How Effective Are You In Reaching Your Musical Goals? 


In order to achieve excellence as a guitar player, a broad range of factors need to be in place. Do you know what these factors are? More importantly, are you implementing them on a consistent and efficient basis? Let's find out...
Section 1. General Practicing
1. I understand the difference between practicing and playing.  *

2. I have clearly defined goals I want to reach with my playing and musical skills. *

3. I write out my practice schedule before I begin practicing. *

4. I do my best to practice something every single day, even if it's only for a few minutes. *

5. I am organized in my practice and keep a practice log of everything I work on, and all of my musical materials are organized in an easy to access fashion. I also have an effective way to measure my progress. *

6. I am currently taking lessons from a teacher who is focused on helping me reach my musical goals.  *

7. I analyze my musical skills to discover my weaknesses and strengths and allocate practice time towards eliminating the weak areas if they are standing in the way of me reaching my musical goals. *

8. I don't waste time practicing things that do not move me closer toward the attainment of my musical goals. *

9. I minimize all distractions when I practice, and I never have the TV on while practicing or practice with other people around (as much as possible). *

Section 2. Guitar technique
1. I don't sacrifice quality of playing for (an illusion of) speed. *

2. I am confident in my ability to learn to play anything I want. *

3. I understand the difference (and similarities) between alternate and directional picking. *

4. I make sure to use consistent fingering and picking on the passages I practice. *

5. I have strategies for improving the speed of my playing to any tempo I wish. *

6. I practice all technical exercises to a metronome and keep track of the tempo I am able to play a certain technique at, in order to keep track of my progress. *

7. I pay attention to muting the strings that are not supposed to be sounding, to make sure my playing is clean.  *

8. I am staying aware and always paying attention to the levels of tension in my hands, shoulders, face, legs, back and I always focus on using no more tension than necessary for playing. *

9. I record my playing regularly and critically listen for mistakes or imperfections to work on during future practice sessions.  *

10. I pay attention to my vibrato technique and do not underestimate its importance in the arsenal of lead guitar techniques. *

Section 3. Musical skills
1. I understand the importance of developing various musical skills, such as the fundamentals of music theory, ear training (also known as Aural skills) and improvisation. *

2. I allocate some time in my practice schedule to practicing aural skills (ear training) exercises. *

3. I know how to apply the music theory that I am learning to the music I play. *

4. I regularly practice improvising and soloing to develop my skills in this area. *

5. When I learn a new piece of information that I am not sure how to use or apply, I will ask my teacher to show me how this new knowledge or skill can be relevant to what I want to accomplish musically. *

Section 4. Additional Elements
1. I don't compare my musical skills to other musicians. *

2. I am able to sustain my motivation and desire to become a better musician. *

3. I seek out musicians who are better than me in order to learn as much as possible from them. *

4. I am constantly looking for new music to listen to, to find more artists that I like and can draw inspiration from. *

5. I surround myself with musicians who have similar tastes in music and aspirations similar to mine and play with them as much as possible. *

6. I have a plan for what I'm going to do with my skills once I am able to play at the level that I want. *

Please feel free to forward this assessment page to anyone you know who may need help with his/her guitar playing.
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