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Time to get really good

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(@bjornzor)
New Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1
Topic starter  

Hello guitarladies and guitargents!!

My name is Björn, completely new to this forum, and I have just now decided to take the leap from a the pretty lame guitarist (which I currently am) playing with my average sounding band, to being just incredibly good at playing guitar blowing away crowds left and right!

I realize this is going to take ALOT of time and effort, some money, practice and lots lots lots of mental energy and commitment and probably alot of going through the embarrassment of playing bad in front of other people. But I figure that if I can just get myself to practice enough and get myself to go search the internet and ask people when I get stuck to find out where I screw up and what to do about it, I'll look back when I am a GUITAR GOD and say to myself "Man, all those practice hours and all that frustration was so TOTALLY worth it, and looking back I had alot of fun too". Sounds reasonable, right?

I plan to get amazingly good by first getting myself to start practicing regularly for 30 min everyday extremely focused with no interruption (phone turned off, door shut) for the next 30 days and get organized, then to increase my practice dose a bit at a time until I am practicing and hopefully playing live relentlessly for hours everyday and really have guitarplaying being my passion, and also to do alot of analysis of how to make practice fun and efficient. And finally hang around on this forum and get around other likeminded people and discussing guitarplaying and have that be really motivating, rewarding and fun.

And I am going to start by reading a ton of info on guitar and start posting alot on the specific issues I'm facing currently. Does anyone feel the same way, like, it's time for some change when it comes to guitar playing, time to stop "practicing" songs you already know mindlessly for hours and then wonder why you aren't getting any better?

Let's help each other where we are messing up and get to the next level of guitarplaying and help keep each other motivated by reporting back our progress to eachother. Talk to me, post why you want to get better, what your challenges are and what you are going to do about them, and let's start making some serious guitar music together!


   
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(@liontable)
Estimable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 146
 

Nice to see you're this motivated! :D

I'll have to warn you though, because playing like that is very exhausting unless you really like playing that much. I've been playing for the last 8 months anywhere between 2 - 7+ hours a day, and I'm still no Steve Vai. Playing a lot will make you improve a lot faster than average, but it'll burn you out depending on your motivation.

Don't do it for other people or their respect, but for yourself. Play as much as you would like to play, and don't push yourself when you don't want to. if you don't wnat to play, but you keep doing it you'll learn little to nothing, or even bad habits. It's not a contest, if only for the reason you'd never be able to win it. As long as you really enjoy playing you'll always be good enough, and people will notice. You can strum a few simple chords in a song and sing along, and people will be dazzled: not because of your intense playing, but because of your love of music. It's this that makes the great musicians, or any kind of performer, as great as they are.

If you really want to play great I'd personally recommend you to look for a great teacher. Someone who's awesome himself in many aspects of playing and who can challenge you. Someone who can motivate you, yet criticise. It's easier to stay focused because you have a set purpose and route, and you know it'll be all right if you just do what he says (and of course experiment a bit for yourself). :wink:


   
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(@kingpatzer)
Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2171
 

My name is Björn, completely new to this forum, and I have just now decided to take the leap from a the pretty lame guitarist (which I currently am) playing with my average sounding band, to being just incredibly good at playing guitar blowing away crowds left and right!

That's a fantastic goal. And while it's a great vision for yourself, I'd like to take a moment to talk about good goal setting for just about anything, including learning music.

First, honestly evaluate where you are. You may well not be as "lame" as you think. You also might have some significant weaknesses that will really hold you back if not addressed. This is particularly true if you've not had quality professional instruction.

Second, set both short and long term goals. Having a goal of "being incredibly good" is going to take awhile. How will you know you're on track? Have goals for the day, the week, the month, the quarter, and the year.

Third, make your goals as objective as possible. "being incredibly good" is very, very subjective. To a novice guitarist what they see as incredibly good may well not be what they see as incredibly good after learning quite a bit more. I've been playing forever, and what is "incredibly good" to me has definitely been a moving target. To my novice self, I probably would qualify now. But to me now, I'm a long way away. A better goal would be a series of measurable statements.

Fourth, check with someone who is more experienced to make sure your goals are reasonable and achievable.

Fifth, write those goals down, so you know what they are!

Sixth, revisit the goals regularly and revise them as necessary.

Seventh, make sure that you have some "stretch goals" that will be very hard to achieve, as well as some reasonably achievable goals.

Eight, reward yourself for achieving your goals.

Ninth, utilize daily visualization and other techniques to fully internalize your goals and help with long term motivation.
But I figure that if I can just get myself to practice enough and get myself to go search the internet and ask people when I get stuck to find out where I screw up and what to do about it, I'll look back when I am a GUITAR GOD and say to myself "Man, all those practice hours and all that frustration was so TOTALLY worth it, and looking back I had alot of fun too". Sounds reasonable, right?

No, it doesn't. Get yourself a quality instructor with a proven track record of developing their students into the type of guitarist you want to be. Make sure that they themselves are musicians and not merely guitarists. Can they read music? Do they have an understanding of theory (and not the internet version!)? Are they comfortable playing in a variety of styles and genres? A well rounded teacher goes a long way to building well-rounded students. And you need a teacher because self-taught guitarists invariably have huge gaps in their knowledge and technique. Those gaps may not prevent them from being able to achieve most, or even all, of their goals. But they will prevent them from being the most well rounded, skilled musician they could be.
I plan to . . . [play] relentlessly for hours everyday . . .

The quantity of practice time is only marginally related to how fast someone improves. Far more important is how that time is spent. Learning to practice well is a skill all to itself and is something a good instructor will spend a great deal of time and effort teaching. For example, for a new player short, interrupted practice sessions of only a few minutes at a time spread over the day tend to actually be more effective than playing the same amount in a single sitting. This has a lot to do with cognitive neurology as well as kinesthetics. Taking advantage of how adults learn best is an important part of improving consistently. And that again is something an instructor can help significantly with.

Playing a lot will make you improve a lot faster than average, but it'll burn you out depending on your motivation.

The second point is true. The first is not. As I noted above, it is how one practices that drives improvement. If you play a lot using sloppy technique, poor posture and form, using inefficient fingerings, bad thinking practices and so on, what you will do is ingrain bad habits to a degree that they can become nearly impossible to correct later on. Long practice hours can be a hindrance to real improvement
Don't do it for other people or their respect, but for yourself.

This is an very important point and is worth reading many times over. Being a musician is about who a person is, not about what others think of them. Music is about self-expression and art. Artists who are focused on external appreciation tend to become very unhappy people. Being a musician is about a never ending journey.

There's a great, and ancient, quote about the game of chess that I've always though applies to music as well, "It is a deep sea in which a gnat can drink and an elephant can swim." The meaning being that if where you are is being able to pick out "Marry Had a Little Lamb" on the first couple of strings, you are still a musician. You are still tasting the waters, and you still can be satisfied and happy with what you receive back from your art. We all want to grow, there's never an end to it. Enjoying the journey is more important, and in the long run more motivational and sustaining, than wanting to reach some end-point.

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST


   
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