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Best Strategies to Crush Your Guitar Goals

Best Strategies to Crush Your Guitar Goals - Guitar Tricks

by Bear Greenholz of MusicRiser

Best Strategies to Crush Your Guitar Goals This Year

It is no news that you need diligence and discipline to achieve your desired level of expertise as a guitarist. And it has been heavily implied by many legendary guitarists that these attributes will not turn into your greatest assets unless you have a set of well thought-out goals to achieve. In this article, I intend to run you through some strategies to sort out your goals and succeed in accomplishing them.

Why Do You Need Goals?

Imagine this, you grabbed your guitar and started playing the very same thing that you have been playing for a few months with little to no noticeable improvement. And if you realize that these are the things that you will keep playing without making a breakthrough, let me tell you why this is happening. You lack the goals that a guitarist should chase to achieve. This lackluster, passive and mediocre approach to guitar mastery is what pinning you down to the level that you are at now. To break free from this you need to do the following,

“Set the goals that will make you acknowledge yourself as a guitarist and crush them with a bang”

How to Crush Your Goals

1. Your strategies are as good as your goals

If you start with realistic and achievable goals in mind, it will be much easier to strategize your plan to accumulate optimum results. Slapdash goals will not bring out the true results and you will lose the motivation that you had when you started. This is the most common reason that the majority of aspiring guitarists stay as aspiring guitarists. Have a clear vision of what you want to achieve within a certain period of time. For example, don’t just think you want to learn alternate picking, instead think that you want to be able to alternate pick with clarity at a certain tempo. Be specific.

2.Crush the techniques

Techniques are your fundamental tools to make music, so you have to have some technique related goals to the list. Whatever your skill level is, there will always be techniques that you need to learn or polish. Imagine the guitarist that you want to be at the end of this year. Which cool techniques do you need to master? Think carefully, make a list, set a time limit and, of course, start with the easiest one.

3. Learn the way of the things

Don’t shy away from getting a bit too into how music works. Gather as much information as you can on techniques, playing styles and music theory. Then figure out how these concepts relate to each other by actually learning each of these in depth. Say you want to polish your legato. To do so, learn how your fingers should make contact with the string or how you should pluck the strings or even how you should sit while performing. These are the nuances that will dictate your progression.

4. Making music is the ultimate goal here

Whether you are composing, improvising or learning your favorite artists’ songs, you must have freedom and control over your fingers and your brain. And this means achieving impeccable skill sets. But, mastering impressive techniques doesn't equate to mastering the art of music. Techniques don’t impart any meaning to your playing, but ideas do. Invest time in making actual music. At the end of the year, you don’t want to become a skilled guitarist who plays the same ideas over and over. Take notes on what makes a guitarist different from others in something other than their technical prowess.

5. Notice how your body reacts

With the goals you are trying to achieve something that your body isn’t capable of doing right now. So, it is evident that you're not going to ace something right off the bat. Try to control your urge to progress overnight. If you can't perform something with clarity and efficacy, slow down and allow your body to adjust to the new stimulations. Eventually, you will gain enough muscle memory to perform the task flawlessly. Stimulate your body slowly but consistently to weed out bad habits and improve upon necessary skills.

6. Notice how your brain reacts

You might already have realized that even with trained fingers you are unable to play something until that something is ingrained into your brain. Suppose you are practicing eighth-note triplets. You know you have to make three strokes to perform it, but you just can’t physically do it. What you should do is put aside the guitar and take mental notes on how the triplet should sound like. When you can play it well enough in your head, take up guitar and try playing it again. You will be surprised to notice the difference in your triplets compared to how good they were before. A clear picture in your head will guide your hand to improve upon a skill.

7. Reach out to others

If possible, get yourself acquainted with someone who shares similar goals and visions that you do. Both of you will push through your limits and savor the moments of victory together. This will keep you motivated and refrain you from slacking or, even worse, giving up on your goals. 

8. Keep a log

Small changes in your playing are really hard to notice even within a longer period of time. This is where “keeping a log” makes its appearance. Keeping detailed log on your goals and how much of those you have achieved will keep you aware of the efficacy of your method. And in turn, you will be able to make precise adjustments to increase the likelihood of grabbing the reward that you dream of. 

9. Can you become the best guitarist?

Any guitarist would wish to become one of the greats. But, do they need to? Don’t burden yourself with something like that. Try to immerse yourself into the process of your improvement. However small your improvements are, cherish them as they are the fruits of your hard work. Trust me, it is amazing how exhilarating the process of training yourself when you appreciate the small achievements.

10. Practical expectations breed greater results

This ties to the previous point that I made. Unrealistic expectation is another burden that you need to deal with to achieve your goals. Remind yourself that you don’t have to improve upon all your goals within a few months. Rather you just have to become slightly better at playing your instrument than you were yesterday. This will keep you focused and grounded which are the secret mantras of bagging the success that you are looking for.

Final words

You should not think of these suggestions as short-cuts or esoteric wisdom for magical results. You still need to put out an enormous amount of mental and physical effort to achieve even a miniscule amount of improvement. Rather think of these as a list of instructions that will help you achieve the insight of the way of a guitarist.



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