Integrating musical skills together in a fluent manner is key for becoming a better guitarist. Integration is:

*Knowing how to combine skills (or techniques) with different concepts and skills.
*Practicing creativity as you improve your skills.

Watch the video below to learn how to practice integrating skills together in your guitar playing:

Question: “But Tom Hess, is it really possible to practice creativity on guitar?”

Answer: All guitar players can become more creative by practicing at it. Creativity is what happens when you master a certain skill and are able to integrate it with other skills you have. Practicing integration is what helps you become a more creative musician.

Here is a guitar practice circuit that improves your ability to integrate musical skills together:

Go through these steps as fast as possible without stopping in between.

Step 1: Choose any guitar playing phrase, idea, lick or pattern.

Step 2: Play through this idea several times to become familiar with it.

Step 3: Create 5 variations of the original idea to create new phrases. Here are some ways to do this:

*Use different note rhythms.
*Use hammer ons and pull offs to change the way notes are played.
*Add bent notes and vibrato to emphasize different pitches.

This online guide shows you many examples of creating cool phrasing variations with guitar licks.

Step 4: Make 5 new guitar licks while keeping the rhythm of the original idea the same. Change all the pitches, but maintain the same rhythms of those pitches.

Step 5: Play using rubato. Play faster and slower while not playing in time. This video demonstrates examples of how to do rubato style phrasing on guitar.

Step 6: Change the first few notes and keep everything else as it was in the original idea. Come up with 5 variations.

Step 7: Change the notes in the middle of the idea and keep everything else as it was originally. Think of with 5 variations.

Step 8: Change the last few notes of the idea and keep everything else as it was originally. Make 5 variations.

Complete steps 2-8 with the new variations you thought of for fifteen minutes. Then start over by using a completely new musical idea.

Help For Moving Through This Guitar Practice Circuit:

*Choose an idea to work with that isn’t too hard to play. This keeps you from constantly thinking about making mistakes so you can focus on fluency and creativity.

*Move from each step to the next as fast as possible. Do you best not to stop and think. This helps you become more creative and fluent in less time. Observe how long it takes you to move from step to step. This helps you measure your fluency and integration so you can improve.

*Think about the aspects of creativity and fluency that give you the most trouble and write them down. So, write it down if you are struggling to play the first notes of a phrase with different pitches or using different rhythms for notes. When you do this, you find out what you need to work on to get better.

Commonly Asked Questions:

Question: “Tom Hess, What if I’m not sure how to make variations with arpeggios?”

Answer: Use these ideas:

1. Instead of playing the entire arpeggio with the same rhythm, insert rests randomly between some of the notes.

2. Play your arpeggios with varying sizes (3, 4, or 5 string arpeggios). This alters the pitch range and makes the arpeggio sound more interesting and creative.

Question: “Tom Hess, what’s the best way to use circuit training for guitar practice?”

Answer: Set a time to practice guitar playing fluency in the same way you would schedule practice for any other skill. When you practice effectively, you utilize your time in the best way possible to improve weaker areas of your playing and achieve your musical goals faster.

Consider this guitar practice circuit to be a test of your ability to play with fluency and integration. Practice this circuit for a couple of times per week to see where your skill level is at. Use the rest of your time actually practice it in order to develop your creativity.

This online guide shows you many examples of creating cool phrasing variations with guitar licks.

Author's Bio: 

Tom Hess is an online electric guitar teacher, recording artist and virtuoso guitarist. He trains guitar players from around the world how to reach their musical goals in his correspondence guitar lessons online. Visit his website to receive many free guitar playing resources , mini courses, guitar practice eBooks, and to read more articles about guitar playing.