Are You Stuck with Your Guitar Playing...?



At nearly every stage of the "guitar development cycle" students of the instrument can (and will) get stuck. 

It can happen for many different reasons, but almost all guitar players will experience it on some level. This post will help you stay on top of your game and make it through all of the "tough spots" that are sure to happen along the way...

Over the months and years of doing hours and hours of guitar studies, your success depends almost entirely upon quickly getting out of the ruts you'll experience along the way.

When those ruts happen, you'll need to ask yourself questions like... How can I help myself get through this? What can be done when I start to feel this way? What is it that's missing from my practice routine? Do I need a new guitar teacher(s)? Do I need a different curriculum? Those are all critical questions.



BIG IMPROVEMENTS TAKE BIG CHANGE:
How much do you want to improve this year? Five times better? How about ten times better? If you want to drastically improve your guitar playing it will take massive effort. You'll need a serious routine, you'll also need to be careful that you don't get comfortable resting within the same material in one place for too long.

Not making any changes to your study material, and to your daily routine, will cause you to study the same material for far too long of a period. Usually causing you to stagnate on the same topics for way too long. This can have the effect of keeping guitar players at the same playing level for months, perhaps years…or even worse - forever.

Have you ever said this to yourself… “I’ll move on to something new when I’ve mastered what I’m practicing now.” This attitude can cause you to stagnate. You won't learn any new chords, new songs will be pushed aside, and starting new projects like playing lead guitar may never happen.

ARE YOU READY YET?
Generally most guitar players will stagnate because they "think" that they're “not ready yet.” What I’ve found from teaching guitar privately for so long, is that too many guitar players end up staying in one place for much longer than they should.

They're "Waiting." But, that waiting period can end up going on and on for weeks and weeks. It can consume them. And, it can lock them down in one place until they lose sight of what it is they're actually looking for with regard to being “ready” to move on.



THE 'FOREVER' BEGINNER:
I can't tell you how many players I've met who say that they are, “beginner” guitar players, but when I ask them how many years they've played, I discover that they have actually been playing guitar for 15 years or more. How can they be beginners and have been playing guitar for 15 years?

MAKING CHANGES HAPPEN:
Solid organized guitar practice is the key factor. But even with minimal consistent practice on the guitar, a player can still make good progress. It all depends upon three key factors:

#1). how the student is spending their study time
#2). what material they are studying
#3). if the knowledge base is expanding out to new ideas

The problem with, 

“I’m going to wait till I get better at _____” 

syndrome is that it will actually take a very long time to master any one particular thing on the guitar with it. And, the "mastery" level does not happen until you start to learn many other pieces of the guitar playing puzzle. So, you'll stagnate.

EXPAND, EXPAND, EXPAND...
Muscles that you develop in learning a new chord shape will help you play an old chord more proficiently. A new element of music theory can make an old theory concept much more relevant to you. And, a new guitar lick can help an old guitar lick expand to cover more of the guitar neck. 

It's a building process, and it takes time, energy and quite a lot of exposure to new topics. So, you have to be ready to work on this stuff, and take responsibility for where you're at as a guitarist.



WAITING, WAITING, WAITING:
Waiting to learn new chords will actually slow down your progress on the old chords. Waiting to learn a new song will slow down the progress on your current song. And, waiting to move onto harder technical studies and neck patterns will slow down the skills for all of the patterns that you currently know. It's a vicious cycle when left on its own.

Playing guitar is like a huge mosaic, and you have to continue organizing all the pieces to really form the entire picture. If you really want to expand your guitar ability, then move away from only focusing on the a small pieces. 

If you decide to not bother doing anything else until you have that little piece finished, you’ll be working on the big picture for a very, very, VERY long time.

FORMING THE 'BIG PICTURE' OF YOUR SKILLS:
If you work on many different practice ares at the same time and you introduce new parts all the time, you will move toward your goal much faster. 

Once you have all types of various bits and pieces of the whole puzzle in place, it will be so much easier to finish that picture. Doing this, will allow you to learn how to understand how each corner fits into the whole picture.

Will it feel uncomfortable to move into uncharted territory before you “think” that you are ready..? ...YES!

But, remember that growth at anything lives on the edge of that comfort zone. The other extreme is guitar players who jump from one thing to the other without taking time to work and improve on them long enough. These types are really the exception to the rule.

My experience has shown that waiting too long to move on is more often than not what happens. So get out of the guitar progress holding pattern. Set a new course for learning something new this week, next week and next month. Doing this is how you'll grow!

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