29 October 2008

How a Guitar Journal Helps You Learn Guitar

A guitar journal can help you as you learn guitar. Use it to set your goals and plan, reflect upon where you are and solve problems.

Here are five ways a guitar journal could help you as you learn guitar. I like journals, they are a great way to get a fresh perspective on your activities. Often you can't see your own mistakes and problems, but they become obvious when you get the fresh look that comes from writing them down.

What is a guitar journal? Mine is just a pocket notebook and a pen or pencil. Use it to jot down ideas, questions, problems and organize your learning. I prefer a small notebook that is easily carried around, then you can make use of it in spare time when you're on the move.

Here are a few things your journal can help you with.

  1. Set your goals.
  2. Plan your practice.
  3. Get a handle on where you are.
  4. Motivate you.
  5. Solve guitar playing problems.
  6. Note questions.

Set Your Goals

A journal is a great place to write down your goals so you don't lose them. Don't limit yourself to a plain, boring list. Use your imagination and describe how you see yourself playing a year or a few years from now.

Plan Your Practice

You'll have a quick and simple tool to plan what you're going to work on. Write down your practice activities for the week. At the end of the week review what you did and compare it to your goals.

Get A Handle On Where You Are

Sometimes you need to get a clear picture of where you are in your guitar learning to figure out what to do next. Sit down with your guitar journal for a few minutes to write down all the stuff you can do. Then you can figure out what you need to learn next.

Motivate Yourself

Your guitar journal helps you when you feel that you aren't making any progress on the guitar. Flip through some old pages to remind yourself how far you've come.

Solve Guitar Playing Problems

Some playing problems are hard to solve when you keep working away at them on the guitar. You just can't get the "outside perspective" you need to see the real cause of the problem.

But sit down somewhere calm and try to write down your problem. Often as you do so you'll discover what's causing it. It happens, too, when you explain a problem to someone and figure out the solution while you explain it.

Now let's review how a guitar journal helps you to learn and play better guitar.

  1. Set your goals. Keep a vivid picture of where you want to go.
  2. Plan your practice and leave a trace of your progress.
  3. Get a handle on where you are. To help you figure out what to do next.
  4. Motivate yourself in those moments when you wonder if it's all worth it.
  5. Solve guitar playing problems as you explain them to your journal.

What about you, do you already use a journal for your guitar playing? If you do, what are the journal exercises that help you? Use the comment link below to let us know.

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Anonymous said...

Great post since I am in a major RUT.

Gary Fletcher said...

Hi MJK, sorry to hear about your rut. As they say, when in a rut, stop digging. It's time to take a break, take stock, and take a new direction.

Sarge said...

Setting goals and writing them down. A good point and excelent article.

Gary Fletcher said...

Hi Curt, Thanks for dropping by.

Anonymous said...

I'm new here landed up searching blogs on resources on Learning Guitar. cool blog you have here, keep it up. and its nice to be here. i'll be back some time later for more updates.Thanks for sharing with us....

Gary Fletcher said...

Hi Ben, welcome to the blog and thanks for the encouragement. Your comments and questions are welcome.

Alex said...

Nice blog .... very to the point. Not a lot of bloat. I'll be back.

Ben Fuqua said...

It's not quite the same as this, but something that's been really helpful to me is taking a literal journal- I've got a guitar video journal up at


and it's really helped me chart my progress. Beyond that, it lets me listen back and figure out where I was, and, well, you know, steal cool licks from myself.

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