Learn how to play guitar faster!
Focus on chord changes
Before trying to play the strumming patterns, make sure you can actually switch between all the chords in the song. I see this a lot with students in their first few months of guitar lessons when they’re learning their first easy guitar songs. Let’s use a song with the following chord changes as an example: G, C, D, C. The song is presented below:
Before trying to strum all four chords, try strumming the pattern on the G chord, and then switch to the C chord, but only do the first strum on the C chord.
Once you can make that switch, then try strumming the pattern on the C chord and then switch to the D chord, but only do the first strum on the D chord.
Repeat this process with D going back to C, and then with C going to G. Once you can do all of the changes without any mistakes, then try doing all four chords as shown in the first example.
You can also apply this concept to songs that are fingerpicked or arpeggiated, and also to songs with guitar riffs. Anytime you have difficulty playing any sort of phrase, you can often isolate a specific point in the phrase that is causing the problem. If you just practice up to the problem area, and then practice one note beyond the difficult spot, you’ll master it much more quickly. It may seem like a painstaking process to spend a significant amount of time focusing on one measure, but the time you spend practicing that one measure will help your technique in general. I spend a lot of time in guitar lessons for beginners pointing out these problem areas that they overlook, and then show the student the correct way to practice that section of the song.