We all know practicing an instrument can be no fun at all, especially when it’s the beginning and there is so far to go. The guitar is a particularly frustrating instrument in the beginning. Your fingers will hurt. Things will not sound the way you want. Coordination may seem impossible. I wish I could give every student a magic solution for these woes, but alas, I cannot. I promise there is hope. Practicing can be fun! It’s up to you to get inspired and try some things outside of the box. Here are a few simple suggestions to get over the initial frustration and get on track to being a Jedi Super Hero Rockstar Guitar Master…
1. Jedi Mind Tricks
Everyone knows that Jedis can move things with their mind, right? Well, as musicians we have to learn very similar skills. Our hands do not naturally move the way we need them to, and for guitar players this can be very problematic. What do you do? Practice like a Jedi! Put your hands on a chord and without playing, concentrate on a chord you would like to move to next. At first look at your hand and make the movement. Then try to make it quicker and quicker, each time focusing more and more on minimizing the finger movement. When you feel confident, try looking away and moving. Can you do it? If so, you are officially a Jedi!
2. One Trick Pony
There is something to be said for having one or only a few really good tricks. In certain cases that may be all you need. One fun suggestion is to learn a very simple riff or motif and play is every way possible. Take “I Love Rock And Roll” and learn to play it in time. Then play it with the recording. Then play it standing up. Then play it standing up and rocking out like Joan Jett. Then play it standing on your head…Well, maybe not the last one…safety first.
3. Look What I Can Do
Who said you can’t show off? There is nothing wrong with showing off something you are learning, especially to Mom and Dad, or friends and family. Whether it’s Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star or Hotel California, show what you are learning to as many people as possible. With very little effort, you can even make a short video of what you’ve learned and share it with the world.
4. The Flash
Flash cards are not only for math, and super powers are not only for super heroes. Just think what The Flash could do on a guitar. It’s scary to imagine. In music lessons, we can use flash cards for just about anything. In your own time, take a piece of paper and cut it up into small even sections. On one side, write the letters A through G. Mix those pieces of paper up and get to work. Pull out a letter and play the chord. Then pull out another piece and find that chord. If a letter comes up that you aren’t sure of, look it up and throw that one back into the pile. Every time you go through the pile, try to respond a little faster. This will help develop those super powers.