3 Guitar Playing Disciplines

I wanted to write this article purely to inspire others to play daily and to persist until you become who you want to be. My sincere hope for you is that this article inspires you to become more disciplined in your approach to guitar playing and realizing your potential. By following these 9 Guitar playing disciplines and keeping them in mind or on a word doc on your computer I think you will enjoy your passion much, much more.

Discipline is:

  • Controlled behavior resulting from disciplinary training; self-control.
  • A way of behaving that shows a willingness to obey rules or orders
  • Discipline comes from discipulus, the Latin word for pupil

Become a Pupil.

Clarity – Clarity is enormously powerful. Take lots of time to think and do it on paper. What do you want to be able to do and how do you go about getting there. Take out a piece of paper right now and write down what is most important to you. Songwriting? Composing? Improvising? Rhythm Guitar? Speed? Vibrato?

For example:

If you want to write great rhythm parts:

  • Study a rhythm book.
  • Study Harmony
  • Become familiar with different meters
  • Master your strumming
  • Listen to your favorite players.

If you want to Solo and Improvise:

  • Work your Scales
  • Work your Arpeggios and their inversions
  • Figure out your Chord Tones
  • Practice Bends in Isolation then together with a riff or a lick
  • Practice Vibrato as much as you can to tempo and on every note of a scale in isolation, then integrate it together with a lick or a riff of yours.
  • Learn some solos.

Lets get started:

1. Be Clear 

Don’t spend another minute on the internet looking up other genres if you like hard rock. Its cool and good to know about other genres and learn a few things but not if its taking away from your progress in the genre you like.

If you’re a multi genre type of player, its different for you but if you want to excel in one genre and be really good at it then focus on what you want.

Stop watching everything that is unrelated to your goals. Theres so much stuff that you can learn that you get bogged down with; so much information that it can lead you in the wrong direction without you even realizing it.

Zero in on what you want. Stay focused.

And as Zakk Wylde would say..”Use it or lose it bro!” If you don’t use it in a song or a piece of music you’re not gonna fully grasp what you just learned.

2. Set Goals Daily

Even if you don’t get to them or hit them, the simple fact of getting used to writing them down your goals will propel you to having better practicing sessions.

You are much more likely to get something done that you wrote down than if you didn’t write it down.

You can set them for the whole week on Sunday night.

Random thoughts that pass through your head never get done.

I like to think of my daily guitar goals like my to do list, only its fun. I enjoy writing down what I’m gonna work on. Its exciting and inspiring at the same time. For example – If one of my goals would be to master a scale all over the neck, I would write the name of the scale and immediately get to work on it starting from every root all over the neck.

Goals will be different for everyone but I know exactly what it means for me and you should too. I already know what my to do list is without writing it down sometimes because I’m so used to writing it down.

Once you get to this stage you’ll find yourself doing things without even thinking about them. If this happens to you, you’ll see that writing things down is a phenomenon in itself. It solidifies it in your head. And you’ll never want to go back to your old way of doing things.

 

3. Manage Your Time

Managing Your Time – Write down your practice schedule and get it done. Schedule it. Put it in your calendar and set it up so that you get a reminder.

Write it down somewhere you know you’re gonna see it again. Somewhere where you can clearly see it.

What monkey doesn’t see, monkey doesn’t do.

Set up a specific time. Even if you don’t get to it on time. You are more likely to do it than if you never scheduled it.

Sometimes I schedule 3 or 4 practice sessions in a day. I might not get to all of them but I sure as hell will pick up my guitar that day and practice for a much longer amount of time than if I hadn’t scheduled it. Try it, you’ll see it will be the same for you.

See, it’s like the gym, not my favorite place to go especially when I wanna rip through some scales or arpeggios, but I find myself going to the gym much more often now that I put it in my schedule. I used to be completely opposite, I would never schedule anything and things wouldn’t get done for days, even weeks and sometimes not at all. Then that day comes where you feel like total shit because you haven’t practiced. Don’t get there.

Maybe your guitar goals are buried somewhere on your desktop or somewhere beneath a bunch of papers or under a few books that you haven’t read in a week or two.

Put it out in front of you. Write on this list ALL the things you want to master.

A master list. Then, daily, write out what you need to work on, and get to it, right away. Don’t wait, or it’ll never happen.

I like to use my “5 Minutes of Fury” – always works, always ends up being way more than 5 minutes and I’m talking well into hours of practice just because I sat down and picked it up. (aka the hardest part of practicing).

Once you sit down you will feel this sense of joy come over you.

 

Practice Books

I love using these little practice books that I buy for a dollar from Sam Ash Music or a local music store down here in Miami called Allegro Music Center.

At Sam Ash they’re called “Practice Record.”

Its a 99 cent booklet that has 32 weeks of lesson assignment pages in which you write your practice for the whole day or even the whole week. The booklet is about the size of your hand and can even fit in your pocket.

It also has a grand staff on each page where you can practice your sight reading, composing, 4 part writing, chord reading, sometimes I use it for tab as well. On the right hand side it lists Monday – Sunday with a line under that says “Total,” so you can tally up the time you spent practicing that entire week. Its very inspiring to see that you put in 10-15 hours in a week and know exactly what you did.

 

I hope this article has made you want to become more disciplined in your guitar playing. Drop me an email and say hello. I answer all emails.

Til next time’