11 Mistakes Guitar Players Make and How To Avoid Them
(06 Apr 09)
Do you know how some guitar players practice most days of the week, work hard, and are passionate about their playing, but they always struggle to be able to play the way they want? They are frustrated because they don’t improve fast enough, begin doubting their potential, or even feel discouraged or angry with themselves when thinking about how long it is taking them to become a better guitar player.
Can you relate to that? I sure can, I just described myself 15 years ago.
There are specific reasons why guitar players go through such frustration and disappointment. Here are 11 key mistakes players make and repeat over and over again that you should definitely avoid.
1. Teaching Yourself. Many people attempt to teach themselves. Yes, it’s true that some well known players were ‘somewhat’ self taught, but I do not suggest following that strategy even if your favorite player was self taught. If you are 100% sure that you can build powerfully effective learning and training systems on your own, that's great. However, if you are like most of us, doing it alone is the hardest, most time-consuming, stressful, and frustrating way to learn anything. This is a mistake that you should avoid. Some guitar players think it will impress others if they say, "I am a self taught player". That statement might impress a few inexperienced people, but being self taught is not a 'badge of honor'. Would you rather impress others with your playing or with an unimportant statement about your playing? I'm not criticizing self taught guitar players, I'm only saying that there is no advantage to being self taught… and no, it is not true that being 'self taught' makes us more 'original'. In fact, the opposite is usually true.
2. Taking Lessons From Ineffective Guitar Teachers. Unfortunately, most electric guitar teachers receive ZERO training on how to teach guitar. What is worse is that the vast majority of teachers do little or nothing to improve their guitar teaching skills. Want some proof? Use [l=https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordTool]google’s keyword tool[el] . Type in this keyword phrase: ‘improve guitar teaching skills’, ‘guitar teaching skills’, or ‘guitar teaching training’ and you will find that less than 10 searches per month are done for these topics at google! Of course there are some highly effective teachers around, but there are a whole lot more ineffective teachers. Here is a free resource on how to tell the difference between the good teachers and the mediocre ones, Free Guide: How To Choose A Guitar Teacher
3. Seeking New Guitar Information (tricks, tips, tab) Without A Proven Strategy To Reach Your Specific Musical Goals. We need information, advice, help and music to play, but without a proven strategic learning and training process that is specific to you, your skill level, your musical style and what you want to be able to do as a guitar player, information won’t get you where you want to go. It is better to first seek help in developing a customized strategy for you to become a better guitar player. After that strategy is in place, then it is time to deal with learning the right information.
4. Not Knowing Specifically What You Want To Be Able To Play. Most guitar players are not specific enough when they think about (or tell others about) what they want to be able to do with their guitar. To say, "I want to play whatever I wish to play” is too vague. How can you (or your guitar teacher) develop a specific and effective guitar training strategy unless the goals you have are specific? It's like saying you want to be a great athlete, how can you effectively train with such a vague goal? Sure there are things you can do to become faster, stronger, more flexible or whatever, but it's much easier if you first get specific such as, I want to train to be a gymnast, or a long distance runner, or a body builder. Yes you can still improve without a strategy, but it will take a lot longer and be much more frustrating. You can always change your goal later if you discover you want to do something else instead.
5. Not Enough Focus On Things That Matter Most To Making You A Better Guitar Player. Have you fallen into the trap of practicing guitar without focusing on the specific things that can quickly begin to improve your guitar playing? Many people really do not understand and apply this concept in enough detail…. for example, I have a student named Mark who used to take lessons from another teacher in the past. Mark was studying sweep picking arpeggios with his previous teacher, and was making some progress. However Mark did not understand what ‘specific’ things he needed to focus on first before attempting to master the sweep picking arpeggios he was practicing. This was holding him back and making him feel very frustrated. Mark’s previous teacher only knew how to ‘teach’ arpeggios and general sweep picking concepts. He did not really know how to “train” Mark with the specific things to focus on and how to overcome the challenges Mark was having. If you would like to see a small sample of this check out this short sweep picking video guitar lesson.
6. Too Much Focus On Things That Are Not Core To Your Goals. In addition to not focusing on specific things, many guitar players focus on the ‘wrong things’. Some enthusiastic guitar players become temporarily obsessed with things which are distractions from other things that could be helping their playing much more. Here is an example: I used to get so frustrated and angry when I could not play something perfectly, I’d lock myself in my practice room and say, “I’m not coming out of this room until I master this damn lick if it takes me the next 19 hours! No breaks! No food! No human contact! I’m gonna nail this!” And I did master it. On the surface, it might seem like I was on the right track and practicing in a good way…. But in reality, I was spending my time only to stop being angry and frustrated. I was not investing my practice time wisely by focusing on the things that mattered most to making a better guitar player. In other words, my perseverance was commendable, but my strategy to master important long-term goals was weak. I allowed myself to be distracted. I don’t make this same mistake anymore, and I urge you to also avoid it! Focus on the things that really matter for your guitar playing right now. If you are not sure how to do this, seek out a proven guitar teacher today.