Practising Guitar – Why It’s Important?
In this article I’m going to write a little bit about practicing. Not normal practicing, like say, what to practice or how to practice per se, but more in a way of how to put practicing into a wider perspective of your playing and achievements of your goals.
Why do we practice in the first place?
Of course, to get better, to get good at what we (want to) do. We want to be able to express ourselves through our instrument, therefore we need some “tools” (technique) to do so.
But why do we practice?
We practice because we feel a certain desire for playing an instrument. There’s something good about the thought of us being able to play our favorite songs, solos, etc., or even if our sole purpose of learning an instrument is to make money.
We practice to achieve something that will make us feel good. That goes for a camp fire strummer as well as for a professional guitarist. But to achieve what makes us feel good, we must set our goals and know what we need to practice to achieve those goals.
Of course, you don’t have to find that out by yourself, find a competent professional guitar teacher and save yourself a lot of time and frustration.
When we practice we tend to “over practice” the elements that are not really important for reaching our goals.
For example, some guitarists spend months of practicing two handed tapping or 6 string arpeggios, but their initial goal was not necessarily to became a shredding god.
So, they are neglecting things that are really important for what they want to play because of things they don’t necessarily need. For example, when I was 15 years old, I wanted to play like Joe Satriani or Steve Vai.
But somehow I came up to the idea, that sweeping was very important for achieving that goal. So I practiced sweeping arpeggios like crazy, while neglecting everything else.
Needles to say I didn’t’ came much further than impressing a few kids in local music store. And even more importantly, there has been maybe 10 seconds of sweeping arpeggios in total on everything I have recorded so far in my life.
A different type of practise
With my knowledge today, I would start in a completely different place.
I would focus on my right hand technique and left hand position, learn the essentials (some scales, chords and techniques, learn the guitar neck and necessary musical theory),but then really focus on rhythmic aspects of playing and phrasing.
From my perspective today I know, that’s what sets my favorite guitarists from the rest, even technically more superior players.
So, if you have a really advanced exercise, do it for (for example) 15 minutes per day, but don’t overdo it.
In the end, no one is ever going to pay you to listen to you playing finger exercises.
Of course, there are some exercises and some things we should put more time into (practicing bends or vibrato require more time than, say, practicing a scale sequence), but remember that you’re practicing to play the music for the people. Or for yourself.
I don’t know if there is anybody who started playing an instrument solely because of the money(totally legit reason, it’s better playing a guitar for a living than cleaning the faucets, right?), but even if there is, everything applies the same.
Learn what you need to know to be able to do what you want to do.
This article was written by a professional guitar player and teacher Nejc Vidmar. He is a composer, recording guitarist, producer and professional guitar teacher, as well as author of guitar related articles.