Are you sabotaging your progress on the guitar? I certainly have in the past and still do from time to time. Lately I’ve noticed a pattern in the video lessons with many of my students. They are generally drawn to more than one main area of focus. For example, they want to play lead guitar and fingerstyle. Two very different directions. They end up going back and forth working on both. Inevitably this leads to them not progressing much in any area. No man can serve two masters!
I’ve always been an advocate of being a well rounded musician but that only goes up to a certain point. It’s important to be balanced and learn all of the fundamentals when you are first starting out, but what happens when you get the basics down. I believe it’s very important to pick a single main direction and focus on that hardcore for an exetened period of time. That’s the way you get really good at something. Think about your favorite musicians (minus the super-hero freaks like Guthrie Govan, Monte Montgomery, and Andy Wood). They are probably very good at one specific style or vein of music. That’s because they got laser focused and worked on that style for a sustained period of time.
So do you have a single area of focus or are you kind of bouncing around not making much progress in any one style of playing? If you feel like you are bouncing around you need to do some soul searching and define what it is you want to accomplish on the guitar. Write down 2-3 main things that excite you. It could be the blues, fingerstyle, rock, metal, or sight reading. Once you do this you need to whittle this down to one thing to focus on for the next three months to start. Three months isn’t too big of a commitment but it’s enough time to see some good results. You will want to push things to six months to a year to see what you can really do.
I’m not saying that you can only ever practice the one thing that you’ve picked to dominate but I am saying that this one thing should be your primary focus over the next few months. You can always adjust your plan if you change your mind later. Pick that area of focus and then kill it for the next three months. Let me know how it goes at firstname.lastname@example.org and if you need help with anything you can always email me or schedule a private lesson here on the site.
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Need advice on strings, picks, and other guitar gear? Here is the gear used in this video.