Practicing well is a much harder thing to do and there are many reasons why this is the case. Before I go on, I just want to say that bad practice affects even the most experienced players but it can be overcome with some help. Here are some of the problems that you may have when practicing and some usable solutions:
1) Problem: Getting stuck in a rut. This is a very common problem that affects nearly all guitarists at some point in time. You end up playing the same thing over and over every time you play and you can’t seem to move on to anything new.
Solution: I am a firm believer that you should aspire to play everything perfectly. But, if you are stuck on this one thing and you feel like practice is getting a little stale, you should really advance to something else that inspires you. It is so important to be inspired in your practice and you can always come back to something later when you are in the right mood. Jamming over to blues backing tracks will also help in your creativity and inspiration.
2) Problem: Progressing to new skills too rapidly. Also a very common problem, moving on too quickly will without doubt, eventually turn you into a “jack of all trades and a master of none”.
Solution: This problem is the opposite of the last problem we looked at. You can now see that there is a balance between too much and not enough emphasis on perfecting a song. My suggestion is that you should master each thing before you go on to the next, but if you are finding a particular skill impossible to master and you are dying of boredom trying, maybe that skill is a little out of your reach. In this case, it is best to go back and learn something less difficult.
3) Problem: Becoming narrow minded in relation to the different areas of learning within musicianship. Some people get into the situation where they are practicing only one style and neglecting everything else.
Solution: Try splitting your playing into parts. For example, I might spend 5 minutes practicing new blues scales or chords, 10 minutes working on writing new music for myself and maybe 15 minutes learning a new song or part of a song. This way, your practice never gets boring and you can achieve a lot more.
4) Problem: Playing things too fast when learning them. This can cause you to become disillusioned with your playing when you are trying to learn a new song.
Solution: A fairly obvious solution here – Slow down. Most blues guitarists, including myself try playing a song or new skill at a slow speed before trying it at a fast pace.
Practicing properly and regularly is the best way to become adept at any skill including playing the guitar. This requires discipline; not only discipline to practise on a regular basis, but also discipline to stay focused and on track when you are practicing. A great way to keep the passion in practicing is to jam to professional blues backing tracks. There are great compilations of jam tracks from companies such as 50Blues. If you keeping your passion in practice and stay disciplined with your playing you will develop into an excellent player over time.
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