1. Use a metronome.
It´s all about timing. If music is the art of alternating sound and silence, the precision with which you can understand and subdivide time is crucial to the groove. Practicing with the metronome at slow speeds will improve sense of timing and practicing at higher tempos will help you achieve accuracy and precision. Don´t forget to incorporate metronome exercises in your practicing schedule and you´re guaranteed to hear the results!
2. Play with other people.
Art does not exist in a vacuum. Even if you are a solo singer songwriter that hates sharing the stage with anyone else but his guitar, you can benefit from playing with other people. Music is a interactive skill that requires deep sensibility and quick reflexes, but more importantly, its about learning to listen. Getting together with other players and learning to communicate with them through music will undoubtedly help you to gain a deeper understaning of yourself as a musician
3- Transcribe songs by ear.
Music is first and foremost, a listening art. Although there are thousands of resources to help you learn new songs, nothing beats sitting next to the cd player for hours on end, and picking apart your favorites songs note by note. Transcribe a song by ear every week and you will quickly develop an ability to recognize and find notes on your instrument. Your bandmates and ears with thank you.
4- Learn other styles of music.
They say nothing interesting happens inside of our comfort zone. That is definitely true for music. After a while playing your music style of choice you´ll start to develop a matching vocabulary as you become more comfortable with it. This is all good and well, but sometimes its easy to keep repeating the same ideas over and over again. That´s when a roadtrip across different genres of music can refresh our musical outlook and give you new ideas and concepts to apply in your music. Sometimes, forcing yourself to play things you usually dismiss can open up new avenues and take your creative spirits to paths you never imagined before.
5- Practice 30 minutes daily (better than cramming 6 hours one day a week)
They say that practice makes perfect.