Practicing Playing Guitar

By Anthony Bierman
In Apr 1, 2014
Practicing Playing Guitar

Practicing Playing Guitar

I have been playing guitar for roughly eight years at this point and through the years I find the key to getting better on the instrument is to keep motivating yourself to practice playing guitar as much as possible daily!

It’s quite easy to get discouraged, not only with guitar but in any aspect of life, when you don’t see progress. The very first thing you must remember is the age old saying “Rome was not built in a day”. The only way you will progress is if you keep at it!

Listening to music as motivation

This is for me one of the most important ways to get the kick you need to pick up your guitar; listening to music that inspires you to want to play music is pivotal.

Find new music to listen to from varied genres

If I had one CD in my whole life and I listened to it every day I would get bored beyond belief. Everyone has favourite artists and yes, some albums are timeless, but you will stagnate if you only listen to a handful of artists. A great way to keep motivating yourself to play guitar is to be motivated by hearing music. Try and force yourself to discover new artists, use YouTube or Google to search for new music. Try and step out of your style and find music in a genre you don’t normally listen to that you enjoy. Not only will this enrich your life and broaden your musical awareness/taste, but it will motivate you as you hear new things that excite you!

Find inspirational guitar players

Every guitar player has their favourite set of guitar players. It does help to have a few guitar players that you look up to so to speak. It doesn’t have to be the most technical guys, it can be songwriters who just strum chords in a way that speaks to you! However, as mentioned above, try to search out of your ‘usual suspects’ and find new inspiration too.

Realise the different facets of musicians

Sometimes people get de-motivated as they see musicians who can achieve all sorts of technical wonders that they feel they won’t be able to reach. Sometimes extreme technical prowress may not be for you! There are all sorts of guitarists, from the less advanced to the more advanced. Oftentimes musicians have a product: you may not be the fastest shredder but you could write an easy strummer that represents you more than what the fastest or most in-depth solo ever could.

On the other hand, you could feel that you are best represented by technical prowress. Kurt Cobain was not the most advanced guitar player but his music is still loved by many. Robert Johnson was not as advanced a virtuoso as say, Stevie Ray Vaughan, yet he is not seen as any less of a musician than Stevie. Robert Johnson’s songs are in fact loved and covered by thousands of blues and rock players, many of whom have a greater technical ability than him! Yet he is not seen as any less of a musician for it, in fact it’s quite the contrary as musicians continually fish to cover his songs!


I cannot tell you how many cool guitar shows I have seen on YouTube. If you’re feeling de-motivated, search YouTube for guitarists/bands and you will find all sorts of fun and exciting videos that just may re-ignite your excitement for your instrument.

For example, as a guitarist I’m moving into solo performances, writing arrangements of songs and my own compositions that I’m building to perform solo. I found a very motivational TED Talks episode by guitarist Tommy Emmanuel that really helped motivate me: click here.

However, this brings me to my final point and the conclusion of this blog. My motivation, as mentioned above, will not necessarily be the same as your motivation! You need to learn to motivate yourself and find the music, styles, guitar players and reasons that motivate you. This ultimately helps you practicing playing guitar.

A Good Music Teacher

A good teacher will help motivate you in ways that you cannot imagine. Not only does he give live feedback in real time but also helps demonstrate things to you and ask any of your questions. You can have guitar lessons at home, online or video. Video lessons will provide a good systematic approach with various teachers that can also motivate yourself rather than the same teacher every week.  You just need to find which method is best suited for yourself as an individual and your budget.

Profile photo of Anthony Bierman

* Completed an honours degree in music at University of Pretoria * Currently performs in a guitar and piano duet * Played guitar Hero and nailed it first time * He is a jazz specialist * Has a wealth of knowledge in music theory * Was taught by the world famous Jonathan Crossley * Has 2 years teaching experience

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