By Craig Bassett
Do you ever get the feeling that you're not progressing at
fastest possible rate? Do you ever feel overwhelmed? How about
the feeling that you're not really 100% sure if you're
improving or not? If you do...you're definitely not alone!
Learning guitar can be a bit overwhelming at times. There are
literally enough things to learn to keep anyone busy for MANY
lifetimes. This can be both a blessing and a curse. It's a
blessing because you'll never run out new and exciting things
to learn. It can also seem like a curse because you'll never
get to the bottom of your "to do" list! So how do you keep
motivated and constantly have the feeling of progress? That's
where speed goals come in...
I've been using speed goals for about the last 15 years. They
are one of the most powerful weapons in my guitar practice
arsenal. Let's take a look now at what they are, and what
benefits you'll gain by setting speed goals.
***What Are Speed Goals?****
A speed goal is a goal that you set to reach a particular
metronome setting. For example, you might say that your speed
goal for a particular sweep picking exercise is sixteenth
at 160bpm (beats-per-minute). You would practice that exercise
daily until the target speed has been reached.
An effective speed goal has these qualities...
1. No Deadline. Unlike traditional goal setting, there are no
deadlines with speed goals. This is because you must allow
technique to develop in a relaxed and natural way. If you set
deadline, you may be tempted to increase your metronome speeds
at too fast a rate in order to meet the deadline. Result?
You'll basically program tension into your muscles and most
likely get frustrated.
2. Challenging. Your speed goal must be challenging. It should
be fast enough to make you grow as a player. For example, if
you can currently play an exercise at 120bpm then something
like 144bpm would make a good goal. Once you reach 144bpm,
you might set another speed goal of around 160bpm. See how
3. Realistic. Don't set your speed goal too high. If you can
currently only play an exercise at 120bpm, then 240bpm would
probably be too high. I generally set speed goals that I think
I can achieve within a month or two.
***Benefits of Speed Goals***
A few benefits of setting speed goals include...
1. They give you something to work towards. This helps you to
stay motivated and enthusiastic about your guitar practice.
2. They give you a feeling of progress. You'll feel great each
time you reach a speed goal. These small wins help you feel
like you are progressing steadily towards the larger goals
you have set for your guitar playing.
3. They tell you when you can STOP practicing an exercise.
you've achieved your goal you can then move onto something
The speed goal stops you from mindlessly practicing an
that you have already mastered.
4. They give you measurable results. If your speeds are
increasing then you have quantitative proof that you are
improving. You KNOW for sure that you are getting better. This
helps you become more confident about your guitar playing.
I encourage you to set a few speed goals now. If you set them
consistently, I think you'll be amazed at how fast you'll
About The Author: Craig Bassett is a professional guitarist,
author and guitar tutor. To gain TOTAL mastery of the guitar
fretboard notes, please go to: www.GuitarNoteMastery.com