Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Setting A Guitar Practice Schedule Is Important

Would you like to learn to play the guitar? If so, what would you like to achieve? Would you just like the basic skills necessary to play simple songs for your friends or would you like to become a musician and put on your own concert? What genre of music will you perform? Before attempting to practice the guitar you must know what your goals are and have an end result in mind.

As you practice on guitar you must remember that developing good guitar playing skills does not happen overnight. One very common trap beginners tend to fall into is quitting too soon. This is simply because they haven’t yet learned to play the way they’d like to. Any successful guitar player knows that one must be aware of what he/she wants to achieve, establish a guitar practice routine, and stick with it. Depending on how skilled you wish to become, you may be spending the rest of your life practicing guitar as you progress from one skill level to another.

Once you have realistic goals in mind, I recommend that you set some time aside each day to practice guitar. For those who are working adults or full-time students, about 45 to 60 minutes a day is perfect. Attempting to practice 8 hours a day is an unrealistic commitment. So just make a reasonable guitar practice schedule and stay with it.

Never spend extra-long sessions practicing because you’ve neglected to practice for several consecutive days. Consistent practicing is necessary for the body and the human mind to learn and take in new information on a daily basis. Say for example, if you were a professional athlete, would you workout for 16 hours one day because you missed the previous 4 days? Absolutely not! The same principle applies when you’re practicing to play the guitar. The best guitar practice happens when you spend 20 minutes a day or more learning how to play.

Now I would like to tell how I created my own guitar practice schedule while pursuing my degree in engineering. When I first became devoted to playing guitar I was also studying full time and realized that I couldn’t spend 3 to 4 hours a day, as I would have liked to, playing the guitar. Considering my study requirements I was only able to set 1 hour per day practicing in the following manner:

Simple Practice Plan

1st part: Warm ups ~ 10 minutes 2nd part: Theoretical stuff ~ e.g Practicing scales, chords ~15minutes 3rd part: Ear training ~ 10 mins 4th part: Guitar Techniques ~ e.g alternate picking, tapping etc ~15mins 5th part: Learning songs ~ 15mins (This is the part I enjoy most ? ) 6th part: Improvisation ~ 10mins

There were some days, especially during exams, where I couldn’t set aside one hour to practice. Still I would commit to 10-15 minutes of practice just to warm up my fingers and keep them in shape.

Also remember that your guitar practice schedule is not written in stone. Feel free to take additional time to practice any day you can. When learning guitar, everyone has their own unique learning capacity and personal needs. You will benefit by putting extra time in where you feel it’s needed. Also note, there is a difference in playing and practicing. Playing is simply using skills you already have while practicing is spending time to work on skills you need to improve. While practicing, you should devote part of your time learning new techniques and the rest of it practicing old material. This will make sessions more fun and beneficial.

As you move onto new material and more advanced techniques you may become frustrated. This will be because you’ll find some of them too difficult at first. Anytime this happens, simply take a break and walk away from the guitar for awhile. Never force yourself to learn while you’re uptight. This will only slow down your progress and kill you motivation in a short time.

Also, remember the expression: “If you fail to plan you plan to fail.”

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