It’s pretty clear that the habits we develop in the practice room are the ones that most directly lead to results. [Learn more about those practice habits]

However, in many cases, the things we do away from the guitar can have an equally large impact on our development. Here are four important habits that will keep you moving forward on your long journey with the classical guitar.

1. Wash Your Hands

This sounds like such a simple habit, but so many people skip washing their hands on a regular basis before touching their instrument.

This is an absolute must as all the residue from food, makeup, or just general dirt can really build up on your guitar.

Dirt on the right hand can almost immediately kill your strings, which can be potentially damaging for the nails on the basses as the dirt builds up, causing the strings to be uneven.

Dirt on the left hand can lead to a build up of grime on the fretboard of your guitar, which can actually cause intonation problems as well as shortening the life of your frets (which may not seem like a big deal, but wait until you have your frets recrossed and feel the difference).

Even just a rinse with water is better than nothing, but try to always wash your hands with a soap before practicing, however short you plan to be playing.

Have a fretboard in need of a good cleaning? Read our post from luthier extraordinaire Gary Lee to ensure you're doing correctly and thoroughly!

2. Warm Up Your Body

When we think of warming up for practice we probably think about right hand and left hand exercises, maybe a little bit of synchronization, nail shaping. But really what we should be thinking about before we are doing any of these things is warming up our bodies!

Sitting in the position that we must for so long every day warrants a bit of care for our bodies before we start doing anything to do with our instruments.

A ten minute body warm up, some simple stretches and breathing is an absolute must before starting our daily work. After all, those ten minutes we spend stretching could save us years in the future.

3. Lock Your Guitar Case

This is a surprisingly common reason for damage to instruments, so just make sure you close your case!

You would be amazed at how easy it is to forget that you haven’t closed the case properly, so make a habit of locking your case every time you put your guitar back into it. That way you just avoid dropping your guitar onto its front when you pick up the open case, which I’m sure we all would like to avoid!

4. Stay Positive

So much of what we see in the world is negative, and so much of what we see in the classical music world can seem so far from what we believe we can achieve.

There seems to be a kind of elite stigma surrounding the classical world at the moment, but we shouldn’t dwell on the shortcomings of the world around us.

We are playing music and ultimately we should be enjoying what we do.

The best habit that you can make as a guitar player is shining our own positive light, approaching our daily learning with happy thoughts and a willing to change and spreading the love that we have for music to the people around us.


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Dave McLellan

Concert & Chamber Guitarist

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