Students who decide to attend a music school or take lessons with a private instructor to learn how to play guitar the first time will face a situation where they may get overloaded. First, they have to find out where they can buy a good quality guitar, then they have to know every part of the instrument. Then they have to know the basic chords from the Chord Progression Chart and they have to learn fingerpicking and strumming enough to play their first song. The student will have to be disciplined enough to set time practice with the aid of video lessons by themselves.It can be a little overwhelming.

However it does not have to be that way! Below are 10 tips to help a beginner drastically improve their guitar playing

  1. Practice-If you want to improve your ability to play and enjoy the guitar then you have to practice. Most music schools and expert instructors have websites that have channels that have instructional videos in modules that the beginning guitar player can follow. Its best that the student set aside time say about 30-40 minutes every day OR every other day (to reduce strain) to play to monitor their progres
  2. Use Your Smartphone/DV Camera to Record yourself-To aid in your training you can use these devices (usually attached to a tri-pod ) to record yourself playing a song. This approach has two benefits. First it helps you monitor your progress in learning chords, finger position on the frets and hearing how the music sounds. Second you can send this video as an mp4 recording which could vary from 5 min (200mb ) to 10 min (500mb)  via dropbox or online cloud storage hosting sites to your instructor so he/she can identify issues or errors.
  3. Learn Your Essential Chords-You MUST..MUST learn the following chords C,A, G, E, D, F, Am, Dm and Em. The first six are your basic chords followed with the remaining 3 minor chords. Most of the chords are not difficult to learn because their left finger positions are close together. The hardest one to learn is the F and the minor chords. You can combine these chords together to build a simple song which will help your memory.
  4. Learn Different Chords-If you are given or purchase the Chord Progression Chart they are ranked as group I, IV, V, I. They can be heard in a lot of of today’s popular music. Each progression can be played in any key, which allows for endless combinations and sounds. You have your three principal, 3 minor and additional chords and you can combine them to play music varying from pop, rock and blues.
  5. Practice with Other Students-From the beginning of the internet in 1993 to today, thanks to the development of the Intergrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) you can take courses on line or partake in video conferencing. In the past students have to play in a studio or an instructor place or residence to learn guitar. Today students who are unsure about practising guitar lessons alone can work with a fellow student in person. However, that is no longer necessary! The development of video conferencing software like Zoom and Google Hangouts mean that students can practice around the world on the internet (depending on the Time Zones) at any time so they can learn from each other.
  6. Develop a Rhythm-Usually beginning guitar course can run from 3-6 months so as the student gains proficiency in learning chords, finger position, finger picking and strumming, they should be able to develop a rhythm. During this time the instructor introduces to the class the use of the Metronome to teach students to know what a rhythm is and to recognise it while playing a song. Most students learn this technique in an intermediate guitar course, but it is always better for them to apply it as early as possible in their music education.
  7. Develop an Ear for Music-When the beginning guitar student improves their playing through consistent practice it helps them develop and ear for the music. In fact when they are introduced to the acoustic and electronic tuning of the guitar in earlier lessons, it helps their ear know if the guitar is out of tune. It would be really hard for the student to skip YouTube instructional videos and not read chords, but in the end it will help them play by ear which also improves coordination.
  8. Use Different types and Sizes of Picks. Guitar picks vary in materials, shape and sizes. In the past they use to be made of tortoises in the early part of the 20th Century, but because they were an endangered species the practice was banned. Now they are usually made of wood, plastic celluloid, nylon, xlonite and Du Ponts Delrin. A thin pick is usually around .046mm while the medium ones can range from.071 to .084 mm. Lastly the large ones can be up to 1.2mm in size. Overall the beginning guitar player is encouraged to purchase picks in (they are not expensive) various shapes, sizes and materials to find the most comfortable fit. (Source:
  9. Get into a Consistent Practice Routine-In order to improve your proficiency you must practice consistently. That means developing a schedule with breaks and have a goal to improve your playing by a specific time. It also means not playing song that are not part of your instructors curriculum. It requires discipline and it is ok if you get a classmate to help you via Zoom or Google Hangouts. When you reach your goal the sacrifice was well worth it.
  10. Take Breaks– Becoming proficient in playing the guitar will take some time and you need to be patient to see results. It takes time to learn your chords, finger position on the fret as well as fingerpicking and strumming. Another reason is to reduce strain and avoid injury to your hand. You can develop repetitive strain injury (RSI) in your neck, back and shoulder if you sit on a stool and not in a proper chair. You may in serious cases develop carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) which is nerve damage to your wrist from frequent playing without rest. There are a number of exercise techniques that will help you relax and exercise to avoid injury

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