- Decide what you want to learn.
- Set a (realistic) long term goal and then divide your goal into measurable steps.
You can check and adjust your goals as you progress. It's easy to get frustrated if you don't advance as fast as you would like. Keep in mind that the better you become, the more you also demand of yourself. Remember, that learning is a life-long journey.
Focus = minimize distractions
- Practice in a place where you don’t get disturbed and you don’t have to worry about disturbing others.
- Log out from Social Media, turn your mobile on silent, concentrate for an hour.
It's like meditation, you have to clear your mind, ohhmmm....
Develop a routine
- Practice regularly, even if you can only do so for short periods e.g. 10 minutes a day. Regular short practice sessions are more valuable in the long run, than a marathon session once a week.
- To improve, you also need to rest - a routine helps keep the interest up and results there.
Track your progress
- Record yourself.
- Start a practice diary/blog.
- Play Yousician :).
- Practice together with a friend.
Vary your exercises
Variety is important - it helps keep you interested and motivated. It's the most effective way to build your skills and keep things fresh.
For example, instead of learning just one song for weeks on end, it's great to:
- Revisit old songs you haven't played in a while.
- Learn some fun new riffs you've been wanting to try.
- Work on some scales or technique drills.
- Jam with your friends.
- Do some writing or improvising.
... and so on. Remember: mix it up, keep exploring, have fun!
Be mindful – Practice every moment
There's a lot of research on musicians and their brains.
- Playing an instrument activates the brain like no other activity. It demands a lot of attention too, so don’t watch TV at the same time.
- You can practice without a guitar as well, e.g. by visualizing chord or scale shapes on the fretboard. You can also tap rhythms with your hands and practice finger coordination (just don't drive a truck or do other hazardous activities at the same time...).
Jam with others
- Learning is a social activity, so share your knowledge and learn from others. It can be easier to motivate yourself and keep trying to get better, when you feel challenged.
- Try to play with people who are a little better than you - that can help tremendously. You can cultivate good habits from watching more seasoned players and seeing what they do.