6 May 2011

The 8 Habits of Highly Effective Guitarists

Do you want to be a successful guitarist?


I do.


I try to learn all I can about how to learn guitar effectively and make the most of my limited practice time.


If you want to be a the best guitar player you can, you should, too.


There is a lot of advice and many tips on how to learn and play guitar. Too much to follow in fact. So I've tried to stop focusing on all the little things. Little things like what equipment to use, what kind of tab software to use, or how to use modes.


I want to focus on a bigger picture. What do the best guitarists do? What is their mind set, their mental habits?


Today I’m happy to share my list of the 8 habits of effective guitarists.


The good news is that even if you don’t have all these habits already, you can develop them over time. Best of all, if you can cultivate these habits, you’ll become more effective in the rest of your life as well.


1. Effective guitarists play a lot

The first key to being a successful guitarist is to play guitar. A lot.


2. Effective guitarists are curious

Successful guitarists ask lots of questions. And they seek out the answers.


They are curious about what other guitarists do and learn from them. They are always on the look out for new tricks to learn and new ways of doing things.


3. Effective guitarists are analytical

Successful guitarists don’t practice without thinking about what they're doing.


They study what they've been practicing, observing carefully to see what works and what doesn't. They think through problems and look for ideas that might solve them. Then they try them out until they find one that works.


4. Effective guitarists are lifelong learners

If you’re new to playing guitar, you probably face a steep learning curve.


Maybe you think that things will get easier when you’ve been playing longer. There won’t be so much to learn. You’ll have things mastered soon and everything will run smoothly. Happily, I think this is a myth.


No matter how long you play guitar, the great thing is there's always a new discovery that will bring a smile to your face.


5. Effective guitarists are systematic

Successful guitarists choose a style to work on and stick to it.


They learn about and practice their chosen style with a consistent approach. They stick to regular practice schedules and use systems to ensure they practice what they most need.


6. Effective guitarists plan ahead

Successful guitarists know where they’re going. They have a plan and they stick to it. Yes, they adapt to feedback, but always in service of their vision.


7. Effective guitarists are persistent

The best guitarists understand that success doesn’t happen overnight. They know that if they persist in working towards their vision they will end up getting there, even if there are a few rough patches and diversions along the road.


8. Effective guitarists are self-starters

A lot of people like the idea of playing guitar, creating music and even impressing people with their skills. But if you want these things, you need to be able to manage yourself.


No one will fire you if you don't show up to practice. No one reminds you of deadlines you've set or nags you to get your scales in shape.

What trait do you think is most valuable?

What do you think the most important trait of a good guitar player is? It might be one of the eight described above, or maybe you think it's something completely different. Let us know by leaving a comment using the link below.


Anonymous said...

I think you've pointed out the characteristics to being successful in any endeavor that requires regular practice. I think any guitarist that identifies the areas that they are lacking and apply corrective action will make a lot of progress.

Over the last year and a half, I've become very consistent in my practice (missed five days of practice due to business trips), more organized in my practice, and sought out the study materials that I believed would most help me. One I might add? Successful guitarists make a habit of listening to a lot of music with curiosity and intensity.

Dean Hailstone said...

I put up some additional tips on my blog. Check it out: http://www.playguitarlive.com/8-habits-of-successful-live-guitarists/

Gary said...

Hi Dean, thanks for sharing.

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