How to practice guitar and not bore yourself to death
If your like me; technical exercises and guitar method books probably bore you to death.
And until recently I turned that into a very negative thing, where I felt guilty or like I’d let myself down if I didn’t practice the way I said I should have.
A typical guitar teachers instructions to a beginning student might be something like:
“You should practice this chromatic scale every day for like 20 minutes, and then once you are done that then you move onto playing that same chromatic scale backwards for 20 minutes…”
Now I realize that this is a totally insane way to approach any kind of hobby; especially music. And I can see why some people don’t get past the beginner or intermediate stages; or when they do they play the guitar like it is a video game and they sound like the most boring guitarist on earth even though they are a technical virstou.
And, quite honestly if chromatic scales and exercises don’t bore you to death and you can spend 2 hours a day practicing technical exercises then, I am sorry to say, but there is something wrong with you – time to get off the Dexedrine.
The problem with learning guitar through formulas and ideas that are boring and repetitive is that eventually everything you play will sound boring, mediocore and repetitive.
So here is the best tip I think that I have figured out in my 16 years of playing guitar and it’s what I have always done anyways…
PLAY WHAT YOU WANT TO PLAY!
Here a catchy tune on the radio? Search for the guitar tab using a search engine. Were you playing around one day and accidentally stumbled into a little riff that you have grown fond of? Write it down for later so that you can practice and improvise with it more.
Now this was an idea I had thought of but recently I read an article where Johnny Marr was like yeah you should play whatever you have fun playing because that will make you play more!
Another occurence of this was from another musical hero of mine Doug Martsch, who I remember in an interview someone asked him how he was so technically good and he said he doesn’t ever think about technique he just sits with his guitar and plays what he wants too.
If I think about some of the best teachers I’ve had over the years, many will even just make up their lessons as they go along. They love what they do so much that there is no preperation for them. They just perform.
I wonder if any of you out there know of any other musicians or teachers that follow this same practice principle?