I've spent countless hours learning new songs, practicing and picking away and I've found out that so many players just keep improving their guitar playing faster than me. It gets me a little frustrated to see them play with such passion and technical expertise that I often find myself asking why. What are these musicians doing that I'm not? I get it that practice is the foundation but there seems to be more to it than that. I started doing a little research and I think I've found out what sets them apart from my "system" if you could call it that. It's just a little shift in their mindset. Here are three tips that have set me on to a better flow of results that I think you will see can improve your skill dramatically.
1. Staying in the rut of playing the same old style of music.
Now I know some you including me love playing only one or two styles of music. Whether its Rock, Country, Blues, Jazz or Classical, the musical styles of other guitar players can often reveal a certain technique or rhythm that could very well blow your mind if you were to incorporate it into your favorite genre. For example, Steve Vai has been thought of by many to be one of the finest guitarists period. Ever hear any of his tracks? This guy can play it all. And it's not uncommon to hear him jump from one style to another on the same track and it just seems to work for him. I can guess he worked like heck and practiced for hours on a variety of musical styles and I know that doing that can jumpstart your musical imagination, get the juices flowing to spur you on to being a better player
2. Playing by yourself or at least not having an audience.
Remember when you were a kid and you and your buddies were riding bicycles? Everyone started popping wheelies and you started to try doing them as well? I remember trying that out and couldn't for the life of me get the hang of it. I would start out not being able to stay up on one wheel and then after a few days the magic would happen and I'd be able to ride quite a long time on that back wheel. Well the same concept can be applied to you playing. When your around others and jamming, you can really get inspired, learn new things from your friends and dramatically improve your playing skills. So by getting around other players and having fun, you will quickly improve your playing and have a great time while you're at it.
3. Not practicing enough. (Yeah, I know)
So many times in my practice sessions, I would stare blankly at the wall not knowing what I should do next. Learn a new song? Work on my scales, figure out a new technique? This would often produce repetitive routines that got me nowhere. It also made me less inclined to play my guitar I have spent days or weeks without ever having picked up the guitar at all. Not a good thing. I now know that not having a structured practice method is really no method at all. Getting online I found several great instruction products that I can use to help me with a sound structure and boy, it goes a long way to making you a better player. Many of these programs have great software and video tutorials that blast through any blocks you may have in your practice. I never knew that these products were available and have helped me tremendously.
Well, I hope these three tips can help you in your quest to improve the enjoyment in your playing. As always feel free to comment with any of your tips. Enjoy your time playing and I hope you find real progress.