5 Ways to Make Your Practice More Effective
As everyone knows, there’s no real secret to getting good at playing the guitar. It all comes down to hard work. When starting, that can be tough as it takes a considerable amount of commitment to break through the barrier and start reaping the benefits of your effort.
When teaching guitar it’s always so clear that the guys who could accelerate their learning and see seriously impressive improvements, were always those who exercised discipline in the way they practiced. By discipline, I mean regular practice sessions, but also structured practice sessions.
As such, I thought a post on how to structure your practice would be useful for those looking to step up the pace of their learning.
For the purpose of this post, let’s assume you’re allocating 30 minutes to your daily practice routine. Generally speaking this is enough for most people. So, you’ve decided to set aside 30 minutes per day to practice, how then should you structure those 30 minutes?
- Try and stick to the same time every day
It might sound a bit mad, but sticking to the same time slot each day can be really helpful for cementing in a routine. Personally I work best in the morning as I’m nice and fresh for the day, and the afternoon tends to bring too many distractions. Some people on the other hand love working late at night. Whatever works for you, pick a slot and stick to it.
- Divide your 30 minutes into 10 minute segments
Doing one thing for 30 minutes is going to get boring pretty quickly, almost to the point where it’s counter-productive. Instead, break your 30 minutes into three mini sessions with a different focus for each segment. Time yourself strictly, and when your 10 minutes are up – move on to the next task.
- Don’t just do the fun stuff
The enemy of learning is only playing the things you enjoy, not the things that will make you better. Like with anything in life, the harder something feels at the time, the more you’re likely to be developing. As such, save playing your favourite solo until the end, and start with a series of exercises that will really help to improve your playing.
- Know what you need to work on
Leading on naturally from point four, it’s super important to be aware of your weak spots and have a series of exercises designed specifically to work on those areas. For example, if you’re having issues changing chords, find a routine that hones right in on that issue. It probably won’t be ‘fun’, but with regular practice it will definitely make you better.
- Record yourself
Ever listened back to yourself playing and thought ‘that’s not me’? That’s because what people hear in their head, is often quite different to what others hear (good and bad!). if there’s only one thing you do to improve your practice, recording yourself should be it. It’ll help your timing, your tone, your fluidity – absolutely everything. For self-improvement, recording yourself is the single best thing you can do.
I hope this short post was useful. Happy practicing!