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New Year's Resolutions for Guitar Players

Monday, January 03, 2011
First off, Happy New Year! For many of us, the new year brings a new beginning... motivation to begin whatever it is you have desired to start but haven't had the time, money, incentive, etc.  It marks the beginning of a change...for the better.  For happy new year 2011others, those who have sworn off new year's resolutions, it is just another day.

Whichever camp you fall into, January 2011 does mark a fresh start and beginning to a new year.  What better time to set a goal for yourself?  Studies in human behavior show that goals that have a defined beginning and ending have a better chance of success than those that don't.  What better beginning than the beginning of a new year?

As many of us are setting goals for 2011, I'd like to suggest some guitar-related goals for those of you who either want to learn or want to improve.

For those who want to learn to play guitar, now's the time.  Get going!  To help, here are a few, simple goals you can set for yourself:

1. Get a guitar! Holding YOUR guitar is a great first step and will motivate you to continue.  You can start simple by buying a beginner guitar from us here, visiting your local music store and ask for assistance, or shop online at a store like Musician's Friend.

2. Find an instructor/course. Naturally we'd recommend our Gibson's Learn & Master Guitar course.  The great thing with our course is that it is laid out in sessions.  You have goals given to you throughout the course that keep you moving forward.  However, there are plenty of great courses as well as wonderful instructors both online and offline.  A great online instructor I can recommend is JustinGuitar.com.  Ask some friends who play and do your own research to find the right fit for you.

3. Set a practice schedule. Have a goal of playing 15 minutes a day, or 1 hour every other day, or something that is scheduled into your week so you have a time slot.  If you don't make time for it, you won't do it.

For intermediate or advanced guitarist, there still goals that you can set that will help you improve.  Here are some:

1. Learn a new style. There are many 'styles' of guitar. Jazz, rock, fingerstyle, blues and classical just to name a few. Figure out which style you are drawn to by thinking about what kind of music you like to listen to.  If it is blues, we have a course that focuses on Blues Guitar.

2. Start a blog. If you are truly an expert, share your knowledge and skills with others.  Use a blogging platform like Blogger, Wordpress or our Student Blogs to start publishing information, songs and other guitar content.  Set a goal of posting once a week or more.

[caption id="attachment_441" align="alignright" width="242" caption="Photo of Student Support Forum member Jleo and his friends."]guitar jamming[/caption]

3. Play with/for others. There are plenty of ways to do this, including playing at gigs, play for your church, create a regular jam session (like the image on the right) with friends, or attending our Guitar Gathering to name a few.  Regardless, playing with and for others is a sure-fire way to improve your abilities and confidence.  Set a goal of playing XX number of times with others or schedule regular events throughout the year.

Finally, here are a few goals for a guitarist at any level:

1. Learn a new song each month. Pick out your favorites, use the songs in our course sessions or buy songbooks.  Learning and playing songs is a very fulfilling goal.

2. Learn to maintain and set-up your own guitar. Not only is guitar maintenance and set-up critical to optimal sound and performance, it is fun to do! We have a Guitar Set-Up and Maintenance course that will teach you what you need to know.  The course will pay for itself quickly as you won't need to pay anyone else to change strings, set-up your guitar or do minor adjustments.

3. Record Yourself. Using technology like YouTube for videos and Sound Cloud for audio, you can easily create recordings of yourself for sharing or playback.  It is a simple and effective way to improve and track your improvement.  Set a goal of creating a recording or video once a week.

I'd like to leave you with a few tips to make them more attainable.  First, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, make sure there is a beginning and an end.  Second, make the goal measurable.  Last, tell someone about your goal(s).  Human behavior studies have shown that if you verbally tell someone else your goals, you are more likely to accomplish them.

Alright, I've said enough.  Time for you to give us some goals.  Share your guitar-related new year's resolutions with us in the comments!  2011 will be a great year!

(photo courtesy of Jleo)
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