Logging your progress in a guitar journal can be a great way to help you be more creative with your music. Throughout these lessons, I provide a template for you to print out and use with some questions that pertain to the lesson. Hopefully they are worth your while.
Logging your guitar progre is useful if you dedicate some time to it. If you don’t like writing may get some getting used to. But think of it as an organizational tool, a reference point for improving your guitar playing, a way to expand your ideas when playing guitar, and a “LAZY” preventer.
Topics to help improve guitar playing:
- critique of an aspect of your playing
- observation of an aspect of your playing
- comparison of your progress between 2 defined periods of time
- exploration for expanding your style
- idea generation
- refining a composition
- refining a technique
- re-clarification of goals
Advice to get better at guitar
In the educational realm, we teachers love to use the word positive reinforcement. Sure it has its place with building confidence and whatnot. But come on, we’re here to get better at guitar and to be honest with ourselves, right? If we don’t play something right, we don’t play it right. Don’t pat yourself on the back and settle for, “yeah I can pull it off if I need to.” That’s crap (pardon the expression). Play it to play it like it’s meant to be played and critique it like you were Segovia. Get better! You have to be honest with yourself before you can do that. Make a decision and move on it (and move on):
Keep in Mind
- Be positive but focus on the weakness.
- Even if you’re guitar logging for observation, decide in your writing what to do with that observation. Otherwise you’re wasting your time. Do something based on that decision next practice.
- Figure out how to fix the problem then do it.
- Always strive for forward progress.
- Remember, critiquing is not criticism. It is constructive and it should be based on objectives.
- Log your strengths and your weaknesses.
State what the problem is and how it should be. Then decide the best course of action to get it to where it should be.
- For example:
- My music tends to sound the same. I like melodic stuff but when I try to incorporate syncopation and rhythm into the songs they just don’t sound the way I want them to.
- Possible solutions:
- Practice keeping beat with a metronome. Then move on to more difficult rhythms and timings. Decide the tempo, rhythm before I start playing.
- Decide the melody in my head before I try to play it.
- Attempt and see where my weaknesses still lie.
Important points on logging your guitar playing
Through your journaling figure out how you learn.
Do you learn holistically? I mean do you learn better by figuring out a song and then using those techniques in other parts of your own writing and playing? Can you take those techniques and apply them in a different way?
Or do you learn sequentially? Do you have to have guided steps that take you through a process until you arrive at your objective?
You should ask and answer these questions if you are serious about getting better at playing guitar or just getting better at anything really.
Journaling doesn’t have to always be critical either. It can be reflective or prognostic. You can reflect on change your guitar goals based on new directions with your guitar. Your goals may change, ya know?
Journal so that you know where you are heading with your playing.
Within your guitar journal you should try the following approaches:
- Creating new ideas
- Planning courses of action and strategy for practicing, imagining (mental imagery can be very useful), or formulating approaches
- Judging where you stand in your playing, evaluating what the issues are, comparing your playing to your goals or others.