I’ve just reached the consolidation phase of Beginner Level 2 and I’m trying to figure out the best path for the next step in my guitar journey. I’ve found what I really enjoy is anything bluesy, and improving with backing tracks. My thinking is to focus on that for a while. With that in mind, I’ve put together this practice routine.
I’d love any feedback on it, if there is anything I could trim out, or anything I’m missing.
My primary goals at the moment are to get better at blue improv, and also focus on learning songs I can play with my sister (she’s in a band - more pop stuff and crowd pleasers which I’m happy to play too).
I’m trying to do this by focusing on a couple of things. First is learning things that will help with when I’m jamming over blues tracks on my own. Second is playing songs while my sister does the vocals. I want to learn a new song every two to three weeks I can record and post up here for feedback.
What I’ve done has mostly been in a bubble so far, so I’m very keen on hearing what more experienced guitar players think about my current path and plan.
It looks ok to me but I don’t think that active song listen belongs in a practice list especially if there’s only 4 mins of it. I listen to music most of the day on and off, when I want to learn a specific piece I target that piece usually from live and studio performances; it’s also good to listen to covers also for ideas to make it your own rather than just a direct copy!
I’d say this is the area to concentrate on. At level 2 consolidation you’ve got a lot of skills under your belt. It’s time to make sure they work!
Hello all, just coming here to let go of a bit of frustration. I have been in consolidation for five months now, I practice every day (mainly songs that let me practice different techniques) and I am still terrible. Better than I was, but terrible. 17 months of daily practice and I can’t get through a song without messing up, forgetting the next chord, fumbling a chord change, forgetting the words or missing the strings. Everyone on the AVOYP is so good! I don’t intend stopping though, just letting off steam.
Hey Kim, I’m sure you know this, but it’s important not to compare yourself with others as everybody is different. That being said, have you tried posting in the AVOYP section to get some feedback? You may find that others have some insight or advice on your playing that may be helpful. There’s even a beginner safe space thread if the general AVOYP section is too intimidating.
Glad you don’t intend to stop. Keep pushing through!
Some of that sounds like you’re trying to play from memory.
Although I can play some songs from memory, and can remember a fair few lyrics, I nearly always have the song either on paper, or on a screen in front of me.
Don’t make things harder for yourself than you need to.
And if you do fumble a chord, don’t stop strumming, just keep going and do your best to fix the fumble.
@mc thank you, that’s a very good point and what’s great about this community is that your comment switched on a lightbulb for me.
One of my consolidation goals was to learn a repertoire of songs which allow me to try different thins including lyrics from memory. I am spent a lot of time on this goal, only doing stuff from paper to fill in my learning gaps (power chords, I’m looking at you). I set myself a hard goal! I will have a go at my repertoire with the music in front of me and see how that goes.
It takes a lot of effort to fully memorise a song.
The ones I have memorised, have very simple chord progressions, but I’m not sure I even know 100% of the lyrics for any song. At best, I probably only know a few verses and the choruses.
It is something that I found gradually improves, but at the level you’re at, I would not be concerned about having to still need the chords and lyrics in front of you. Some people do just have the memory for this kind of thing.
If you do want to work towards fully memorising a song, I split it in to two distinct things. The chord sequence, and the lyrics.
I start with the actual playing of the song. Most songs can be broken down into patterns/sequences. Once you know those, work on remembering them, and playing the full song.
The lyrics, I work on separately. I have been known to have a couple print outs of lyrics in different places (on my desk at work/tucked behind the sun visor in the car), and I work on remembering them whenever I’ve got time. Using the printouts to jog my memory, but not not looking at them all the time. And then there is the listening to the song a lot, and trying to remember the lyrics to sing along with it, without any mistakes.
Hi Kim, lots of good advice already.
If you’re playing lots of songs to learn different skills across the board then that’s good, but just remember that playing and singing is a specific skill in itself and a tough one!
To practice this particular skill I tend to start with really familiar songs, ones I’ve sung along to the radio for years. Even then it’s no mean feat, but stick with it, it does get easier. Once you have gone through the process a few times you will ‘learn how to learn’
Most of the other open mic guys and girls I see, perform while reading cue sheets - so there is maybe something in that too.
Kim, you are completely normal at 17 months in. I had all the same problems that you mention until sometime around 26 months in, practicing 30-40 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
Then, suddenly, all the repetition, focused practice, and tenacity started to pay off. Everything started to come together. My chord changes quickly became effortless; my strumming became almost automatic; my string muting went from horrible to pretty solid. Within 2 months, I went from feeling like guitar playing would always be a struggle, to being able to pick up the guitar and just start playing.
I’m sure this will happen for you as well.