I believe how we approach our practice mentally as well as physically is important, even vital. Here’s a bunch of ways to think about how to improve consistently. Remember, it’s not the amount of time you play the guitar but what you do with that time while you’re playing.
Repetition makes it easier and easier, actually the right repetition. So go SLOW at first, slow enough to play it right. Let me say that again, SLOW ENOUGH TO PLAY IT RIGHT! Do it until you get it right. Also, review it or you will lose it. It may take a month or many months to learn a particular song. But once it’s learned, it may only take 10 minutes to review it.
This is what I call the Gain and Maintain principle, once you’ve gained it, review so you can maintain it When trying to learn something that’s very challenging, take it a very small piece at a time. Isolate a small section. At first it may seem that you’ll never play it but keep working on it, it’ll need a lot of extra time then other things that you learned quickly.
Give yourself time and be patient. You must be able to play the hard and complex stuff on guitar like the easy stuff. It’s the same process as learning the easy stuff but will take a lot longer, don’t give up. Rate whatever you’re working on with a scale of 1-10. If something is 5’xs harder it’s going to need alot more work.
If it feels like an 8 today and 3 weeks later it still feels like an 8 in difficulty then you need to change how you’re practicing. Can also use the 1-10 scale to rate body tension when you’re playing. I remember using this as I had a lot of tension in my shoulders.
Started out as an 8 or 9 and it took a couple weeks that as I paid attention and relaxed as I played it dropped to a 4 or 5 and within 30 days it was about a 2 or 3. What was amazing was even my playing sounded much more relaxed.
Isolate problems and find a solution. If you have 80 to 90 per cent of a piece that sounds fine don’t re-practice that each time trying to improve the 20 or 10 per cent that really needs the work. No one plays perfectly all the time.
Consider the amount of chords and notes going on in just playing a handful or songs or gigging with a band for 4 hours. Give yourself permission to fail sometimes. Remember, a mistake is a unwanted result.
Don’t be a professional practicer that just learns new stuff but can never really fully play anything all the way through. Also, have fun, and jam to backing tracks, a drum machine or sequencer, or even better with live musicians. These are just a few tips and I will go more into detail in the future on many of these topics. I still use and think about these ideas 25 years later. THEY WORK!
Keep playing and have fun,