Learn To Play Guitar With These 5 Keys
Have you ever wondered what it takes to learn to play guitar? I’m not talking about struggling to finger a chord and then spending several painful seconds to move to the next chord. I mean what does it take to play with the freedom and confidence you can’t help but admire when you see someone who has got it? Well, I may not be able to offer you the proverbial “quick fix”, but there is a tried and true path. In this lesson I’ll explain the 5 keys to playing real guitar.
Key#1 – Develop Good Habits Early
When I first started learning to play guitar, like most people I wanted to learn my favorite songs, or more to the point of my favorite song licks. I found over the years that if I develop good habits it’s much easier and more fun to learn whatever I want to learn. There are two important habits to learn early on.
To learn to play guitar the first basic habit is good basic technique. I'm talking about practicing the things that will allow you to move easily and freely around the guitar. Usually that means specific exercises that focus in on specific issues. This will allow you to put your energy on what you really need to work on.
The second and most important habit is developing the habit of practicing. Making time on a regular basis to practice is critical to not only learn to play guitar but also to becoming successful at any skill.
Key #2 – Use Your Practice Time Effectively
Once you set up a regular practice time the next important key is to use that time effectively. Strumming a guitar while watching TV or casually playing your favorite song can be a lot of fun, but it’s not really practice. Effective practice involves working on a progressive set of material that's designed to help you improve your technique.
By progressive I mean it's the next logical thing to work on based on where you're at and where you're going. This could be some form of exercise, or even a song if it involves elements that you need to work on.
This also means that you're putting a reasonable amount of attention on what you doing. If you really want to learn to play guitar it's best to spend some time each day practicing and paying attention to all the details that you working on, including correct and relaxed hand position as well as getting a good sound.
Key #3 – Practice Chord Patterns (Not Individual Chords)
Learning chords is it important part of learning to play guitar, but practicing individual chords is not the best use of your time. Spend your valuable practice time practicing chord patterns, not individual chords.
You see, the real key to learning chords is learning to move from one chord to another. It's a mistake to practice fingering chords and then think you'll be able to use it at the right time. Practice chords in sequence with other chords. The sequence of chords is called a chord progression or chord pattern.
There are common chord patterns that are used in many songs. One way to get a lot of “bang for buck” in your practice is to use these common chord patterns. You'll be practicing both the chords, learning the progression, and practicing timing all in one shot.
Key #4 – Get An Accurate Roadmap
If you are going on a trip would it be incredibly valuable to have an accurate map or set of directions on how to get there?
This same concept applies to learning to play guitar. Having an accurate roadmap means you'll know what you should be working on next and feel the confidence that you have a path to get to where you want to go.
It'll also help you avoid the problems of trying to do things out of order. When you try to do things out of order you develop bad habits and tension. It's much better to learn things incrementally in a step-by-step fashion, relaxing your hands and body as you feel tension.
It will also save you a lot of time in the long run. Even though there are been famous guitar players that seem to learn on their own much less time-consuming to have a good learning system or competent teacher that can help you avoid the pitfalls that you're bound to experience without them.
Key #5 – Persistence Is King
And finally key number five is to persist until you succeed. This may sound like outworn advice to some, but I believe it's critical to being successful in anything that's worth doing.
I want to read to you a paragraph that has inspired and encouraged me over the years that is attributed to Calvin Coolidge our 30th president of the United States.
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on' has solved and will always solve the problems of the human race.”
– Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president of the United States.
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I'm here to help you experience the fun and excitement that I thousands of others have had learning to play beautiful music on the guitar with confidence and ease. Thanks for joining me.
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We would love to hear your comments and questions. What specific things are you struggling with while learning guitar?
Really enjoyed the post today!
Wow! I love to hear that Bryan. Thanks for your time. 🙂
Dear Mr. Tomas,
I am very thankful to you for this great, actually excellent guitar lessons.
I want to say that I am making some serious improvements, and your lessons helped me a lot.
P.S. This quote is excellent.
Best regards from Bosnia & Herzegovina,
Just to let you know that I am very grateful to hear from people like you giving thanks for what I did. I felt so honored. Playing and teaching guitar is my passion and to know that you learned from me is so overwhelming. You definitely encouraged me to make my lessons more fun, enjoyable and easy to learn. Thanks also. Keep it up! 🙂
Thank you for easy tips and explanation… I shall be looking forward to see more like this and to Hearn guitar with you if you don’t mind!!!
Thanks Dawid. -Tomas