Tips on how to practice and perform like a pro.

All too often I hear people complaining about their performance the night before and how much they messed up.

This doesn't have to be you!

The key to success is practice and in this lesson I'm going to share with you my own preparation formula.

First thing is first, find a venue to play in. This could be in a coffee house or opening up for Led Zeppelin (whichever you prefer). If you can try to get gigs a few months in advanced so you have the correct time to get you and your guitar ready. If not don't sweat it, we have a solution for you too.

Step 1: Find a quite place and set up shop. Try to make this a place without distractions such as a TV or computer. Spare bedrooms always seems to do the trick. You want uninterrupted silence so turn the ringer off the phone. If you have to be by a TV turn that off as well.

Step 2: Warm up. I cannot stress this enough. You could do serious damage to you hands (like carpal tunnel syndrome) if you don't take the right amount of time to warm up. If you're wondering how much time the answer is there isn't a limit. Some professionals can take up to 45 minutes! However, that won't work for you if you're short on time. So I recommend this very famous warm up. Take it up and down the fret board once and you will be ready to rock.


Another warm up that I personally find great for preparing to do a fast tempo solo is this:

Tip #1
For best Progress start at the 9th fret on your high E string. Then work you way down to your fifth fret and move over to your B string and rinse, lather, repeat.




Tip #2
Now it is time to take out what you will be playing. Play the piece through once (yes even if it doesn't sound like anything it is supposed to sound like).

You may also find it helpful to listen to the piece if it has been recorded on CD or Tape. Then you start at the beginning on measure at a time (a measure is a piece of a song that is divided). You then repeat it over and over until you get it right or feel comfortable.

This is what musicians call "wood shedding". A metronome will aid you in doing this. Start slow, work your way up to tempo. That's how it is done by all of the pros. You may think that this method will take forever but it won't. You only really want to focus hard on the parts of the song that you have the most difficultly with but you should still know the rest of the song and know how to play it correctly.

Remember that practice makes perfect and for most people the best way to get it into their heads is to play it over and over again. If you play in a band the same technique applies and will work.

That's where all of this stuff has been derived from. Finish with a song that you can play best to boost your self-esteem. Things that may not have clicked with you this practice session probably will the next time you pick up your guitar.


Tip #3
Ok so you know your songs inside out. You are by all means a guitar virtuoso. The thing that is getting to you is all those people will be watching every move you make. You're nervous right?

Don't be, there is no need for that.

Studies have shown that people who are nervous play with an 80% efficiency at best.

You need to be prepared mentally just as much as you need to practice your guitar. Imagine yourself walking up to the stage, picking up your guitar, and moving to the centre.

Then, think of what you'll do to set up quickly. Now imagine a flawless performance that sends the crowd into a rock frenzy. Don't think any negative thoughts. You might even want to drop in and check out the venue you'll be playing at so you can really get an idea of what it will be like. Keep your focus. You are prepared and ready.


Tip #4
If you happen to find out from someone that they want you to play in about three days... no sweat!

I don't recommend doing this on a regular basis but it can be done. The sad thing is if you can't play some of the fancy tricks that may be in the song...don't play them.

Those tricks can be a stumbling block for you and really mess up your performance. Then you practice and try to tackle the hardest parts and just play those until you have it down pat or you think you can wing it. The run through the simpler parts. Don't be deceived about these little parts and get too comfortable.

They can trip you up as well so think about them. All in all, if you've played the song a few times before you were asked to play and with your new practice you'll do fine.

If you haven't but practiced well you will be fine. Nothing is perfect and this is one of those things. My advice is to do one thing.... have FUN!

Performing is a wonderful thing that we get to do from time to time. If you are a solo performer or in a band, you feel the same emotions of accomplishment and pride. If you take these tips and use them you will find that your performances go much more smoothly.

You will also sound better and learn faster. So go out there, play and have the time of your life!

Article written by: Jordan Warford
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