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Where To Find Highly Effective Guitar Practice Exercises
By Tom Hess - 09/27/2011 - 01:39 AM EDT

Would you have an easier time learning to play guitar if you knew exactly what guitar practice exercises to focus your time on?  Are you being spread in many different directions by the vast number of guitar playing resources that all seem to offer a different way of learning guitar?  Do you feel overwhelmed by trying to sift through a seemingly infinite number of exercises to determine what you should practice on guitar?

From my experience of successfully helping hundreds of guitarists to reach their musical goals, I have found that most guitar players can easily find lots of general guitar practice materials on their own.  Where many guitarists struggle is in knowing how to make sense out of all those materials and organize them into an effective guitar practice schedule.  

If you can relate to the experiences above, then you are not alone.  Fortunately, the solution to this problem is very realistic and is easier than you think.  In this article I want to show you why so many guitarists don't know what they should practice on guitar, and how you can begin making much more progress in your guitar playing. 

The first significant mistake that guitar players make with regards to guitar exercises is practicing "too many" of them.  As a result, too much energy is spent trying to decide (at random) what exercise to play next, instead of concentrating on getting the most benefit out of each exercise being practiced.  In reality, you can very often achieve a lot more by intelligently focusing on a smaller, targeted list of guitar practice materials than you can from a longer list of guitar exercises that are put together at random (more on this in a moment). 

Another mistake guitar players make is "putting the cart before the horse", by looking for guitar exercises to practice before defining specifically what it is they want to achieve in their guitar playing.  Remember that guitar exercises are only useful when they are practiced with intention of achieving a specific result.  Going through dull repetitions of random guitar practice exercises (as most guitarists do) will have little to no impact on your guitar playing unless you become clear on the following:

1. The exact guitar playing challenge(s) you want to overcome by using a particular guitar practice exercise. 
2.  The long term guitar playing goals you want to reach and how a given exercise fits into the big picture of developing your musical skills. 

Above all, you must remember that the only reason why guitar exercises are needed in the first place is to help you solve various guitar playing problems.   As simple as this concept is, most guitar players do not practice with this understanding in mind.  The more specifically you can define your guitar playing problems, the easier it will be to find the most effective exercises to overcome them.  For instance, rather than saying: "I want to increase my speed with scale sequences", you need to identify an exact problem such as: "I need to practice the picking hand motion that happens when my pick is caught inside the strings". 

In order to determine whether or not a specific guitar exercise should be included into your practice schedule, ask this question: “what guitar playing challenge will I be able to overcome by working on this exercise and will this exercise move me closer to my guitar playing goals?" To help you with answering this question, here are 5 important points to follow that will make your guitar practicing a lot more productive:

  1. Clearly define your long term guitar playing goals. 
  2. Find out what musical skills you must develop in order to achieve the long term result that you want.  To see what steps you must go through to become the guitar player you want to be, check out this free resource on how to learn guitar.
  3. With the clarity you have achieved from doing steps 1 and 2 above, it will now be much easier to narrow down your guitar practice exercises to those that are very specific to your guitar playing challenges.  Do this to prepare yourself for step 4. 
  4. Design a highly effective guitar practice schedule containing the guitar exercises you have selected in the previous step.  Organizing your guitar practice time in the most efficient way possible will require some experience to be done correctly. This will help you to avoid wasting valuable practice time and will enable you to make faster progress.  If you have trouble doing this on your own, visit this page to get guitar playing help
  5. Keep your mind actively engaged the entire time you are practicing.  You must always stay focused on the specific objective you are trying to achieve and never let your fingers go on autopilot while practicing.  As your guitar playing improves and you get more experience, you will find that very often you can use a single guitar exercise to develop multiple guitar playing skills at the same time (watch this video to learn more about this guitar practice method). 
Applying the advice above to your guitar practicing on a regular basis will help you to speed up the process of reaching your guitar playing goals. 
 
About The Author:
Tom Hess is a successful professional guitar player, composer and the guitarist of the band Rhapsody Of Fire.  He also trains musicians to reach their guitar playing goals in his rock guitar lessons online.  Visit his website, tomhess.net to read more articles about guitar playing, get free guitar tips and guitar playing resources.  




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