How to Improve Your Confidence for Playing the Guitar with Your Friends
Playing the guitar can be a very sociable instrument, and it’s one of the really fun things to do on the guitar. Too often people learn to play guitar in their bedrooms and end up being bedroom guitarists! They lack confidence when it comes to playing with other people.
What are some skills that you can work on so that you can avoid being a bedroom guitar player? So that you can start getting out there and experiencing how fun it is to play and jam with other people!
Improve your rhythm playing
One of the most important thing when it comes to playing with other people is keeping in time and being good at counting. Make sure when you are strumming or playing anything that you are counting. Whether it’s by tapping your foot or under your breath. You want to be able to concentrate on your playing and keep count as well.
Be good at chord playing
You want to be able to play chords easily and transition between them. Of course, you may need a certain amount of chord knowledge. But once you know your barre chords and can comfortably play them with variations. Such as major, minor, 7ths chords. You will be feeling a lot more confident as 90% of songs of popular songs can be played with barre chords or a variation of it.
Get good at ear training
The better you get at ear training, the easier it will be to pick up what your friends are doing. Whether it’s picking out the rhythm when the chord transitions come in. If you want to be able to improvise or play the melody of a song, then ear training is essential for making sure you play something that sounds good! Or accurate to the song if you are doing a cover.
Improve recognising chords
Besides ear training, you can also get good at looking at people’s fingers. If you can watch what their hands are doing, then you can copy it and join it. Allowing you to pick things up really quickly. This is especially useful when there are several guitar players, and it becomes hard to pick out exactly what’s happening. Once you work out what the hands are doing, you can even work out what the chords are and then do variations of it on your own.
Know what chords are present in a key
Once you know the key to a song, you can work out what chords are in it. This will speed up trying to figure the chords present in the song. Especially if you’ve worked on your ear training and can listen and figure out what the chord progression is.
For jamming, this is really useful if your friend is playing a cool solo or his own improvisation. Once you can work out the key, then you can play chords to accompany him or her.
Get good at finding the key
This is really useful for playing with other people and also playing along to your favourite songs. Working out the key means you can either play along with the chords or even start to improvise on the top. You can even change between the two! You can do this even as a beginner guitar player, and it will make you seem a lot more impressive to your friends.
Improving your improvisation
This a creative skill that you can practise and improve over time.
Being comfortable with the fretboard and being able to do more than play riffs straight out of a book will help you to feel more original. You can then start to create your own style.
Practise your phrasing so that your improvisation can sound really good over some rhythm playing. It doesn’t want to be complicated, but it should have good technique, be in key and have good musicality. Matching the style of music you want to play over.
Once you’ve gotten good at the skills above, the best thing to do is just to get out there. Even if you haven’t mastered all of them yet. Start with some rhythm playing to get used to how it feels to play with other people. Doing it as much as possible to make the experience less scary and more fun! Don’t be afraid to ask the other guitarists and musicians what chords or key you are in if you aren’t sure. Better to ask than to play out of key!
The better your understanding of the guitar is, the more interesting you can make your guitar playing. Creating variation on the chords or melodies or covers. So it feels more fun and creative than just covering songs as well!
Improve the skills above by practising each one with the right training, and then get out there and practise in real life! Find some nice supportive people who will be encouraging about your guitar to practice and play with. Be respective, and just try your best. You can make notes at the end of the session of what you found difficult so that you can improve and work on it at home to improve for next time.
About guitar teacher:
Guitar school owner, Darryl Powis is experienced in teaching guitar to children and adults for acoustic and electric guitar lessons in London, England.