In an earlier post, I outlined five tips for practicing. For this article, I’m going to elaborate on the fifth tip: have a goal.
Part of the fun of learning to play the guitar as a hobby is that it is relaxing and open-ended: a reprieve from the fast-paced structure in our day-to-day lives. It may be tempting to remove all structure from your time with the guitar to give yourself some down time. I’ve been there, too. I’ve picked up the guitar and noodled aimlessly on it for an hour and put it down. Occasionally, that’s great and I recommend that each of your play sessions should involve some noodling.
But to get the most out of your time with the guitar, each session should be a continuation of the last session in some way. In other words, there should be a goal in mind for at least a portion of your play sessions. The goal can be anything. For example, you could try to perfect a new song, memorize a new scale, make a tricky barre chord sound better, or learn some arpeggios. The list is endless. Pick one goal and incorporate exercises into your play time to help you meet that goal. Do that, and you’ll get better. Do it not, and you could be noodling forever.
For more information about me and the guitar lessons that I give in and around Baltimore, visit www.ewguitar.com.