September 20, 2019

The Surefire Plan To Reach Any Goal That You Have On The Guitar

 

Are you highly ambitious about achieving a certain goal on the guitar but you have no idea how to do it? This can be a tough situation if you're learning on your own. When learning on your own it will usually come down to trial and error, instead of having more of a structure.

 

Here you can expect to learn to set any goal and more importantly, how to achieve it. Whether you want to shred like Michael Angelo Batio, or whether you want to be a great improviser, you will have a clearer picture of what to do.

 

 

Decide What You Specifically Want

What are you trying to achieve exactly? Knowing what you want is the first step in accomplishing any goal. It's critical to have clarity and to be specific.

 

If you define your goal as “I want to become a shredder on guitar”, you need to understand that “shredding” is very broad because there are a lot of ways to shred on guitar. You can achieve this with sweep picking, alternate picking, hybrid picking, and a lot of other styles.

 

If you want to learn all aspects, that's great but just be clear on what it is that you want. It's worth mentioning unless you have a lot of free time, it's a good idea to focus on one or two areas so you can implement those skills as soon as possible.

 

If your goal is to play fast with a certain technique then you can get even more specific by deciding at what bpm you want to be able to play these fast runs at. A metronome is a popular tool to keep track of your progress. Things that cannot be measured cannot be improved.

 

A metronome simply measures your progress. For example, you may find that you are comfortable picking at 100 bpm, but once you go to 105 bpm it starts to get sloppy. When this is the case, you can increase the metronome to a slightly higher bpm and work your way up.


In summary, decide exactly what you want so you can have a clear picture of what you want to achieve.

 

 

Understand The Elements That Are Required To Reach That Goal

This can be the trickiest of all the steps but with some research it's doable. Before taking any action towards your goal whatsoever you need to know what the missing pieces of the puzzle are. This will be quite challenging, but let's use learning improvisation as an example.

 

If your goal is to become a great improviser, then knowing where to start can be daunting. As you can tell the goal of “becoming a great improviser” is quite broad so you want to narrow it down more. 

 

To make things easier and simpler for you, what you can do is say “my goal is to be able to improvise in the key of A minor”. This is better, but now you need to find out what the missing parts are to achieve this goal. In the case of learning to improvise there are a lot of moving parts such as:

 

  • Learn a library of licks
  • Ear training such as singing your notes on guitar so you can build the connection between your musical mind and your hands
  • Following the changing chords and hit the right sounding notes
  • Have a grasp of some theory

 

In the example of learning improvisation, it's a good idea to master playing in the key of A minor because you can later translate that to other keys. To avoid frustration, focus on one element at a time and keep practicing until you are comfortable it, then later you can add in more elements.

 

There are more parts to improvisation but it goes to show that there are quite a few things that you need to learn. So how do you learn to find all the required elements to reaching your goals?

 

There are a couple of ways you can do this. The very best is by investing in a guitar teacher. By getting a teacher (even if it's for a couple of sessions) you can immediately find out what you need to accomplish your goals.

 

Teachers have been in your situation and they have faced the same obstacles. You can drastically reduce your learning curve by simply paying a guitar teacher to make a plan for you.

 

The other method is going to require some painful trial and error, but you can drastically reduce the learning curve. Assuming you have set your goal already, you should start by focusing on one element that you think that you need to learn.

 

Let's use improvisation as an example again. If you want to be a great improviser, then you will want the ability to solo over backing tracks.

 

Start by playing to a backing track, even if you don't know what you're doing. This is perfectly fine as you are currently in the trial and error stage. As you start to play on a backing track, you will run into some common problems such as:

 

  • Hitting the wrong notes
  • Sounding repetitive
  • Not knowing what to play
  • Not being able to hear music inside your head

 

Once they occur write them down so you can create a plan to fix them. The most important thing at this point is to just get your hands dirty and to not worry about the technical details of things.


With improvisation, hitting the wrong notes is very common and what is the cause of this? You haven't explored the fretboard enough by testing what works and what doesn't and you most likely haven't learned the notes on your fretboard.

 

As you can see, with a goal like improvisation it can start to get complex. So, what could be a good plan to fix this problem? You can start doing some trial and error to find out what notes work and learn all the notes of the fretboard.

 

If your problem is that you sound too repetitive, you need to do the opposite of what you do. You are doing the same thing and expecting a different result. If you are stuck playing blues licks, then try learning licks from another genre and try to incorporate it.

 

You will find that you will now run into another problem of not being able to incorporate those licks into your situation. This is where trial and error comes in again and you just need to play around with your fretboard to see where you can use that particular lick.

 

As you overcome one challenge, it will be immediately replaced by another challenge. Hopefully, this has given you an idea on how to start going at your goal. Keep in mind that consistency is key to everything. You need to test your solution for a decent period to see you are making any progress. Don't expect immediate results.

 

It's quite difficult to be able to lay down all the elements that are required before you start on your journey, but try to get down as many as you can.

 

On the journey to achieving your goal, you will just notice things on the way. For example, if you are noodling around on a backing track and you understand where the E minor pentatonic is; you might notice that the major scale is three frets up.

 

 

Focus On The Few Not The Many And Isolate It

 

As mentioned, before it's highly suggested that you focus on one idea so you don't get overloaded. The next step is to start isolating that idea so you can simplify the process. Your sole focus currently should be to learn the elements that you need to learn in isolation.

 

Using improvisation as an example again, here is how you can isolate the following concepts:

 

  • Developing your ear – You can do this by learning your favourite songs on the guitar to keep things fun and productive. 

 

  • Play what you hear – This can be achieved by humming the notes that you're playing, so you build the connection between your mind and your fingers.

 

  • Build an arsenal of licks – If your guitar playing is boring, then you have an overused pile of guitar licks and it's time to get some new ones. Start by listening to your favourite guitarists and copy their licks and make them your own. Don't concern yourself about hitting the right notes or what key you are in just solely focus on learning new licks. This is why isolation is powerful, you remove all of the noise and focus on what you need to learn.

 

  • Learning the right notes – You can do this in a multitude of different ways. The easiest is to simply just to go up and down your fretboard and name each note. 

 

As you can see here is a few elements that need to be learned, but also solutions on how to learn them. As you learn a few of these elements and become comfortable with them, then you can start to combine them.

 

You might be wondering, “What about the other elements that I need to combine?”. Don't worry about them, start by combining what you have learnt so far. Then repeat the process. Learn the remaining elements in isolation then combine them once you are confident with them.

 

Once you start combining everything, it will sound shaky but that is completely normal. One trick you can do is to slow everything down then work your way up.

 

If for example, you find that you can't hit the right notes because the backing track is going too fast, then slow it down by 50% and work your way up.

 

 

Keep Practicing!

The only way you reach your goal is with consistency. If you had one person who practices 7 hours on a Sunday versus someone who practices 1 hour every day, who do you think would improve?

 

It's like going for a jog. If you don't run every day then you will start to get unfit because you haven't kept yourself consistent. You don't need 8 hours of practice every day to become great, but if you put in more then you will get more.

 

With 1 hour of focused practice every day, you will be amazed at what you can achieve. 

This article was written by Darko Veselinovic from TheMusicGig.

By Robert Renman - www.dolphinstreet.com

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Posted by Robert Renman on September 20, 2019

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