Bad habits can hold your playing hostage.
Your job is to find them... and obliterate them.
It should come as no surprise that people struggle to spot (and remove) bad habits.
So how are you supposed to do it without a teacher?
The trick is learning what to look out to spot any bad habit. And to learn a simple process to remove bad habits from your muscle memory.
While I’m good at doing this now I used to struggle a lot with this…
When I first picked up the guitar my teachers showed me riffs from songs. Chords. Strumming. Etc…
But not a single one of them taught me how to spot (and remove) my bad habits on my own.
Guitar felt like a big uphill struggle.
I practiced for hours to try and get through difficult parts of songs. Or try to get my fingers to wiggle faster and be more accurate.
It felt like I was a car revving its engine with the accelerator all the way down… moving at a snails pace.
It was infuriating. I knew deep down in my gut that I could be improving faster.
I don’t know if you can relate to this. But I wanted to understand how to be able to spot bad habits from a mile off. To have a method to remove them for good. AND to do so quickly and easily...
This might sound like too much to be true. But it’s not with a bit of practice.
So how do you remove any bad habit?
The first step is awareness. If you can’t see them, you can’t fix them.
To do this you must get away from your guitar. I’m serious... Unless your brain is trained to understand what to look for you won’t be able to do this step (yet.)
I’ve found that recording myself playing helpful for spotting bad habits.
Before I could spot bad habits on the fly… I used to do this all the time. I would record myself playing a part of a song on my phone. Then I would watch it back and try to spot what was happening.
This will take some practice to get used to.
You can ask yourself questions such as:
- “How’s my right hand moving?”
- “What can my left hand be doing better?”
- “Why doesn’t this sound right to me?”
Like I said, you’re going to need to practice this if you want to remove bad habits without a teacher.
It took me (and other people I know…) a good two years to be able spot bad habits quickly and on the spot.
This is why a lot of my paying students love coming to lessons.
They enjoy being able to delegate that process to someone so they don’t have to worry about it. (At least in the beginning.)
The next step is that you have to practice slow enough with the correct movements to ensure the new habit sticks.
This is a much larger topic that goes beyond what I can talk about in this article.
Of course you can learn how to do all of this…
There are thousands of great YouTube tutorials detailing different bad habits. And I’m sure if you catalogued all of them (and had the discipline to sit down and remove them one by one…)
You could become successful at quickly removing any bad habit after two or three years.
Or if you’re interested in removing a bunch of your bad habits holding you back from playing music how you should be able to…
You can get in touch and we’ll talk about exactly why you’re stuck…
And precisely what you need to do to fix it.
And I’ll do all of this free for you.
P.S. One of our students, Barney, had been learning by himself for years after taking guitar lessons a long time ago.
He had picked up some bad habits over the years so got in touch with us to help fix those habits, and finally start making more progress again.
You can check out Barney's guitar playing in the video below, at one of our student mic events!