The new year has been with us for exactly 10 days now. So chances are that you might have already given up on your new year’s resolutions. But anyway, I want to share some guitar specific resolutions that will help you to improve your skills, and make you a better guitarist by the end of the year.
1. Play every day
This is the most obvious advice I can give, but it’s also the most important. Everything else on this list doesn’t matter if you don’t develop a habit of grabbing your guitar and playing it every day.
They say that you need about 10,000 hours of practice to become really good at any activity (I don’t know who came up with this, but it makes sense).
Get to your 10,000 hours mark early by playing every day! (just a joke) 🙂
But seriously, you really do need to play every day if you want to be any good.
2. Understand guitar chords
Captain obvious strikes again.
But this time it’s not about memorizing all possible chords. What I’m talking about here is understanding guitar chords.
Why are they constructed the way they are? How to create new chords? What’s the difference between major and minor chords? What are chord progressions? And many more questions just like these …
(Also, check this out for more info: learn guitar chords.)
3. Play and understand guitar scales
Many people hate playing scales. They think scales are boring and don’t get you anywhere. But the truth is completely different.
For me, the day I started to practice guitar scales was the day when I truly understood guitar music … how it works, why it works like it does, and so on.
Playing and understanding guitar scales should really be a mandatory element on your list of resolutions.
(Some guitar scales that might come handy to you: learn guitar scales.)
4. Improvise more
Not improvising is a trap many beginner guitarists fall into. The standard approach for every beginner usually consists of myriads of covers and musical arrangements created by other people.
If you want to be an independent musician you need to start improvising and creating your own versions of songs.
This is something that can’t be skipped if you want to be able to create your own melodies at any point in your guitar career.
(Hint: understanding guitar scales really helps while improvising.)
5. Learn new song every week
As simple as this. Just look around, find something interesting, and then learn to play it.
Start with guitar tabs. Learn how to play the song the way it’s originally played. Then add your own touch by improvising.
One week should be more than enough time to do it.
6. Have a guitar buddy
A friend who’s at a similar stage with their guitar skills as you are. This can be really helpful. You can play together, motivate each other, and maybe even create a band at some point.
Having someone like this really is a great thing. It holds you accountable and forces you to practice if you don’t want to be left behind.
7. Find and join a band
Because why the hell not?
8. Jam with your friends
Jam sessions are great. They really improve your creative mind and teach you how to act when there are no rules and no plan regarding what’s going to happen next.
There’s just a group of people with one mission of sounding good. And everyone has to do what they can to make it happen.
The best part is that anyone can take part in a jam session at the same time. Guitarists, singers, bassists, pianists, drummers, etc.
Which brings me to …
9. Learn basis for the piano
Why would you want to do this? Well, piano simply is a superb instrument. Essentially, it’s great for learning how music works. Everything about the piano is perfectly visible and understandable.
After just a couple of lessons you’ll understand many things about music theory. It’s not without a reason that many music schools require you to take piano lessons before you can sign up for any other instrument…
OK, back to guitars.
10. Buy new strings for your guitar
Come on, it’s the new year. Your guitar deserves a little treat.
(Some additional information on how to change acoustic guitar strings.)
11. Learn how to read notes (musical notation)
Sorry to be the one to break this to you, but you’re not truly a musician until you learn how to read musical notation. That’s just the way it is …
Learning how to read notes can take a while, but it’s surely worth it. You can start here: How to Read Notes (Musical Notation) Part 1.
12. Sign up for a popular guitar forum
Forums are great for all kinds of topics, not only guitar. You can meet many likeminded people and participate in some interesting discussions. Also, whenever you have a problem you can simply ask your forum buddies for an opinion.
Here are 4 guitar forums worth taking a look at.
13. Sign up for a guitar training program
Learning stuff on your own can be tough. Not only you have to find motivation to keep going every day, but you also have to find the materials for your lessons.
Online guitar training programs can surely help you here. You still need to take care of the motivation part, but apart from that, everything is handed to you. New lessons, new challenges, and resources.
There are both free and paid programs on the internet. If you don’t know if you want to spend money you can start with GuitarTricks online lessons. The basic package (the free one) consists of 24 lessons. After you finish this basic course you’ll make the decision whether you want to continue the program or not.
14. Use YouTube
YouTube is great for all kinds of different things. For example, the most popular ways of using YouTube among guitar players are:
- Searching for video lessons. There are many great teachers on YouTube. Some of them share complete training programs, which are of course free, like everything on YouTube is. And we all know that when it comes to something like guitar playing, video is probably the best medium possible.
- Searching for cool performances of other guitarists. For inspiration, for instruction, or for whatever other reason. Watching others showing off their skills is a great way to get some ideas you can use in your next tune.
- Sharing your own performances. Why not? Record your own performance, upload it to YouTube and have others comment and tell you what they think. You do want to get out there and perform in public at some point, don’t you? Why not starting on YouTube?
I think this small set of 14 resolutions is more than enough to keep you busy for the entire year. I’m positive that if you implement even half of them, by the end of the year you’ll be twice the guitarist you are right now.
What’s your opinion? Are there any other resolutions you’d like to include here?