If you want to become a professional guitarist, you need to ask yourself whether you are willing to dedicate your life to music. It's not enough to simply play the instrument. There are lots of people who can strum the guitar. To make your mark as a musician, you need expert-level training and whole-hearted commitment. To build your career in this field, you have to know how the music industry functions. Not only do you need to play the guitar very well, but you must also have good networking skills to make your mark in this industry.

It's not possible to turn into a successful musician overnight. Celebrated musicians all over the world have honed their skills and practiced for years before finally coming into the limelight. For a true musician, learning continues all through life. So to shine as a professional guitarist you need to have a lot of patience. A big break might not come easily. So you have to patiently keep honing your skills without letting frustration get the better of you. Only hard work and complete dedication can help you to be successful in the highly competitive music industry.

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Only dedication and hard work can help you find success in the music industry. | Source: pixabay.com
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Makings of a Professional Guitarist

Professional Guitarists play classical, acoustic, and electric guitar. Apart from performing live they also play in the studio for recording music.  To stay on top of their game for their gigs, they practice regularly.  This helps to sharpen their skills and also learn new music. While some artists prefer to perform solo, others like to collaborate with fellow musicians and work in bands.  If you want to be a professional musician, you need to know a lot about music and develop sound technical knowledge which includes:

  • Knowing the fretboard
  • Developing excellent fingerboard techniques
  • Ability to play chords, melodies, and improvised solos
  • Ability to play in rhythm using both up strums and down strums
  • Knowing how to read music( chord symbols as well as single notes)

In-demand guitarists, usually develop a unique style of playing the instrument that becomes instantly recognizable. This becomes possible due to the years they devote to practice and playing the instrument. They develop advanced skills and strong technical abilities as a result of which their performances are flawless. When it comes to choosing the style of playing guitar, there are many who stick to one or two styles while others end up playing both contemporary and classical styles of music. The style you end up playing will depend on your interest as well as your skill level.

Guitar Training & Education

To become a successful guitarist, you should start your training as early as possible. It's best to train under an experienced teacher to build a solid foundation of theoretical and technical knowledge. You also need a quality instrument. To move from a beginner to an intermediate level usually take 6 to 12 months of learning and practice. It typically takes around 3 to 5 years to graduate to the level of an advanced player or concert-level performer.

If you want to make a career in music, you need to have a serious approach to it. Most guitar enthusiasts don't progress beyond learning chords and playing accompaniment to easy songs. For you, the journey has to be different if you wish to become a pro. You have to seriously pursue your passion and ensure that your learning is goal-oriented.

Music theory
Knowing how to read sheet music is an important part of the learning process. Source: unsplash.com

Merely practicing for hours without the understanding of what you are expected to achieve at each level is not helpful. Your practice should be effective. Therefore training under a teacher is helpful. You may not be able to accomplish everything on your own. Apart from helping you to learn, a teacher will also give you constructive feedback based on which you can improve your performance. You can also enroll yourself in a full-time program at a music conservatory where they teach you how to play the instrument and other relevant things. Colleges also offer diploma and degree programs in music which allow learners to specialize in playing guitar.

Find good guitar lessons here on Superprof.

 Experience & Skill Development

You need to put in a lot of hard work if you want to establish your career in the music industry. Apart from having great guitar-playing skills, you need to develop your music business acumen. To create a stable source of income you need to consider all possible avenues. Playing in bands and ensembles can give a great boost to your music career. These will give you exposure and the opportunity to hone your skills. A collaborative venture is never a one-man show and requires people to adjust with each other. So cultivating a friendly personality will help you to bond with other musicians and do what is best for the project.

As an aspiring professional guitarist, you will need to spend long hours in practice even when your training is over. Unless you do so, you will not be able to pull off a good performance, whether you are playing solo or in a band. To excel at anything, one has to show discipline and dedication. But if you are passionate about what you're doing, it shouldn't be too difficult to practice regularly. It will help you to amass knowledge and take your learning forward. In addition to all the guitar rhythms you need to know, there are so many styles that you need to master when it comes to playing the instrument. These include:

  • Rock
  • Flatpick
  • Blues
  • Electric Country
  • Jazz
  • Classical

You can work on mastering a couple of these or all of these. If you stop practicing post-completion of your training, you are bound to forget a lot of what you've learned. When you resume practice, later on, it might become difficult to make quick progress. Pro-guitarists usually recommend aspirants to invest more time in the beginning while starting out to ensure that the goals are accomplished.

Generating Income

To become successful as a musician, you should not wait for that one big break to come your way. You must know how to generate revenue through other ways. The need to create a stable source of income is important to relieve your mind of undue stress. Your creativity can flourish only when your time is not wasted in thinking about other things. When you immerse yourself in music, your confidence in your ability is bound to grow and you will figure out various ways to earn a living. These can include:

  • Recording your music and licensing them for television ads or shows
  • Giving music tutorials to young students
  • Playing live music at cafes or restaurants
  • Composing music for others
  • Starting your own YouTube channel
Concert
Keeping a friendly attitude helps if you want to play in a band. Source: Unsplash.com

With your in-depth knowledge of the instrument, you can also seek a part-time sales job at a showroom that sells musical instruments. You have to come up with innovative ways to earn money. You can find a lot of opportunities only if you are willing to put in a lot of hard.  Performing in private parties can also help you make money.

It is essential to keep an open mind and a friendly demeanour. The easier you are to get along with, the more chances you stand of getting opportunities in collaborative ventures. Whether on tour, in the studio, or on the concert stage, ensure that you put your networking skills to use. Only when you interact with fellow musicians will you get to know about various opportunities. You should keep your head on your shoulder and not begin your career and build of unrealistic expectations. It's good to dream of success, but simply thinking about earning money to be able to afford luxuries will not be helpful.

If you are looking for an experienced teacher to help you work on your skills, you can look up portals like Superprof that connect students with teachers across the country. You can also look up the best websites to learn guitar online. You can learn guitar strumming patterns, how to play songs on the guitar and all that you need to know to start you off on your journey. While you build your career, remember that building up a strong reputation as a soloist or member of a band takes time and sustained effort. So you will need to have a lot of patience and motivation to see your career through. Stay curious and open to lifelong learning. Success will not come overnight. Keep striving and stay dedicated to your calling. Good times will surely come your way.

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Shreyanjana

Shreyanjana is an archaeologist who ironically finds the written word to be the most powerful means of storytelling. A travel buff and a photography enthusiast, she has been writing and sharing stories of all sorts ever since she can remember.