As a beginner, learning to play the guitar can be daunting and frustrating. As you progress, learning something new becomes a whole lot easier. But until then, the road is quite tough. Of course, it doesn’t need to be. There are plenty of nifty little tricks you can use to make sure you progress a lot faster. Here are a few to get your going.
Do Finger Exercises
One of the problems I had when I first started learning to play was that I couldn’t play for more than a couple of minutes without my fretting fingers hurting like crazy. It was an indication that I lacked finger strength. It’s not just strength that you need to build up, though. You need dexterity and flexibility too. Learning some good finger exercises, and some scales, and incorporating them into your warm ups, warm downs, and practicing will vastly speed up your progress. Here are some good ones to start with:
To speed things up, even more, give your hands a workout even when you aren’t playing guitar. You can get these hand exercisers at different strengths to give your fingers, wrists, and forearms a good workout. Start with what you can handle and then gradually work your way up. They’re not just for athletes, they are actually a not-so-secret trick that guitarists have been using for a long time.
Practice Every Single Day
Without fail. Even if you are busy, you have to make time to put in a bit of practice, at least for 15 minutes each day. This is essential so that your muscles stay active and your muscle memory doesn’t get thrown off. The longer you go without practice, the rustier you will get, and the more difficult it will be later to get back into the swing of things. Forgoing practice means that your progress will deteriorate and you will have to start from square one all over again.
Get Useful Apps and Software
Some of the apps you must have include tuner apps, chord dictionaries, and tab apps. These will help you learn without having to depend on your computer or lessons, or long searches online. You should also consider getting guitar software like Guitar Pro, which will help you to learn tabs, read music, and practice. Apps and software like this will help to teach you timing and give you speed training, among other helpful features.
Have a Tutor
There’s nothing quite like a real person to help you improve and polish your techniques. You may be able to learn a lot of websites, apps, and tutorials online, but only a real human can tell you what you’re doing wrong and how to do it right. Try to find an in-person tutor who will give you one-on-one lessons that you get full, individual attention. Alternatively, there are plenty of instructors who will charge very little for lessons online. You just need a webcam, mic, speakers or headphones, and a good internet connection.
You don’t have to perform for open mic nights or anything like that. But try to perform for friends and family, jam with other musicians in your circle, and just have a bit of fun. This is a great way to get used to playing in front of people, but it also encourages you to play better and to practice. This is especially true when you see your friends and family impressed with your playing or improvement. If you feel like it, though, open mic nights are a good idea too.
These are just some of the ways you can improve your playing quite quickly and markedly. The most important thing, however, is that you keep at it. That’s the one surefire way to know that you will improve, no matter what the pace may be.