The most important thing you need to do to practice the guitar correctly is to focus.
When I was a beginner, I used to spend countless of hours practicing, but most of the time, I was just noodling aimlessly on the fretboard, or playing songs I already knew (without focusing on anything specific that could be improved in those songs).
If I practiced for 20 hours during a particular week, I expected to get 20 hours worth of improvement.
Later on, thanks to better teachers, I discovered that if out of those 20 hours, if only 5 were deliberate focused practice, I was only improving during those 5 hours, not the entire 20.
Before every practice session set a specific goal (no matter how small) and focus all your attention on achieving it.
If you find that achieving that goal is too hard, you can divide that goal in smaller sub goals and work on them individually.
Also keep in mind that you can make anything you practice on the guiat easier by decreasing the tempo.
2 – The right things
There’s a lot of amazing stuff on the Internet for you to learn the guitar. Most of it is free.
We live in an age where any piece of information we want can be accessed within seconds.
Which is great. We should consider ourselves lucky for this.
However with this comes the tempatation to start consuming a lot of information without any sense of a plan, hoping that one day everything will tie together and make sense.
It’s possible that this day arrives if you do this, but it’s the hard way to achieve your goals.
Set long, mid and short term goals and make sure everything you do is in line with achieving those goals.
Note: Set goals, but don’t set timelines. Don’t tell yourself “I want to be able to play like Jimmy Page in five years”. You don’t know what there is to know to be able to play like Jimmy Page, and you can’t possibly make any realistic calculations.
Short term deadlines, such as “I want to finish learning this song by the end of the month” are cool, but anything long term, can only be a wild guess.
3 – In the right order
Learning to play fast legato runs may be in line with your goals, but if you’re still finding a single pull off hard to execute, the only thing attempting to practice fast legato runs will give you is discouragement.
In a year or two, fast legato runs may be a challenge to execute, but within your reach.
But if you do it with your present level of abilities, they’re impossible.
Before learning a new thing, always make sure there aren’t any steps leading to it that you’re missing.
If you skip those steps, it will be harder and it will take you longer to achieve your goals.
Conclusion: It’s as hard as you make it.
Worldwide, there are millions of people who started learning the guitar and quit after a few months because they found it too hard.
This is usually due to one of these reasons:
Their expectations were wrong. They thought you can become a good guitarist in a few months, and when that didn’t happen they gave up.
They did give it enough time, but since they were doing one or more of the things mentioned in this article wrong, they came to believe that seeing the results they wanted was too hard or impossible.
Learning the guitar is an enjoyable experience that gives a lot of short termbenefits while you’re working on your long term goals.
But it can be very frustrating if you don’t go about it the right way.
Robert Callus is a guitar player, teacher, songwriter and blogger from Malta. Find more articles like this on www.learnguitarmalta.com