For guitarists in the early stages of playing, one of the problematic things that’ll hold them back is changing from one chord to another chord in a song. I’ll find that my student has gone away and learned where to put their fingers for the chords they need, but then tend to stall because the changes are not as fluent as they need to be. Something I find often in these cases is that the guitarist will do a thing I call “chord building”; slowly putting fingers on one at a time in a slow motion change.
“I’m learning B6sus right now. Do you think learning a bunch of parts of songs is a good idea so you learn a bunch of different chord changes, or is learning whole songs better and just working on them until you can play the same chords changes from those few songs at a decent speed?”
I’ve had a question from my newest YouTube subscriber.
“How do you motivate yourself to practice when you hate playing by yourself, but have no other choice? Thanks to Covid, and multiple band breakups and having to move to a new town, I’m stuck by myself and I loathe playing by myself either for practice or performing. There’s a special family feeling to playing with other people in a band, or even playing live although doing that alone still sucks compared to being able to do it with a band, and now not having it has made me not want to pick up my guitar for weeks. How do I beat this melancholy? What would you do if you had to be me in this situation?”
One of the things I find can bottleneck anyone’s progress on an instrument is not having clearly defined goals to work towards. And it might be the case at times that one of my students, or someone who’s just started lessons with me HAS set goals for themselves, but these goals might be unrealistic taking into account their experience at that time. Now, it’s a good thing to have a vision of where you want to be and what you’d like to do with an instrument; but if all your goals are set too high, with no planning for the work you’ll need in between, these “goals” might be better described merely as dreams, or even as fantasy. So i’d like to share the method I encourage my students to adopt, and the one I use myself.
Something I discuss on a regular basis with my students is splitting up their practise time to help them get better results. After a while of playing and maybe getting invloved with different bands, school music projects, or studying for grade exams (or maybe doing all those things at the same time), the list of things that you need to work on can seem overwhelming. It could also be that you’ve got personal goals you’d like to meet with your playing, but feel at a loss with where to get started when you have the time to practise.
It’s a tale as old as time itself, for beginners and advanced students alike. You have the instrument, the books, the online tutorials all at your fingertips, and still can’t find that motivation to pick up your instrument as often as you’d like.
Over the years i’ve been teaching this has been a frequent problem, and when it comes to discussing it with my students, it usually boils down to the same handful of reasons. Some people have demanding jobs and work irregular hours, limiting their available time. Others will feel a bit overwhelmed, with practising feeling like it’ll be a chore, especially if they haven’t done any all week, and their lesson is tomorrow.
But, the common thing I have found in pretty much all cases, is that the person hasn’t really established any kind of routine for themselves; they’ll often treat their instrument practise as some special, separate thing, while at the same time attend a regular sports practise, or maybe visit the gym twice a week as a matter of course.
The overall theme here is to establish a routine, and to stick to it. This routine can be reviewed or altered to suit your needs at different times, but there needs to be some underlying element of structure to your practise, to make any siginificant progress.
I’ve recently relaunched my website to reflect the changes I am making at WMT; the most important being that as well as taking your lessons in person at my studio in Wakefield, you can now also book to do lessons online with me, from anywhere in the world!
For the last decade or so, i’ve used my personal Youtube channel both for my own playing videos and for videos related to Wakefield Music Tuition. I’ll still be running my personal Youtube channel, but it’s my plan to produce more regular content for WMT, and have set up a new seperate channel to keep things simple.
If you’d like to keep up to date with my new videos, subscribe to my channel and hit the notification bell to get an alert as soon as I upload. Give the videos a thumbs up if you like what you see, share the videos with your friends, and I welcome everyone to get involved in discussion in the comments.
If you would like to find out more about what I can offer you on your instrument, do get in contact with me or visit www.wakefieldmusictuition.co.uk!
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