Everyone knows that practice makes perfect, but just how much guitar practice does it take to get to the “perfect” part? And are there ways to make your practices more efficient to get there quicker?

Having a dedicated guitar lesson with an instructor is one way to improve your guitar skills.

Here are some more tips to improve at home or on your own time.

  1. Record your progress
    When you first start your guitar lessons with Heritage Music School it may be difficult for you to notice small improvements in your skills. While your instructor may notice your progress, you might not feel it. That’s why it’s so important to make a recording of yourself. Mount your smartphone or have someone hold it for you and record only one take of yourself practising a song or technique. Then, a week later, record the same thing again. Keep this going and play back your videos to see yourself improve over time!
  2. Learn something different
    Up until now, you’ve probably only played a certain genre, or rhythm or lead, because you enjoy it or because it’s the thing you’re most comfortable with. Push past your comfort zone and search for a song, exercise or technique that is completely different to that which you’re used to. Play the rhythm part of a section if you’d previously only played the lead. It will help to build skills that you might not even know that you had struggled with before and better your overall guitar skills.
  3. Play with other guitarists or musicians
    When you play with other musicians, it teaches you to listen in a different way. Playing with other musicians is widely recommended by those who have learned the importance of listening to others play. It will improve your timing and rhythm skills if you need to pay attention to others to be able to keep up or to slow down.
    Playing with other musicians, especially ones better than you, will also help you to develop a better musical ear. Other musicians with more skills can teach you something new from every jam session!
  4. Work on ear training
    Developing a better ear may sound daunting, but it is a sure way to improve your guitar skills. What we mean by developing your ear is to train to identify intervals, chords and, scales by hearing them. This will also help you to learn how to play songs after hearing them instead of needing the sheet music or chords.
  5. Set up a practice routine – and stick to it!
    When you sit down to practice – what do you do? Do you have a clear plan of what you need to do for the session, or do you just play through some songs without really thinking about it? The way you practice makes a really big difference in your progress. Learn about best practice techniques: where you practice, what you practice and how you practice it. Keep in mind to warm up properly, learn some new chords, practice scales and then only work on a new song. Then to round it all off you enjoy a jam session with a song you already know. Remember that routines are different for different people and depend on their level of skills, so try to come up with something that is good for you!
  6. List your goals
    First off, if you don’t know what you want to improve – you won’t know what you need to be working on. It can give you the direction you may need and help you to search specifically for exercises that can help you to improve your guitar skills!
  7. Learn music theory
    Know the why’s and the how’s behind every piece of music can give you the tools to understand music better. Music theory is probably one of the least favourite parts of learning how to play an instrument for anyone – but it has so many benefits and gives you the perfect guidelines as to why certain things work. Playing scales (which are important to understand music theory) are a great way to improve your dexterity and they are also the foundation to learn solo and be able to improvise.
  8. Practice with a metronome
    Like music theory, this is not the favourite tip or trick, but it can have a huge effect on your guitar skills. It will improve your rhythm skills and when used properly it should help you to learn scales and chords faster, learn complicated solos and improve your picking and strumming techniques.
  9. Practice every day
    Aim to practice every single day using your dedicated routine. Building a regular habit is crucial to building skills. Practising only once a week won’t help the skills you learn in that session stick. You need to practice every day, even if it means playing for just five minutes on a busy day – it can make a difference if you do it every day.

Make sure you choose at least three of the tips above and then work on those three – preferably the tips that get you most excited! – for at least a month. After working on those, then pick some more tips to really help you move up and onwards!