
  2. Reduce mistakes caused when you're unsure what comes next.
  3. Improve reading skills for both notes and rhythms.
  4. Identify what you need to work on next time you practice.
  5. Know just what to practice when you pick up your guitar.
  6. Increase your motivation by making the guitar more present in your life.

Now if you're serious about learning guitar better, why not go fetch your lessons from your guitar bag now and put them into the bag you take to work or school. If you read through them just once a day you will give your guitar learning a useful supplement.

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Sarge said...

Great post and on point too.

Gary Fletcher said...

Hi Curt, glad to hear you enjoyed the post. Thanks for stopping by.

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