What Should I Focus On When Learning Guitar? There’s a constant debate about the best way of learning the guitar. The question here is, “What’s the best method: Learn the techniques or learn the songs?” It’s a question that aspiring guitarists have to answer before picking up the guitar for yet another practice session.
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Our answer to the said question: Focus more on learning the techniques! You may be able to play a few songs by your favorite artists, but you may feel like you’ve hit a wall. You realize that you have little to no understanding of principles and practices that make for a good guitarist.
Consequences Of The Absence Of Technical Knowledge
Many self-taught guitarists choose songs based on what they want to learn when they want to learn them and how they want to learn them. A result is a non-systematic approach to learning the guitar that, in turn, creates ineffective practice and play patterns. There’s the risk that these patterns cannot be broken so easily, resulting in less than stellar performances despite the potential.
While it may seem like a chore, learning the guitar techniques is a vital building block in mastering the instrument. Yes, the technical material that comes from reading books like Complete Technique for Modern Guitar and Legato Guitar Technique Mastery can be complicated. But understanding them is a must for your progression from a clueless person to a master guitarist.
With technical training, you can learn to read notes on sheet music, play complicated passages, and perform without getting cramped hands, among others. You won’t be limited to just a few songs or a single genre, so your repertoire increases with every technique learned.
But it doesn’t mean that you should only be playing technical material, far from it. You will get bored if you play many arpeggios, scales, and etudes, perhaps even stop playing guitar. You should also play just for your enjoyment, but now you have the techniques to play better.
Techniques That Should Be Covered
Keep in mind that the guitar is a polyphonic instrument. As such, the basic techniques that should be covered are scales, chords, and arpeggios. These will initially seem daunting at first and then boring when you’ve done them countless times, but keep at it.
Scales are the building blocks of music, particularly its melody. You can start with the pentatonic scale, a five-note scale, which will form the foundation for your chords.
Chords are a combination of notes. You should learn them, too, because many songs share either the same or similar chord progressions but they are completely different songs. You will be able to learn specific songs faster when you know the chords and their progressions.
Arpeggios are also chords, but these require specialized skills. Your left hand is playing the single notes while your right hand is strumming the chords. You’re building your technique while making music.
You may also be instructed to practice etudes, which are musical compositions made with the primary purpose of developing your playing technique. In an etude, your right hand may be playing the same arpeggio pattern, a great way to build muscle memory, too.
In conclusion, you can either read books about it or enroll in a guitar school, or better yet, do both, when you’re learning the guitar. Your focus on these aspects will not only build your technical skills but also increase your appreciation for music.