Guitarist A Beginner's Guide to Guitars and Learning to Play

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Practice tips

The first six months of learning to play the guitar are the hardest. The reason that they are the hardest is because this is when you have to turn your practice into an enjoyable habit - just like watching TV, surfing the net or reading a book.

The following tips will help you get the most out of your practice.

1. Practice the guitar every day

Practicing every day is the only way to make real progress. Try to practice for at least twenty minutes every day. If you can't do twenty then do ten, but make sure you at least pick up the guitar every day. Don't lock the guitar away in its case leave it around the house keeping it near you all the time. If you can practice for more than twenty minutes, then go for it, the more you play the better you will become.

2. Practice guitar at the same time every day

By practicing the guitar at the same time every day your practice will become part of your routine. But remember Tip 1, leave that guitar lying around and keep picking it up an playing.

3. Structure your guitar practice

Divide your practice time in two, spend the first half of your practice attempting new material, and the second half practicing music that you have already learnt.

4. Practice what you love

Make sure that your guitar teacher is teaching you at least some music that you really enjoy and like to listen to. Practicing guitar music that you really love will make practice something that you enjoy.

5. Set yourself milestones

Create small milestone targets so that you can chart your progress. Set them as small as you like, but do set them. A milestone could be as simple as learning a new chord - ask your teacher for advice about setting your personal milestones. Milestones will help motivate you to become a better musician.

6. Reward yourself for progress

If you are progressing really well give yourself a reward. It is best to make the reward music based so that you remain focused, it could be buying a piece of music that you really want to learn. The main thing is to recognise your progress.

7. Keep a practice diary

Buy a special diary to write in after every practice. Keeping a record of your progress is a great motivator.

8. Start writing music

As soon as you can strum a couple of chords, you can start writing songs. Even if you are never going to play these songs to anyone, regular song writing will make your practice more creative, and make you want to keep picking up the guitar whenever an idea pops into your head for a new song. A good place to start is our chord centre.

A quick note of caution!

Don't overdo things. If your hands hurt at any time take things easy and rest. If you think you have been straining your fingers, go and visit the doctor.

The golden rule

Practice, practice, practice!

We hope these tips will help you on the way to becoming a fantastic guitarist.