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New Year's Resolutions for Advancing Guitar Players

New Year's Resolutions for Advancing Guitarists

 This is the perfect time to make a resolution to be a better player in 2023! 
Here are 23 great ideas to help you accomplish that goal.

See Rich's Youtube video explaining these ideas at https://youtu.be/-_w0E6Za2Lg

You may have already read these but it's a great refresher & we add a new one each New Year. 

Print them and post on your fridge, or in your office, studio or practice area and refer to it often.

  1.    Get involved with other GC students  Join my Live Stream Chat Thursdays at 11am PST on my Youtube channel.  I play a few tunes, answer your questions and welcome your discussions posted during the broadcast. Join in, say Hi, tell me your name and where you’re from! If you miss it, you can still watch the entire stream on Youtube channel www.YouTube.com/GuitarCollege4u.
  2.   Find the right material for what you want to learn.  If you want to be a jazz player learning blues and rock licks won’t help you reach that goal.  And no one ever progressed by playing the same old licks everyday for years.  Stay focused on the path to be the player you want to be. 
  3.   Track your practice The quickest way to advance is to be very methodical about your practice.  A good way to do this is to log your practice daily and plan for the next practice so you’re ready to proceed with your plan when you sit down tomorrow.   You’ll avoid distractions and stay focused with this method. Here is a planner that Rich uses.  You can make changes to suit your needs. https://guitarcollegelibrary.com/programs/guitar-college-library-resourses-97c77f
  4.   Make a commitment to improve this year!     Sign up for a course like our JGI, Jazz Guitar Improv course and make a commit to get er done!  You will definitely see big improvements. Get it at https://jazz-guitar-improv.teachable.com/
  5.   Get Band In A Box  This valuable computer program is an excellent tool that makes learning fun.  Develop song tracks to practice melody, chord comping and improv. Loop problem areas, slow down the speed change styles, change keys, it’s like have your own band to give you that real playing experience.  Get it at https://www.guitarcollege.net/BIABPRODVD.html
  6.   Practice more Winter is here, the days are short and the nights are long.  Now is the perfect time of the year to get away from the TV and spend some extra time improving your playing.   
  7.   Take private lessons Lessons make you accountable to practice and motivated to improve.  It’s always good to have a qualified teacher watch and hear you play and trouble shoot your playing.  Try to have a regular lesson schedule. For more information about Skype lessons go to http://www.guitarcollege.net/1on1lessons.html
  8.   Play for someoneWhen you learn a new song or lick, play it for your family or friends.  They’re usually your biggest fans and enjoy hearing you play. They’ll typically offer encouragement to boost your confidence.
  9.   Attend a workshop or conference  Our workshop alumni come back over and over again.  Not only is it a fun and affordable vacation but it keeps them motivated to improve.  Sharing ideas and insights with other students is also very helpful.   We hold an annual jazz  workshop in Yosemite people come from all around the world to this natural wonder http://www.guitarcollege.net/workshop.htm
  10. Get a gig--Even if it’s for free, start somewhere!  You can find open mic nights or jams sessions at local coffee houses, restaurants, book stores, bars or libraries.   Consider doing special music at your church or entertaining at a hospital, senior home or a school.   If you prefer to perform with others, often your community center or local college will have a band you can join.
  11. Get a music buddy, group or band--Playing alone all the time can get lonely and boring. Playing with others makes is fun and you’re accountable to someone else.  Start a guitar club at your church or in your community.  Skype or Zoom with musician friends if you can’t get together in person now. Join our Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/GuitarCollegeLibrary
  12. Practice something newLearn something that you’ve always wanted to learn.  Most players practice the same old licks, solos and songs for years and wonder why they haven’t improved.   Find some learning material compatible with both your musical taste and skill level at https://guitarcollegelibrary.com/
  13. Teach, share what you know--There is no better way to learn than to teach.  Share your knowledge with others and it will motivate you to learn more, just stay one step ahead your students.  You can even make some extra cash or be a positive, constructive influence in someone else’s life.
  14. Buy a new guitar or amp-- Nothing makes you more motivated to play than a new guitar.  Maybe you can sell some of the old guitars in the closet and get a new one.  Be sure it is set up properly so it’s easy to play.  Rich sells guitars and Quilter amps.  Check them out at  https://www.guitarcollege.net/home.html
  15. Go see a live performance--Seeing someone playing in person in a style you like is very stimulating.  Watch a good local performer or a pro performing in your area, that you admire.  Sit up close and take it all in.  You can watch many live performances online.  Watch some of Rich’s Youtube live performance videos at https://youtu.be/HKjvvzmhb1I.
  16. Record yourself-- Recording yourself is like looking in the mirror, the recorder doesn’t lie.  You will hear exactly where you need to improve. Beware, it can also be discouraging at first so guard your ego and attitude.  Recording yourself is also a great way to chart your progress, go back and listen to earlier recordings and hear how far you’ve come. 
  17. Listen to lots of different players--When you want to learn a new song, do some research and listen to how your favorite players interrupt it to inspire your creative ideas
  18. Practice daily-- Pick up your guitar and play some scales and exercises daily.  Even while you watch TV play your guitar, you can maintain finger memory and improve your skill.   Find 10 ways to practice more efficiently http://www.guitarcollege.net/20minutes.html
  19. Take a music classYou can find classes in your area at local music stores, colleges, adult education, or you can go online if necessary.  Learn more about music.  It can be a guitar, theory, piano, music ensemble, jazz, music appreciation or whatever else is available. It’s also a great way to meet other local musicians.
  20. Subscribe to a music magazineThere are so many music magazines you can find one that suits your musical tastes.  It’s inspiring to read about musicians, learn a new lick or song and see all the new gear.  Many magazines even offer free online editions, check their websites for details.
  21. Attend a guitar show—Guitar shows are held are yearlong all around the country.  This is a great opportunity to see and hear all the different new and used guitars you might be interested in.  Often you can bring your old guitars and gear and sell them or trade them in.  Our favorite shows are the 4 Amigos Guitar Shows www.texasguitarshows.com
  22. Host a monthly jam session at your home--  Invite local guitar and bass players that you knows or have met when you hear them playing around town. Have it on an off night, like Tuesday, which is usually a free night for most musicians. For the price of some refreshments you can jam with some of the best players in town.
  23. Stick to something long enough to see if it will help you--  If it’s a daily routine it takes about 21 days to form a habit. If it’s a weekly activity about 3 months.  Whatever it is after that time you will see if it makes a difference in your playing and if you enjoy it.  Chances are good if you don’t like doing it you won’t stick to it so be creative and find something you like to do to improve your playing. 

You know best what motivates you so choose an idea or two or ten and make the New Year one to make strides in your playing.

Keep Pickin’,
Rich and Gail Severson

See us at
Guitar College Yosemite Jazz Workshops

Contact us at
Ph. 805-460-6370