Tips For Practicing Guitar
I’m going to talk about some simple tips for practicing guitar. This will help to speed up your progress as a guitar player and make your lessons more motivating. There are many simple things that you can do that will have a big effect on your practice time and your overall progress as a guitar player.
CREATE A SCHEDULE
I always tell my students, the best thing to do when practicing any type of instrument is to create a schedule. Creating a schedule will help you stick to your guitar practice. Find 3-5 days a week, for 15-30 minutes and schedule that time in as if it were an appointment. By doing this, you are obligated more to stick to your practice schedule.
PRACTICE EARLIER IN THE DAY
We are all busy and I know many of you do not have a couple hours to practice every day and I do not expect that. Over the years, what I have found is that the earlier in the day you practice your guitar, the more likely you are going to practice. As I said, we are all busy, and everyone tends to get hit with last minute obligations or emergencies that need to be attended to. The chances of getting distracted by something at 8am is less likely than at 7pm.
If you do not have time first things in the morning, that’s OK. Still, the earlier the better. The later you push your practice the closer it gets to being time to go to bed and once you get in that mode, practice will just have to wait until tomorrow. Use your schedule and find a time that will work for you every week.
USE A TIMER
Using an alarm clock or some type of timer with a bell or ringer will be of great value to you. Most people do not realize how long 5 minutes is until they have to sit and do something non-stop for 5 minutes. Don’t believe me? Set a clock for 5 minutes and practice doing a guitar technique non-stop for that time and you will see what I mean.
By using a timer, you can utilize ALL of your practice time, even if it is only 15 minutes.
VARY UP YOUR PRACTICE
I never have the same practice schedule every day. Some days I will work on ear training, songwriting, transcribing music, other days I will work on repitoire, chord vocabulary, scales, and arpeggios, and even another day I might work on improvisation, fretboard memorization or music theory.
You see, when it comes to guitar, there are so many topics to learn. If you only have 15-30 minutes to practice a day, make a list of all the things you are working on and set times to each of those. You might warm-up for 5 minutes with some finger exercises, then spend 10 min working on scales and another 5 minutes on a song. The next day, you might work on something completely different.
Below is an example of 2 days of 1 hour practice for myself:
Ear Trainig: 10 min
Sweep Picking: 5 min
Transcribing: 5 min
Chord Vocab: 10 min
Music Theory: 10min
Memorizing Arpeggio Patterns: 5min
Arpeggios: 10 min
Transcribing: 5 min
Scale Sequences: 10 min
Improvisation: 10 min
Repertoire: 20 min
So you can see sometimes I do things again, but a lot of times I’m doing very different things on different days of practice.
BUT I DON’T HAVE AN HOUR!
Then make it 15 minutes. Take each practice session and break it up into three 5-min parts.
Make your practice time fit your schedule. If you don’t have 30-60 minutes, not a problem. Do what you can and what the improvements come week after week.