Do you ever get the feeling that you’re not progressing at your 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 is a bit overwhelming at times. There are literally enough things to learn to keep anyone busy for MANY lifetimes. This is 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 builder goals for about the last 20 years. They are one of the most powerful ways to improve your guitar playing. Let’s take a look now at what they are, and what benefits you’ll gain by setting speed builder goals.
What Are Guitar Speed Builder Goals?
A speed builder goal is a goal that you set to reach a tempo on an exercise. For example, you might say that your speed builder goal for a simple sweep picking exercise is sixteenth notes at 180 bpm (beats-per-minute). You would practice that exercise daily until you reach your desired tempo.
An effective speed builder goal has the following qualities:
- No Deadline. Unlike traditional goal setting, there are no deadlines with speed builder goals. This is because you must allow your technique to develop in a organically. If you set a deadline, you will want to increase your tempo at too fast a rate to meet the deadline. Result? You’ll get tense and you will frustrated.
- Challenging. Your goal needs to be difficult. It has to be fast enough to make you grow as a player. For example, if you can now play an exercise at 100bpm then something like 130bpm would make a good goal. Once you reach 130bpm, then you might set another goal of around 150pbm.
- Realistic. Don’t set your goal too high. If you can now only play an exercise at 90bpm, then 220bpm would probably be too high. I generally set speed builder goals that I think I can do within a 8 weeks.
Benefits of Speed Builder Goals
A few benefits of setting speed goals include:
- They give you something to work towards. This helps you to stay motivated and enthusiastic about your guitar practice.
- They give you a feeling of progress. You’ll feel great each time you reach a speed goal. These small victories are important because they help you feel like you are progressing steadily towards the bigger goals that you have set for yourself.
- They tell you when you can STOP practicing an exercise. Once you’ve achieved your victory, you can then move to something else. The goal stops you from mindlessly practicing an exercise that you have already completed.
- They give you specific, measurable results. If your speeds are increasing then you have measurable proof that you are improving. You KNOW for sure that you are getting better. This helps you become more confident about your playing.