Menu of Best Practices: Beginning Guitarists

Menu of Best Practices: Beginning Guitarists

What items should I include in my everyday practice schedule? Many have had this question come to their mind. In fact, there are thousands of answers to this question concerning guitarists with different levels. However, we will be focusing on beginner level first, i.e. those who have learned to play the guitar for 1 to 2 years.

At this stage, the main problems encountered should include the following:

  1. Finger pain;
  2. Switching chords too slowly;
  3. Not being able to make any sound when playing barre chords.

My suggestion to counter these problems would be to learn a guitar song!

Skills could kill. Focusing on memorizing the chords and improving your guitar playing all the time can be tiring and tedious. Even worse, you will get irritated and frustrated if you fail to achieve anything. On the other hand, playing a song on guitar can keep you motivated. Keep reminding yourself you are going to give an awesome performance so that it is worth practicing.

Here are some tips for learning guitar songs:

  1. Make it short
    It shouldn’t take long to practice every day. One-hour intensive training on a daily basis is good enough. Don’t get sidetracked is the key.

  2. Make it slow
    Slow down the tempo of the original so that you can follow. If the song is run at 100 BPM, change it to 80 BPM or even lower if needed.

  3. Make it rhythmic
    Work on the notes and chords first. Then keep a metronome running in the background when you are playing the song.

  4. Make it recursive
    Repeat on difficult sections instead of bars. For example, if the chords for a four-bar verse are F, Bb, Dm and C and you find the barre chord in the second chord difficult to play well, then you should begin with the first bar and practice the 4 bars altogether.

  5. Make it work
    To what extent should one practice? Until you can memorize the sheet music, play the song according to its original tempo, perform on stage or in front of others and so forth.

  6. Make it endless
    Bear in mind that learning a guitar song will take much time. In the process of practicing, do not question your guitar nor doubt yourself by saying blahs like “I should throw away this dummy guitar!”, “I can never…”, “My hands are too small to…” If you succeed to play your first song, the second, the third and so on will turn out to be much easier. Keep it up as practice is never enough.