If you have any form of social media, you might have seen the videos of aspiring musicians strumming away on their guitars while singing their hearts out. Playing the guitar has become a sort of sensation recently, with people of all backgrounds and ages taking up music courses and learning to pluck and strum. Since you’ve clicked on this article, chances are that you want to join their ranks, or perhaps even start on the path to becoming a musical sensation.
Still, it can be challenging to learn the ins and outs of guitar playing, especially if you have no prior experience with music. Well, we’re here to help with these simple tips to follow while learning to play the guitar.
1. Learn music theory
It can be tempting to jump straight in and learn to play songs based on finger placement, but that may easily stunt your progress. Engaging with theory will always be integral for those looking to learn music. Learning how to read scores and understanding the concepts of chords and scales can open up numerous possibilities for your playstyle. Having to read and study the theory may seem tedious at first, but after applying it, you will realise why it’s so essential for any musician.
2. Use the correct fingering
When you are just starting out, some of the finger placements may feel a bit awkward. Sometimes, you may even find a different way to position your fingers that feels better to you. It may be hard, but you need to resist that temptation.
Professionals developed the standard finger placements over years of trial and error. And there is a very important reason that they were set in that way. Each placement was determined with both the note and variations in mind. If you try to use your own style, you may realise that sevenths and ninths can’t be played. Don’t fix what isn’t broken. Stick to the standard placements.
3. Go slow
It’s common for new learners to feel impatient when practising chords. You may feel like you’re going too slow, and try to deliberately play faster to compensate. Sure, you could learn to play faster that way, but it may not come out sounding as good as it should be. That’s because technique always comes first, especially when dealing with tricky fingering like for barre chords.
Practising your technique is the key ingredient to being able to play smoothly. With precise fingering and steady rhythm, it doesn’t matter if you play slow. Even if you do take your time, what matters is that the notes are crisp and clear. Besides, fast fingering will come naturally, once you have the placements committed to memory.
4. Use a metronome
Metronomes are devices that produce a sound at regular intervals, which you can play your guitar to. There are several metronome mobile apps around, and even some that can be found online. Naturally, they can train you to play with regularity, and build up your sense of rhythm and timing. For a start, set it to a low number of beats-per-minute. The key here is to get used to playing in time, not to go fast. It may be hard to play along with the metronome at first, but stick to it, and you will be playing like a pro in no time.
5. Attend a guitar class
At the end of the day, the sure-fire way to get better is by learning from the experts. Attending guitar classes conducted by professional instructors gives you access to their deep well of knowledge. You’ll also get organised guitar lessons on musical theory, which will no doubt assist in your development as a musician. Still, you should be ready to put in the effort yourself. Even with all the help in the world, the only way you will reach your full potential is through practice, practice, practice.