I've been thinking about the type of guitarist I want to become. The great thing about music is that it's constantly evolving and I've been learning so much about playing guitar by listening to songs and artists that I enjoy. I find that I play guitar so much more often when I have a specific song I want to learn or a particular goal in mind. Without that focus it can sometimes be discouraging repeating the same old exercises and practice routines.
However, by improving your technique you can apply it to songs you love and help to make it "your own".
There are so many terrific ways to spice up a song! Lately, I've been exploring finger picking (especially Travis picking), the Nashville Number system, shifting the key of a song, triads, chord progressions and harmonics. These are more advanced topics, but they are all so interesting to me and I love applying what I learn to my repertoire of favorite songs. It's also fun to create your own songs using this knowledge. I hope to share these techniques with you in future posts and videos.
Currently, my favorite musicians are Jason Mraz, John Mayer and Jack Johnson. I would love to possess the vocal capabilities of Jason, the deep guitar fretboard knowledge of John and the "chill" rhythms and songwriting skills of Jack. These are my current influences, but I'm sure this will change over time. I really enjoy listening to songs from these artists and trying to replicate them on my acoustic guitar (and perhaps on an electric guitar in the future).
So to sum up this post, I encourage you to play the music you enjoy the most. Start with easier songs and then progress into harder selections. As you practice guitar exercises, think about how you will apply this knowledge into your songs. It can make a world of difference in your playing and enjoyment of this wonderful instrument known as the guitar.
Have fun and enjoy the process!