How do I become a better musician

5 mistakes that prevent you from becoming a better guitarist

(Image: © fotolia; slonme)

Practice and practice the guitar and you still see no progress and have the feeling that you are constantly on the spot? Are you playing your fingers sore on the fingerboard and are you still at the beginning even after weeks?

The reasons for this can be manifold and need not only be in the practice itself. For this reason I have put together a few points for you that may be good for one or the other food for thought and may resolve a few stuck patterns.

1. Do not set specific goals

(Image: © fotolia, Elnur)

An essential point when practicing is a very specific goal that you should visualize. On the one hand, this means setting a goal, but on the other hand, it means seeing yourself playing like that in the imagination. This may sound esoteric, but if you have a clear picture of where you want to go, your mind and subconscious will help to make it happen. Without a destination, you practice in the blue and the train goes nowhere. For example, try to finish a certain project at the end of the week or the end of the month. This can be a piece, an exercise, certain chords, scales or just a set metronome number.

It is important not to set the goal too high, otherwise frustration will spread. A goal that is too low or a task that does not challenge you will not bring the desired result either, because the mind wants to solve problems. Find a realistic goal and work towards it.

2. Inaccurate practice

Of course, practicing is only useful if you do a fairly precise self-observation and self-analysis. Make sure you practice cleanly and accurately. This is sometimes difficult, especially because you are part of the system or process yourself. A recommendation from more and more musicians is therefore to record yourself practicing, which in the age of smartphones does not represent a major effort.

When listening to the recording or practicing, you should always be very self-critical: Is everything clean? What is my timing What is bothering me? What do I particularly like? Would I notice something uncomfortable or pleasant if another guitarist played like this? Trust that your body and mind will work towards realizing your sound conception.

(Image: © fotolia, YakobchukOlena)

Of course, it's nice to make music with your best friends and of course making music also has a social component that is just as important as making progress on the instrument itself.

However, if you feel like you're treading on the spot and always being the best prepared in the band, you shouldn't be afraid to draw the conclusions from it. Ideally, making music should take place at eye level and it is certainly particularly beneficial to play with musicians who are a tad better than you. Incidentally, it doesn't just have to be purely instrumental, it can also be compositional or arranging. Surrounding yourself with good musicians is extremely motivating and you will see how the learning curve goes up drastically!

4. Too busy with equipment

(Image: © fotolia, Mila Supynska)

The GAS (Gear Acquirement Syndrome) is a problem that guitarists in particular are severely affected by.

Of course, it is extremely important to find your personal tone and a good guitar sound that is suitable for the band and context, but unfortunately you see more and more younger and older guitarists, where the purchase of equipment is becoming more and more an end in itself and one overlooks with so much information the latest achievements in the music market forget what it's all about: making music.

If you have reasonably good equipment and the sound is still not satisfactory, you should ask yourself whether amps or distortions are really the problem. Sound and tone come primarily from the imagination (some say, "from the fingers", but I find the word "imagination" much more appropriate!), And not only from the equipment! The reason why a Steve Lukather sounds like Lukather about any amp has primarily to do with the fact that he knows exactly and has a very specific idea of ​​how he wants to sound! Incidentally, we are not that far from point 1: Without imagining how I want to sound, I cannot work towards a result, and even the thousandth distortion will not help.

5. Avoid unpleasant situations

We all try to avoid circumstances that make us uncomfortable, and that's natural too. Nevertheless, a distinction should be made between situations that have a more destructive and corrosive effect on us and situations whose confrontation helps us advance.

Musicians often try to avoid playing in sessions, playing with better musicians, auditioning for entrance exams or auditions for fear of being exposed.

But the fact is: you have nothing to lose! What does it matter if someone says, "You play rubbish?" - any reasonably qualified musician would firstly never talk to you like that and secondly you shouldn't believe that your heroes have never had bad experiences of this kind - that's just part of it!

Apart from that, everything you play is always just a snapshot of the current state and in two months you can already be a completely different guitarist. To face your fears requires courage at the beginning, but when you have broken through this obstacle, you will recognize much more what is actually inside you and you also open up a new space for yourself every time in which you can grow, that's why the motto must mean: Get out of the comfort zone!

I wish you all the best on your way!