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5 Tips to boost your guitar learning and stop struggling today

boost your guitar learning

Imagine if we can take a pill like in The Matrix movie and suddenly we know how to play guitar! Until this happens, you need to work on your craft and boost your guitar learning every day.

Learning guitar can be a wonderful journey and it can be a nightmare. Especially nowadays with all the information available to us online.

Whether you are a total beginner or an elite player, you want to keep getting better every day and boost your guitar learning so you can reach the next level.

In this article, I will share my top 5 tips that I always recommend to my students and showed great results within a reasonable period.

Here we go.

5 Tips to boost your guitar learning

Tip No.1: Try to play from memory

Tip No.2: Don’t practice when you are tired

Tip No.3: Record yourself playing

Tip No.4: Play different style

Tip No.5:  Learn your Scales & Arpeggios

Now let us dive into each one.

1) Try to play from memory

boost your guitar learning

I always tell my students as long as you are playing from the sheet music you are not playing, you are reading!

There is nothing wrong with playing from paper but the focus will be to not make a mistake or skip a note or chord.

Playing from memory and watching your hands on the fretboard will dramatically boost your guitar learning.

Your eyes, ears, and fingers will work together and you will feel more like a guitar player when you are watching your fingers not the paper!

If you are struggling to memorize your music here is a quick advice.

Do not try to memorize the whole thing from start to finish, rather divide it into small chunks like 5 or more sections.

Memorize the first section then play it while reading from the music, you will feel it’s much easier now and the notes are just there to guide you.

Next, play the first section again without looking at the music sheet and ONLY look if you are stuck! When that happens move on to the next section.

Repeat the same process then try to play sections one and two together. The same thing read from the sheet music then play from memory and only look when you are stuck.

Rinse, repeat.

2) Don’t practice when you are tired

Most of the people and I say most make practicing the guitar the last thing they do in their day. After finishing work and eating their dinner and watching some Netflix, OK time to practice!

That is insane!

It does not matter your level or the level of the music you are playing, practicing guitar requires effort and focus. By making your practice the last thing to do in your day, you have neither!

Set a time of day to practice and make it a habit to pick up your guitar in that time. 

Yes, there will be days that there is going to be an emergency or a party, but by and large, fix this time to practice and you will find after a few weeks that you do it automatically.

3) Record yourself playing

boost your guitar learning

If you haven’t tried this before then you are missing out a lot! The moment you press the Rec button on your phone or camera, you will feel like you are giving a concert.

The hand is shaking and maybe sweating, what is going on?

Well, you are about to record your mistakes that is all. 

We all do mistakes when we play but we don’t want to hear them, and definitely, we don’t want to record them.

Recording yourself playing is the best thing you can do to boost your guitar learning as you are putting your mistakes under the spotlight, that is why your hand is sweating!

Now, I am not saying that you record yourself while you are still practicing the piece of music. I am saying do that after you completely finished memorizing it.

This will give you a clear indication of where are your weak points so you can work on them.

Take notes where you make mistakes, then separate them and work on correcting them slowly and gradually increase the speed.

After that put them in context, meaning playing them in their sequence in the music and see how far you got better with them. 

Repeat recording yourself after a few days of practicing and you will be amazed at how well you can play now.

It’s tried and tested.

4) Play different style

Acoustic Guitar with Capo

We get bored very quickly, that is human nature. After playing one style of music for several months or even years, we tend to go with the motion.

Breaking that cycle and switching to a completely different style of music, can bring fresh sound and ideas into your playing.

For example, if you are playing Classical Guitar and practiced lots of Giuliani and Carcassi’s studies, then it is a good idea to switch to Acoustic Guitar and start playing some fingerstyle songs.

Not only you will be learning something new, but also you will increase your repertoire of songs. Consider staying with your strong techniques or maybe trying to work on your weak points.

I had a student who complained that he loves Classical Guitar pieces but his friends don’t know any of them, naturally! I suggested to him to practice “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas as it has a strong fingerstyle pattern that he can play easily.  

That resulted in adding a new song to him, he enjoyed practicing the song and of course, his friends were happy to listen to him.

The same thing if you don’t play a lot of guitar solos, start listening to Beatles and Pop hits that contain short and melodic solos, and work your way up.

5) Learn your Scales & Arpeggios

boost your guitar learning

This point needs an article by itself but I will try to keep it short and sweet.

I am amazed at how many guitar students neglect this aspect in their practice. At the end of the day, all the music we listen to and try to play is a combination of scales and arpeggios.

Dedicating as little as 15 minutes in your practice routine to go over them will greatly boost your guitar learning, and open up the fretboard for you.

There are many books out there that discuss this subject in great detail, and I will make a series of lessons that address this subject in the future.

One of the best resources I came across is Forrest W.Lineberry’s book “Essential Guitar Scales”. 

I am not affiliated with him; I am just recommending his book as its layout in easy and clear steps what you should practice.

You can visit his website here.

In Summary

There are many ways to boost your guitar learning other than the one I mentioned here, but these are the ones I tried myself and with my students that gave results, and did not require a lot of effort or buying gadgets.

I hope you found this article useful if so please consider leaving a comment or asking me a question and I will get back to you ASAP.

Have a great day.

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Assem El-Turkey

Easy to understand, very clear and concise instructions.