people, man, exercise

Learning Guitar Can Be Like Going To The Gym

Do you ever get tired of doing the same guitar exercises over and over when you’re practicing your guitar? I’m sure you do, and before you get worried; It’s perfectly normal.
Unfortunately, part of the way we need to practice in order to improve our playing is to build muscle memory which requires repetition, and lots of it.

The good news however is that you only need to play a finite number of reputations for something to become muscle memory. Being disciplined enough to accumulate enough reps however, is a different matter!

guitar, strumming, music
This dude was the most ripped stock photo guitarist I could find!
By nature, we humans seek variety and crave uncertainty when things become routine, so doing something like guitar exercises can become boring and monotonous, even if we know it’s good for us.
…Kind of like going to the gym.
If you’ve ever signed up with a personal trainer at the gym, or routinely attended classes you’ll notice that they generally set you a program.
The program usually consists of 3-6 basic exercises for each body part.
And you do the same exercises on the same day every week.
Monday is upper body, Wednesday is legs, and Friday is cardio.
And every week you do the same exercises over and over, maybe with higher weights, or more reps as you get stronger, but you still do the same ones over and over.

When it comes to working out at the gym and getting fit, or playing a sport, we accept that we need to repeat the same things over and over for weeks, months and even years. However when it comes to guitar, we seem to get bored of the same exercises and jump on YouTube to find something new and exciting to work on.

 And before we know it we’ve just watched two hours of videos, tried a whole bunch of things for two minutes each, and despite knowing about them, we can’t yet do them, plus we’ve added a whole bunch of things we want to practice on top of what we need to practice.


Don’t worry, it’s not just you, virtually every guitarists ever with access to a computer has done this, and before computers existed it was guitar magazine and even old VHS tapes (if you’re old enough to know what one of those is). The problem with this approach is you learn about a whole bunch of things without investing enough time into perfecting the, so you feel extra bad about your lack of progress because you now how more things you have discovered and now sucks at, and even more things on your radar to practice and now an overwhelming sense of dread at having to find time to practice them all.

 If you go to the gym, you do your same set of exercises over and over, while either losing weight, or getting bigger and stronger muscles. The key is consistency.
With out gutiar playing, if you stay disciplined and stick to your exercises (like scales, chord changes, arpeggios, and any other exercise) when it comes time to play the songs you want to play, or rip solos, or learn your favourite licks, you’ll have a much, much easier time of it.
It’s just like going to football training and practicing different kicking, hand balling, running and tackling drills,
Or basketball where you practice shooting, passing, dribbling and running,
Any sport, hobby, or activity you’re going to do, you’ll have a number of movements you need to commit to memory and get really good at doing.
Having the discipline to get really good at your fundamentals on gutiar is essential.
Stick to the basics, go through you allocated practice items set by your teacher and then use any additional time you have for fun things or exploring,
In a future post I’ll talk about ways you can make practicing more fun, even when you have to do hundreds or thousands of repititions of the same micro movements, but for now, just think about how with most of the activities you do, you have a routine, and repeat the same things over and over.
Guitar is no different, be disciplined and stick to your routine and the talent will come.
essendon guitar teacher

About The Author

Michael Gumley is a professional guitar teacher and gym junkie from Melbourne, Australia. He was fortunate to group up in an AFL household with a father and uncle who both played footy in the AFL and went on to have successful coaching careers which allowed him to be privy to elite level sports training which inspired much of which Michael uses to coach his own guitar students to elite levels of gutiar playing in his school Melbourne Guitar Academy.

If you’re looking for Guitar Lessons In Wantirna South then you’re lucky to be in just the right place to learn from one of the best guitar teachers in all of Australia! Take your playing to the next level with a FREE trial lesson!

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