5 Guitar Playing Challenges You Struggle With When You Don’t Track Your Musical Progress
by Tom Hess
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Guitarists who do not track their progress usually struggle with several common challenges in their playing. These obstacles make your progress slower and keep you frustrated.
Guitar playing challenges caused by not tracking your progress include:
Challenge #1: Long Plateaus In Your Maximum Guitar Speed
Your maximum speed is a byproduct of mastering many elements of guitar technique and integrating them together.
These elements include: 2-hand synchronization, accuracy, consistency, picking hand articulation, cleanliness of playing and integration of guitar techniques.
Improving these guitar technique nuances closes the gap between your theoretical top speed and your real-life guitar speed.
This video shows how training your 2-hand synchronization helps you play guitar faster and cleaner:
Guitarists who don’t track their progress are usually unaware of what to focus on to master guitar speed. Most only measure how fast they can play to a metronome and hope that more practice will make their speed go up. This keeps you stuck at a long (and unnecessary) plateau.
Solution: focus strategically on mastering the core elements of guitar technique and track your progress with them.
This guitar speed report shows how quickly your technique improves when you start tracking your progress.
Challenge #2: Sloppy Guitar Playing
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- Poor articulation of the notes you want to hear (such as some notes being louder than others or your hands getting out of sync).
- Noise from the notes you don’t want to hear (such as open string noise and notes bleeding together).
Tracking your progress tells you which elements cause your guitar playing to sound sloppy. This helps you to clean up your technique at faster speeds. Guitarists who don’t track their progress only hear the result of the problem (sloppy playing), but cannot identify its causes.
Challenge #3: Not Knowing What To Focus On When You Practice Guitar
Effective guitar practice is only possible when you know:
- What your musical strengths and weaknesses are.
- Which weaknesses you must eliminate to reach your musical goals.
- How to improve the weak areas quickly and efficiently.
Tracking your progress tells you what skills hold you back from your goals as a guitarist. This allows you to focus your guitar practice on areas that improve your playing most quickly.
Guitarists who don’t track their progress rely on assumptions and guesswork…and make slower progress as a result.
Challenge #4: Lack Of Guitar Playing Consistency
Consistency of your guitar playing is your ability to play near your maximum potential after warming up. Guitar playing consistency is a trainable skill. You can practice it, improve it and track progress with it. Guitarists who track consistency of their playing are able to play guitar at or near their best, even on their worst days. Those who don’t, play great one day and play like total crap the next day.
Question: “Tom Hess, how do I track consistency of my guitar playing?”
Step 1: Set a consistency goal with any exercise you practice on guitar. For example: you may want to play an exercise 7 times in a row without making mistakes at 150 beats per minute on the metronome.
Step 2: Determine where your level of consistency currently is. For example: you may only be able to play your exercise 7 times in a row at 110 beats per minute.
Step 3: Use effective guitar practice strategies that train your consistency and help you close the gap between 110 and 150 beats per minute. (An expert guitar teacher helps you do this.).
Track your progress through the process of closing the consistency gap.
The Guitar Playing Accelerator is the best tool to use for tracking your musical progress.
Challenge #5: Lack Of Musical Creativity
Musical creativity is a result of mastering skills that make it possible for you to be creative. These skills include:
- Music theory – understanding of how to create specific emotions in music.
- Fretboard visualization – ability to visualize any scale or arpeggio all over the guitar fretboard.
- Ear training – ability to hear music in your head and find the notes on your guitar.
- Guitar phrasing – ability to play the notes of your guitar licks and solos in the most expressive way possible.
Note: mastering these skills occurs on 2 levels:
Level 1: Mastering a topic or skill in isolation.
Level 2: Applying the skills to music and integrating them together.
Both levels of mastery need to be worked on simultaneously. You can begin applying and integrating a skill long before it is fully mastered in isolation.
Tracking progress with creativity tells you what elements of music you have yet to master to become a truly expressive musician.
Question: “But Tom Hess, isn’t creativity determined by one’s level of natural talent?”
Answer: Absolutely not. Creativity can be learned and taught by anyone. That said, guitar players who don’t track their progress often struggle to express themselves with their music. This happens because their musical skills aren’t sufficiently mastered or not integrated together well enough.
Solution: make time for tracking your musical progress every single week. Effective tracking doesn't take a lot of time and makes your guitar practice feel like a game. The more fun you have practicing guitar, the more you enjoy the process of reaching your musical goals.
This guitar speed report shows how quickly your guitar speed improves when you start tracking your progress.
Learn how to accelerate your progress on guitar.
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