Everybody would love to jump straight from buying their first guitar to rocking the stage like Keith Richards and Angus Young. But there are countless lessons in between attaining any level of success, even if it's just getting paid to play at your local bar. And if you're looking for a few easy ways to make your self-taught guitar lessons a little better, then here are some tips.
- Take a Realistic Self-Assessment before beginning
Before you jump into a heavy practice schedule, it's important to look at yourself. Specifically, what skill level are you at and what type of exercises/concepts will you need to learn before moving on to the next step. Many beginning/intermediate players never give themselves a realistic assessment, leading them to practice concepts that are either above or beneath their current ability.
- Put 100% of your Focus on the Lesson
One of the most-common mistakes is to "practice" while you're watching TV, cooking dinner or doing anything else in between exercises. Guitar lessons are not meant to be multi-tasking sessions where you do one or two other things while playing. So if you're going to practice the guitar, then you really need to focus, focus focus.
- Find a Balance with playing and studying
Your practice time is best spent actually playing. But unless you're already a rockstar, then you need to be mixing in some studying/research with your playing schedule. For example, if you've got an hour to spend on guitar, you might put 15 minutes of this towards learning guitar theory and spend the other 45 minutes learning and performing exercises.
- Always do Warm-up Exercises for your Fingers
The best way to start any guitar lesson is with some warm-up exercises. This loosens your fingers and helps stave off some of the soreness that you'll be feeling after a session. If you're looking for some good finger warm-up exercises to do, search around the internet and you'll no doubt find what you're looking for.
- Don't spend Practice Time playing Songs
A large part of the fun is playing songs and working on your killer guitar solos. But at a certain point, playing songs won't necessarily make you a way better musician. Instead, practice time - where you're doing exercises and studying - should be separate from playing songs. Assuming you're not in a band and/or don't HAVE to play songs, then you're better off dedicating the bulk of your time to practicing.