Developing the right behaviors and good habits is crucial to mastering any musical instrument. The guitar is no exception. While regular practice is definitely a must, there may be some actions that you’re missing out on or haven’t had time accommodating.

Below are four actions that can improve your guitar skills.

  1. Maintain tempo

It’s one thing to know how to play a song or notes on a musical sheet, but it’s another thing to know how to play on tempo. This is essential as each song or piece will have distinct tempos. Playing too fast or too slow can significantly alter how a piece is perceived. A seasoned guitar player can maintain tempo for as long as needed.

One way to improve is to practice playing with a metronome, which produces a steady beat. You can adjust the pace or beats per minute (BPM). Most metronomes can handle anywhere between 35 BPM to 250 BPM.

If you’re not used to playing with a metronome, give yourself some time to adjust. It’s normal to make a lot of mistakes when playing with a metronome for the first time. Find an ideal BPM to start with and as you build more confidence, you can take on faster tempos.

  1. Keep learning new things

It’s crucial to have a steady stream of new techniques, ideas or songs to draw from. These inputs feed into your muscle memory (or finger memory, if you will) and musical instincts, all of which will help you become a better guitarist overall.

Whether it’s a technical riff, complex scale or a simple chord pattern, it doesn’t matter what you’re learning specifically. The key is to keep yourself musically engaged and curious.

The best part about this is it’s easy to do. Just turn on the radio, fire up Youtube or Spotify to discover new songs and tutorials. Ask your musician peers for tips or read up on how your guitar idols improved themselves.

If you’re looking for more of a challenge, signing up for guitar lessons or courses might be the way to go. Properly trained and experienced instructors can provide you with a good understanding of musical theory and teach you how to apply the concepts on your instrument.

  1. Jam and play with others

While individual practice is indispensable, you shouldn’t skimp on practicing with others. One of the great things about playing the guitar, or any other instrument for that matter, is that it is best enjoyed when you’re in sync with other fellow musicians.

Jamming with others helps you learn about your individual musical preferences and how you can adjust to improve how the group plays as a single unit.

Carve out some time every week to play with your peers. If that’s too demanding of a schedule, find a common time that is convenient for everybody to be available. if you can find one with affordable rates, a studio is an ideal place to practice with a group. Otherwise, it’s perfectly fine to resort to your garage, living room, or any place where everybody can make some music.

  1. Prepare yourself mentally

More often than not, you’ll find yourself having some spare time on your hands while doing other things non-guitar related. These moments are a good opportunity to visualize how you’ll tackle a difficult piece or a new song you heard on the way to work or school.

Visualizing how you’ll land those notes and execute those tricky transitions is part and parcel of guitar practice, even without the actual guitar. Some may jokingly refer to this as air-guitaring but it can be really helpful for when it is actually time to get your hands and fingers on a guitar.

You’ll find many other tips on how to improve your guitar skills, but remember that consistency and focus are key. Zero in on the ones that are relevant to your skill level.