There doesn’t seem to be much discussion practice routines. It would seem to me one of the first questions to answer would be how to practice guitar. Unfortunately this often doesn’t come up even after 20 lessons. It’s taken me years to fully understand the variety and most effective methods. This article is going to focus on making the most of your time.
It is often thought that the key is to practice many long hours each day. Although at first this may be helpful for muscle memory, you’ll eventually hit a mental road block. There is only so much your mind can absorb at a setting. Over practice can result in mind wandering. This is where your fingers are moving in motions you already know but your mind is thinking about other subjects. At this point you will get very little effective guitar practice done. Here are some of my tips on how to practice guitar:
1: MAKE A LIST OF YOUR WEAKNESSES.
Many people play to their strengths which leads to hitting a growth wall. You always want to keep track of what you need to improve.
2: BUY A DAILY PLANNER SOLELY FOR GUITAR PRACTICE DOCUMENTATION.
Here, you’ll make a daily plan or routine to accomplish. I make check marks after I accomplish each task with a note of how long I spent working.
3: SET A TIMER.
The amount of time you dedicate has a lot to do with your lifestyle. For me I like to set 5 min blocks. As an example I’ll pick improving three string voicings for chords and set the alarm for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes the alarm goes off and it feels like a goal has been reached. Setting small time increments helps keep concentration tight. The key here is staying focused. 5 minutes doesn’t feel endless. If I wish to work on a skill more I can set the clock again. It’s important to feel like you’ve reached a goal.
4: KEEP TRACK OF THE TIME YOU’VE WORKED ON EACH SKILL.
It’s a work log. Each week you’ll be able to review the attention you payed to weakness you wanted to improve.
5: DAILY GUITAR PRACTICE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN LONGER, LESS FREQUENT PRACTICE.
As we get older it’s harder and harder to dedicate 4 or more hours a day to a routine. A shorter but regular routine will yield far better results. Just because I make my living from music doesn’t mean I get to work on new skills all the time. I’m happy when I can get an hour a day. I do work to make a daily routine of skills to improve. When I keep a strict daily schedule I see quick improvement.
6: FOCUS CANNOT BE STRESSED ENOUGH.
If your mind keeps wandering put your guitar down. How NOT to practice guitar would be day dreaming. You must be in it. This is why shorter batches of practice is good. Even if you have a lot of time in the day it’s good to break it up. You have to let information digest just like food.
7: DON’T PUT TOO MUCH ON YOUR PLATE.
It’s not a race and you don’t get a trophy for getting done the quickest. It’s best to pick small goals to focus on. This week one skill I was working on was A Diminished Arpeggios. Yes just for A!! It’s not enough to just have played it. You have to get to know it. Breath it. A lot of people don’t retain lessons because they don’t focus on each small element enough. Impatience will not help you be a better guitarist. This is a case where the tortoise beats the hare!!