Learning how to play a guitar can be a fun experience to some but a tedious one to others. When learning such a skill, you should know that progress does have its ups and downs. You may make mistakes from time to time but you should never let it get you down. Today we are going to look at 10 mistakes that make your guitar playing be stalled.
1. Not knowing why you want to play the guitar
This is by far the biggest mistake most guitarists make. For everything you do, there has to be a purpose. Purpose acts as a driving force and so it is a very essential thing to have. If you know why you want to do something, then eventually you will become better at it. My advice is to grab a piece of paper and pen and write down why you want to play the guitar.
We all have our reasons for playing the guitar, for instance some people play it for fun, some play it to help them relax and others play it to make a living and possibly tour the world some day. No reason is too weak to be a driving force to becoming a better guitarist. You just need to put your mind into it.
2. Lack of practice/limiting your practice time
Practice is very important if you want to boost your playing skills. Mostly, guitarists stall because they don’t practice while others limit their practice time to a point where it becomes insignificant. As a guitarist, you should try and practice every day. Look for a skill, phrase or chord you want to learn and practice a little every day.
Furthermore, you should always stay focused on the music you are playing and avoid anything that may hinder your concentration. You could even record yourself so that you can replay it later and try to see areas where you can improve.
3. Playing too fast
Your brain relays messages to all your body parts and this of course includes your fingers. The brain needs time to process new information. When you play your guitar too fast, you give your brain less time to relay the message so that your fingers react effectively. The brain acts faster as a result of repetition and practice and that is why professional guitarists are able to play the guitar very fast.
A key point to note is a beginner or someone at an intermediate stage, you need more time to learn. Eventually, your brain will get accustomed to playing the guitar and your speed will naturally increase. However, if you are still at that stage, playing too fast will lead to mistakes that can be averted and it is often difficult to recognize them because you are going too fast. If you are unable to recognize your mistakes then your progress will eventually stall.
Learning to play a guitar is like doing a course. You get in, learn a number of new skills over a period of time and if you are patient you graduate into a professional. For this reason, you should learn to treat guitar playing like a process. Do not get too frustrated when you only see a little progress, because like a course, it requires time.
Occasionally, people give up playing the guitar because they are impatient and consequently throw away their chance to unlock their full potential. Set realistic targets and embark on this journey with patience and a positive attitude and in time you will become better.
5. Practicing a song you already know over and over
We all like to play it safe and that is why most people play a song they have already mastered over and over without trying something new. If you keep playing a song you already know each and every day without incorporating something new, then you remain stagnant.
Your progress stalls as a result of fear of venturing into the unknown and becoming an all-rounded guitarist. As much as repetition is good for practice, once you’ve mastered a song, try something else. Challenge yourself and let your brain have a number of different tunes to spice up your song collection.
6. Neglecting the theory
Most skills we learn have a theory part and so does guitar playing. Many of us avoid the theory part because we see them as irrelevant to the skill which is not true. Lack of progress at times can be as a result of this. All you have to do is learn a little more about music theory. To begin with, remind yourself about key centers, scales, chords and tonality. Learn how they work together to create music.
7. Trying too much to be perfect
Perfection in anything is very difficult to achieve. It is important to realize that we are human beings and not machines. If you are caught up too much with perfection, then your progress may stall. Accepting your mistakes and trying to improve on them is what makes you a good guitarist. Trying too much to achieve perfection causes a lot of stress and frustrations.
8. Applying too many effects
Effects can be amazing to use but too much of it can be bad. It is easy to find electric guitars for beginners these days and with the many effects one can use, their mistakes are often covered. As a beginner, it is advisable that you play with effects turned off just so that you can be able to properly evaluate your skills and mistakes. You can have two practice sessions, one with effects on and another with them off.
9. Playing alone
It is understandable for a beginner to play the guitar alone or with a mentor but after a year or so you need to step out of your comfort zone and find other musicians to play with. You do not necessarily have to form a band but you can learn something new from each other. This can be a great way to inspire yourself than practicing alone in your room. Playing alone sometimes limits your creativity and skills.
10. No goals
People lack progress because they have no goals. A goal can motivate you to play better and practice more so that you can reach them. Start by setting realistic targets and after every month or week check back on them to see just how much you have been able to accomplish.
Generally speaking, becoming a good guitarist is all dependent on you. These 10 mistakes will help you understand why you are stalling as a guitar player and hopefully give you a solution. Most importantly, always remember to practice. In the long run, things will change and you will see all your hard work bear fruits.