The Guitar Blog

How to practice.

This is an often over looked area for guitarists. Many people take lessons or study material from on line sources but don’t actually know how to practice efficiently. There are many methods, here I will go over mine. This obviously has been very effective for me.

Firstly and perhaps most importantly you need a plan. You need to know what it is you are trying to achieve. Lack of focus usually means you are on a hiding to nothing before you start.
I made myself a schedule. A list if you will of what is was I had to practice. I wrote the list in order of what I enjoyed least up to the fun stuff.

I made the list in the time honoured fashion thus

1. Sight reading

2. Chord practice

3. Scale practice/Single note exercises

4. Rhythm Guitar

5. Learning songs

6. Improvisation

In this instance I have used 6 sections. The above headings are dynamic, in so much that they can change dependant on what I need to learn on any specific occasion.

I placed my least favourite elements at the beginning so as to get them out of the way as soon as possible. The idea with practice is to address all areas of your playing and to enjoy it. I found psychologically, that if I ended my practice routine with something I enjoyed I would be more inclined to practice again. Always leave the good stuff til last, just like bands do at gigs. Keep your best stuff til last.

Next I decide over what period of time I was going to practice for. Generally it was an hours worth at a time. You can choose your own period of time and adjust the timings accordingly. So I divide my hour by the number of sections I am working on. Conveniently on this occasion 6. So that is 10 minutes each. However for me 10 mins on any specific is too long. Also you need breaks between sections. So I would work in 7 minute sections with 3 minute breaks between each. This I would control using a device that can countdown and beep. Any kind of decent stopwatch setting, these days most phones/ipod touch’s have apps that can be acquired for stopwatches/timers. So setting the timer to 7 mins I then do 7 mins of focused study on sight reading. After the 7 mins elapses. I take a 3 minute break as I prepare for the Chord practice and then repeat the process until all subjects are covered and the hour has elapsed.

At the end I could repeat any of the sections I felt inspired to do. I have however practised all the subjects I need to work on.

The key to progression is little and often. Sitting for an hour staring at a specific will get very little done. More will be achieved from a short efficient burst repeated regularly than a drawn out session.

Any questions feel free to leave in comments sections. I will endeavour to address as many as possible

Geoff

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~ by Geoff Lea Guitar on June 10, 2010.

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