Do you struggle to find time to practice? Do you spend hours practicing but feel like you never make much progress? Do you just want to get more out of the time that you have? In this article we’re going explore three things you can do to get more out of your practice time.
When it comes to practicing, quality counts a lot more than quantity. A lot of guitarists might allocate a lot of time to practicing but don’t make the most of it. This is why some people practice 6 hours a day and don’t make much progress while others who have a strict and well organised 30 minute session can get great results. It’s easy to tell yourself you are going to practice for an hour but if you’re checking your phone every 2 minutes you might only get 10 minutes of constructive playing done and the majority of your time goes to waste. Compound this over a period of a few years and you can see why some people never get anywhere.
Developing good practice habits and focusing on the quality of your sessions can literally shave years off the amount of time it takes to get good at guitar. Not to mention time saved by getting better in the beginning is time you can reinvest into other areas of your playing. Knowing this can help you make great progress in a short amount of time and see you continuously improving on an upwards trajectory. Here are three things anybody can do to get more out of their practice sessions.
Never underestimate the importance of being organised. Prior to your practice schedule you should have everything you need within reach. This includes a tuner, metronome, your sheet music, resources like backing tracks and cd players and everything else you will need. Not having to look for these things mid practice session will avoid you wasting time and stop you getting distracted mid session so that you can stay focussed and get the most out of your time. Having a dedicated practice room can also contribute to better quality practice if you have the space in your house.
Set Goals For Your Practice Sessions
This one goes beyond being organised and uses your guitar related goals to create practice sessions. If your goal is to have liquid legato like Joe Satriani, wide aggressive vibrato like Malmsteen and to learn 5 songs by next week for a cover gig you have, then your practice schedule should reflect this. Instead of practicing mindlessly and without any direction instead try dividing your time up into smaller sub practice sessions. If you have an hour to practice try dividing it up into three or more smaller sessions. This way you can tackle more content and avoid getting bored or distracted ensuring that you get more out of each session. A session that reflects the previously aforementioned goals might include spending 15 minutes on legato, 15 minutes on vibrato and 30 minutes on repertoire ensuring that each area of your playing gets sufficient time and nothing is neglected.
Turn off your phone, close Facebook and tell your family you’re not to be disturbed. You might think you just practiced for an hour but did you really? If you stopped to send a text message every two minutes, answered a phone call or had a conversation with your girlfriend then not only have you wasted time, you’ve also lost focus and have been practicing inefficiently. It might not seem like a big deal but memorising even the simplest of information requires great concentration and every time you’re distracted it’s like someone pressing the reset button and undoing all of your hard work. Make practice time for nothing but practice. 15 minutes of extremely focussed practice each day will make you progress faster than 3 hours of distracted, poor quality practice. Turn off you computer and switch on your brain, your friends and family can do without you for an hour and you can really do with the practice.
Putting just one of these three ideas into practice will see you making huge gains in your guitar playing skills. Putting all three will see you progress shoot through the roof. These are just a few of many ways you can make your practice more efficient and I hope that you benefit greatly by implementing them. Lastly remember, quality always trumps quantity.
About The Author
Michael is a progressive rock guitarists and highly sought after guitar teacher from Melbourne, Australia. He’s battled Facebook addiction many times over the years and came out on top. If you’re serious about your guitar playing then taking guitar lessons in Melbourne will make you a better player.