Since learning guitar is a long term endeavor, it can become daunting if you feel like you are not progressing. Maybe you are unsure if you are progressing or it feels slow. Everyone goes through this and not just once. It happens a lot and as you become more experienced it is not any less likely to happen. So how can you tell if you are really making progress on the guitar?
Get An Excellent Teacher
I just want to get right to this. If you have a highly qualified guitar teacher who has been trained in how to teach guitar you should be good to go. A great teacher will track your progress, give regular feedback, and guide you to new milestones.
Of course this requires your participation and continual practice. Your teacher should be able to let you know when and where you made progress in your playing. The best part about this is that it requires less work on your part compared to other options.
In addition to having a teacher, you should track your progress. This isn’t a replacement for a teacher, but should be done in addition to having a teacher.
First you have to determine what you are trying to do. Speed is an easy one to track with a metronome. It will let you know if you are progressing or not. It will not solve any issues for you. It will help clarify where issues may be and if you have plateaued. If you are not tracking you may have plateaued and not realized it.
When tracking make sure to write down you current level at what you are tracking. Additionally write down the date. Next you will want to schedule in your calendar the frequency you will track. Once a week is fine. You can of course do it more frequently, but hold off on writing it down for at least a week.
Next up is accuracy. This includes rhythmic accuracy. Is what you are playing being played at the right time. It is also how clean you are playing something. Are strings ringing out in which shouldn’t be? Are there gaps between notes when there shouldn’t be? Are notes ringing out over other notes when they shouldn’t be?
As you can imagine, tracking accuracy can be difficult. Having a teacher help with this is invaluable.
Recording what you are doing will enable you to listen back objectively. When you executing the piece on guitar, it is very hard to hear and track mentally everything that is happening, while it is happening. It can be done, but it is a challenge and it is very easy to miss things.
By having an audio recording you can listen back as many times as you’d like to find where the problem notes are or what inaccuracies are buried within your playing.
If you do video recording (with audio of course), you can watch your hands as well to see what is physically going on or not going on. This can be very revealing as most guitar players don’t pay any attention to this.
Again, it is good to put a date on the recorded file so that you can compare it for objective progress.
There is much more to tracking your progress, but this is as deep as an article is meant to dive. Tracking anything is better than not tracking at all and this will get you started and give you quite a bit to work on if are tracking multiple things.
About The Author: Ryan Duke is a professional musician, songwriter, and owner of Supertonic Guitar providing the best guitar lessons in Franklin.