If you are playing the guitar, no matter whether you are a beginner or an expert, you will agree that it takes a lot of practice to perfect the art. With guitar playing, every day is a learning day. Other than regular and consistent practice, how well you play is also determined by how strong and flexible your fingers are. This is one of the reasons beginner guitar players should practice finger exercises.
There are many types of guitar finger exercises, and each exercise comes with a specific goal. When these exercises are practiced the right way, they will improve finger strength, finger independence, and speed.
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- 1 Reasons to Engage in Finger Exercises
Reasons to Engage in Finger Exercises
Guitar exercises are practiced because they increase your finger strength and endurance, help with proper finger positioning, help with playing speed and flexibility, and simply enable you to warm up before playing. However, it is also very important to mention that these exercises help avoid pain and injuries that are pretty common in beginner guitar players, particularly when they are not practicing correctly or practice too much for one day. Let’s see how exactly finger exercises are beneficial for the player.
Lower Injury Risk
After an extended period of guitar playing, as well as improper playing, your fingers, wrist and the forearm may experience pain. When playing with sore hands or fingers, your speed, precision, and timing will be severely affected. By consistently practicing finger exercises for guitar, you will ‘train’ your fingers and reduce stiffness and tension from the finger muscles and bones. Over time, your flexibility and endurance will increase which will further help to avoid pain and injuries to the fingers after playing.
Improve Finger Strength, Endurance, and Proper Finger Positioning
In order to produce good music, you need to be able to play nicely constructed sounds with minimal effort. In order to do so, your fingers have to be strong. With weak fingers, chances are bigger you will produce low-quality sounds or frets that don’t come out quite well. If your fingers are weak, you will also get exhausted from playing rather quickly. Proper finger positioning is vital for changing the chords quickly and strumming the instrument easily. Finger exercises for guitar are a great way for new players not only to improve their finger positioning but also to discover new playing techniques.
Improve Playing Speed and Flexibility
In order to make great music, your fingers also need to be fast and flexible. Guitar finger speed drills will improve your playing speed, coordination, and dexterity when practiced in the right way. They also increase the control and agility required for quality playing.
Warm Up the Fingers and Arms
Warm up exercises may seem unnecessary, but they are essential to prevent pain and injuries and may even improve your playing. By warming up, you will increase blood flow to the various muscles and improve your range of motions in joints. The range of motion in joints and muscular stimulation is very helpful if you are about to get on stage for a long performance. Warming up also helps to relieve tension from your fingers, the shoulder, wrist, and arm. Players that warm up before a show significantly reduce their risk of repetitive motion injuries.
How to Properly Practice Finger Exercises
The most common question music instructors receive from beginner students is how to progress on their instrument as quickly as possible. The easiest way to progress is by making your practice time as productive as possible. Therefore, it is important to create a clear structure and determine what you practice, where and when you practice and finally to assess your practicing goals.
What Should I Practice?
In order to build a solid exercise routine, you should first answer the question ‘what should I practice?’ Before starting your practicing session, warm up to get the blood flowing in your fingers. Achromatic (playing 12 pitches in the sequence of notes) is a great and easy way to warm up. This exercise should be practiced on a daily basis because it works out both the fretting and the picking hand.
As a beginner, you should definitely work on scales, single line melodies, ear training, music theory, sheet music reading, and chords. When practicing chords, it is vital to start slowly and perfect what you are playing. From there, through practice, you will become faster, and you will start sounding better and better. To get each chord right, get them in your left hand and then pick out each string to make sure each note rings out clearly. Once you get the clarity out of the chords, it is time to practice transitioning between them. Chord progression exercises (strumming each chord four times in a series of chords) are one of the most effective ways to practice transitions.
Your practice sessions should never be boring, so always save some room to play your favorite songs. Playing your favorite songs and artists is a great way to apply everything you have previously learned.
When and Where Should I Practice?
It is recommended to practice as much as possible, however, since, our schedules, in most cases, aren’t that flexible, it is best to make practicing guitar a habit, and creating a specific practice schedule routine. You cannot learn to play the guitar without discipline. Only with the consistency of practice, you will be able to progress.
You may think it’s not important where you play, but this is also an essential aspect of turning your practice routine into a habit that will bring optimum results. Always play in a place where you feel comfortable and where there are no distractions. It is recommended to practice somewhere where you can entirely focus on what you are working on.
Setting the Right Goals
Setting goals for your guitar practice are vital for making sure you are progressing in a disciplined manner. Your goals should be realistic and small, for example, to play a song at a certain tempo or just finishing a song you have always wanted to learn. Only with consistent practice, you can perfect the art of guitar playing, and a little bit of practice (done the right way) can help a lot. Never forget that learning the guitar is a journey, and that practice is vital for growing from your influences and developing an individual and original style. You can’t master it overnight, but it is undoubtedly worth all the effort you invest in it.
If you struggle to learn how to play the guitar, consider taking professional guitar or voice lessons (if you also sing). Just a bit of professional guidance can make a huge difference. A good teacher can help you closely track your progress and ensure you are sticking to your goals. So, for example, if you live in Plainview, New York, and you struggle create a practicing routine and meeting your goals, you should take professional music or voice lessons in Plainview.