Guitar playing, like anything else you do, requires that you build up stamina and healthy playing habits. Your arms, hands, wrists and fingers need to be trained how to play and how to hold the positions correctly. In order to do this, you must practice. By practicing, you build up strength and train all your muscles.
When practicing the guitar, it’s best to learn healthy playing habits rather than learning the wrong way and suffering for those bad habits later on. The saying “it’s easier to learn the right way right from the start then to unlearn bad habits” is true.
One of the best habits to get into is to start by warming up before you start playing. Do a few stretches and give your muscles a chance to loosen up. This helps to prevent cramping and potential injuries. A good way to warm up is to play scales or an easy tune. If your hands or forearms begin to cramp up or hurt, stop immediately, do a few stretches, and shake your hands and arms out. Then try again.
Take Your Time
Build up the amount of time you play. Don’t try to start out playing for hours when you’re just beginning. The body needs time to adjust. Take plenty of breaks and give the body that time so that you don’t develop hard to get rid of injuries.
Don’t Play through Pain
Playing through pain can cause long-term lasting injuries such as tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome. Repeated movements for long periods, with no breaks or chances for the muscles and tendons to relax, cause both of these and other possible issues. Your body will warn you when it’s had enough, you just need to listen and obey when it signals. Of course that is not to say you will not have a few aches and pains when you start playing but you should be able to tell the difference between the body adjusting to something new and actual pain.
Relax, Mentally and Physically
Learn to relax before you start and while playing. Your playing will improve greatly because your muscles are more relaxed and less likely to cramp up. Being mentally relaxed also helps because you can focus, listen and play better because you’re paying attention to your playing and not other things. To be a good guitar player you need to be present and in the moment.
Pay Attention to Posture
Sit or stand with good posture while you’re playing so that you don’t develop back and shoulder issues. It’s also possible for your neck to start hurting when you don’t sit and stand correctly.
Protect Your Hearing
If using amps to enhance the loudness of your guitar make sure, you wear earplugs. Protecting your hearing from excessive noise levels helps to prevent potential permanent hearing loss. It can also help to prevent headaches caused by the loud music.
Don’t Play Stressed
Play the guitar because you enjoy it. Listening to or playing music is about reducing the amount of stress in your life, not adding to it. If you’re playing when you don’t want to, it can cause the stress levels to rise in the body, so pay attention and don’t add more stress to your life.
By developing good guitar playing habits straight from the start, you can enjoy a lifetime of a great hobby or even career. These good habits, along with healthy eating, exercising and sleeping enough, will protect you and help to provide you with a skill that relaxes you and improves your quality of life.