Guitar Practice Methods For Smartphone Users
...how to maximize your efficiency by using your smartphone
Most people believe in the wrong assumption that in order to learn a musical instrument properly, you have to sit down in a quiet room and practice there for hours every day. Only if you do so, you have a chance to bring your musical skills to a high-end level.
With that in mind it seems like an impossible task to learn to play guitar really well if you have a job, a family to care for, kids, friends, you build a house or you’ve got other hobbies plus all the further things that come along to prevent you from practicing your instrument. The least of us have the possibility to practice for five hours every day. Thats normal, thats perfectly fine, everybody has to face these issues BUT its absolutely no reason to say:
„I will never be able to play at an advanced level because I can’t spend so many hours with practicing every day!“.
Here is the good news:
You don’t have to practice that much with your instrument in hand in order to make serious musical progress! There are tools, methods, strategies and approaches that either make your time with the instrument more effective or that help you make as much use as possible with the rest of your time. And the best thing is: Its no rocket science and really everybody can learn about it and use it to make massive guitar gainz!
I would never tell you that you can learn to play guitar without even touching the instrument on a regular basis. Of course you do need to sit down and practice regularly and consistently in order to see results - there is absolutely no doubt about it.
You never get something for nothing ... Never ever! ... period!
Here is what you can do!
I want to share with you the knowledge of a tool that will greatly help you to make use of your time if you…
• Have a full schedule
• Are in holidays and unable to take your instrument with you
• Are injured and can’t practice the instrument physically
• Want to add additional practice time to your daily life
Nowadays almost everybody has a smartphone. We carry it with us everyday and everywhere. We sleep next to it. We work next to it. We train with it. We have it in our hands when we drive a car (which I would not recommend to you for the sake of your own health! Nevertheless many people use it while driving), when we wait for the bus or the train, at lunch, at breakfast, at dinner, on the toilet, before we go to sleep and after we wake up… it is present in every area of our life.
The sad thing is that although we spend a lot of time with this device, almost no-one uses it effectively to get great benefit out of it. We exchange trivialities on Whatsapp, we check out photos on Instagram and Facebook and we play videogames although we could spend our time way more effectively with things that could really help us become the person we truly desire to be!
In order to progress with our instrument we have to work on many many different areas of our musicality. This is a huge task and a lifelong journey which sometimes can be overwhelming and frustrating as well.
The good thing is that we can spend a lot of time practicing without even touching the instrument and this is where tools such as our smartphone enter the game! Making music and playing an instrument is to a very high percentage rather a mental than a physical thing. Everything you do with your hands is controlled by impulses coming from your brain. Therefore it is the brain we need to train and practice if we want to achieve the next level.
There are many things that will translate directly into your guitar playing ability which can be practiced mentally by use of our mobile phones. I will share with you the most helpful areas that help me personally on a day to day basis to progress with my own guitar playing:
• Rhythm There are lots of apps that help you to read and play rhythms. What I found to be very helpful is that some apps also track and correct your rhythmic accuracy (which is how exactly your rhythm hits the beat on a micro timing level). You get huge benefit from practicing such exercises on a regular basis and there is a direct transfer into your guitar playing skills!
• Sight reading If you want to be able to read notation you have to learn how to sight read notes.
There are countless apps which help you to practice doing so.
• Fretboard visualisation Every advanced guitar player knows the notes on the fretboard - no exception. Whether you aspire to write your own music, improvise great lead guitar solos, find different chord voicings on the fly, transpose music or better understand what your idols are doing, you need to get this down! And there are countless apps that help you internalise this.
• Music Theory Many apps will help you to better understand and practice music theory in areas such as keys, the circle of fifths, chord, scale and mode theory and many other areas. You can save a lot of time when you deal with such things away from guitar!
• Ear training This is probably one of the most underrated areas among beginner, intermediate and early advanced guitarists. Yet if you take a closer look at the pros you will find absolutely no-one with inferior aural skills. There are many great smartphone apps that will help you to identify intervals, melodies, chords, chordprogressions and rhythms by ear which is an inevitable skill to master if you want to play guitar like your idols! I am sure that if you are creative and use your head to think, you will come up with even more ideas how to use your smartphone in other areas of your guitar playing such as creativity, improvisation, songwriting, technique, repertoire, musical analysis and many more. Right now whats the most important thing for you to do is to get started! Identify the area in which your skills are the weakest, download a free app or purchase one and build the habit of practicing away from guitar by using your mobile phone.
I am 100% sure that there is no-one who cannot spend at least ten or twenty minutes per day doing so if he or she really wants to learn to play the instrument. This time can be either added on top of your practicing time or you can safe practicing time that way.
Be smart and make effective use of your time - thats why these little things are called SMART-phones!
„Having no time is never a valid excuse - either you want it, or you don’t!“
About the author:
Constantin Einzmann is a professional musician, guitar teacher and skilled mechanical engineer. He is the founder of the ShredFactory, a successful music school offering Gitarrenunterricht in Augsburg Germany.