Guitar: Learn Guitar By Not Playing Guitar

By: Peter Edvinsson

I suppose you think that you learn guitar by playing guitar. Well, do you learn to say the right things by talking all the time? Let's take a look at the art of not playing guitar...

How can you learn to play guitar by not playing? Is it really possible to develop as a guitarist without touching the instrument?

In weight training it is an established fact that muscle growth takes place during rest, for example when you sleep. It doesnít mean that you will become a famous muscle builder by sleeping. Sleeping is just a part of the overall picture called muscle growth.

Donít ever think that you will become a good guitarist by not playing guitar at all!

But I define a good guitarist as a good musician. A good musician can convey his musical emotions to somebody else and this ability takes more than just practicing moving the fingers among all those guitar strings.

What can you do to become a better guitarist and a musician when you don't play? Let me give you a few suggestions:

1. If you play classical guitar, get into the habit of often reading guitar sheet music without your guitar. This practice gives you training in the art of hearing the sheet music in your head and also gives you a better chance to really learn notational symbols in the music and rhythmic subtleties.

2. Take a week off from your guitar playing every now and then and use all your musical energy listening to good music or just being a good citizen. Learn to spot musical and artistic heights in the music. Listen to all types of instrumentalists. With concentration. My best listening position is laying flat on my bed with headphones on forgetting the rest of the world. Maybe you have another approach.

If you feel and enjoy musical and artistic expressions in the music these will probably be implemented in your own guitar playing sooner or later.

3. Be a good musical friend by helping somebody else to play. It will help you become more unselfish and like people more. Well, maybe you already like people sufficiently but to learn to like people is part of our development as musicians as we are supposed to give of ourselves to others when we play.

4. Prepare your body and mind for playing guitar by learning the art of relaxation and stretching your muscles. You can of course find articles on these subjects on the net. Performing in a relaxed manner will help you enjoy your own music more and will help your public to relax and enjoy your music too.

5. Take time to sit down, or stand up if you like, and ponder about what guitar playing means to you. Is there something that you would like to develop in your guitar playing that will give you more joy and happiness. Set a realistic goal and write down what you can do every week to accomplish that goal.

I believe in practicing on my guitar of course but I hope that these pieces of advice concerning not playing guitar will increase your love for your guitar and the art of playing and giving musical joy to others!

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Peter Edvinsson is a musician, composer and music teacher. Visit his site Capotasto Music and download your free sheet music and learn to play resources at

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