The biggest problem that students face in practicing guitar is developing the habit of daily guitar practice. Finding the time and having the self discipline to develop a daily routine is the number one problem. Only you can develop the strategy to make that happen. Typically, if you're going to develop a new habit another habit needs to be eliminated.
How to practice guitar – effective solutions
The biggest problem that students face in practicing guitar is developing the habit of daily guitar practice. Finding the time and having the self discipline to develop a daily routine is the number one problem. Only you can develop the strategy to make that happen. Typically, if you’re going to develop a new habit another habit needs to be eliminated. When are you wasting time each day that could be more productive if you were practicing your guitar? Eliminate that habit and use that time to practice guitar.
The second biggest problem student’s face is inefficient practice sessions. Once you’ve developed a daily routine of guitar pracitce it’s time to make that routine more efficient. You can make twice as much progress with an efficient routine. The secret is focus. Face it, it’s easy to get scattered – to go in too many directions and fail to accomplish much of anything due to a lack of focus. You must eliminate distractions during your practice sessions and encourage focus. You can’t do this by constantly checking Facebook to see what people are saying about your cat photos and reading comments on your status. Another distraction is email, that will take you down the wrong path. Turn the ringer off of your phone and be sure your family understands that this is your practice time. You won’t be able to accomplish your goals and practice effectively unless distractions are eliminated. There will be plenty of time to handle those diversions later.
Time to Focus
Beware of mindlessness. When your thoughts wander it’s the single biggest focus killer. During practice sessions you must be focused like a laser. So to create effective practice sessions you must eliminate distractions and focus all of your efforts on your guitar playing goals.
When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 he streamlined the company’s strategy to focus on just four products, each designed for a specific market. This focus created a huge turnaround for Apple. I want you to take this same approach to practicing guitar.
To move toward your goal as quickly as possible you need to limit practice sessions to a few important topics and allocate most of your time to the most important topic. Studying favorite chord progressions using the mixolydian mode might have to wait. Focus does mean that some information and interests are going to be eliminated.
You are unique, your practice sessions must reflect that
We all have different goals so each individual’s practice session is unique. For example, a beginner’s practice session bears little resemblance to how an advanced player needs to study. Regardless of your level of experience or your goal, there are still five areas that need to be addressed to create your perfect personal practice session:
1. Pick your immediate goal. What would you like to accomplish in the next six months?
2. Choose the five most important areas that you need to work on to realize this short term goal.
3. Create a schedule that allocates the most time to the primary topic and progressively less time for each of the other four topics.
4. Some of these topics must be dedicated to reviewing what is being learned in other topics. If a goal is to learn a new song each week, for example, time must be allocated to practice songs that you already know.
5. Keep track of what you’re working on: record the date, beats per minute, notes and all other aspects of your sessions. If you have a list of twenty songs that you’re working on and you’ve completed the fifth song today, for example, you need to mark your place so you’ll continue with the sixth song in an upcoming practice session. You need to keep track of progress and be sure that you’re working through your list without constantly repeating the same things.
Here’s an app that will focus your practice sessions like a laser
Now you know everything that I recommend for your perfect practice sessions. You can take this information, implement it and you will accomplish your goals in record time. If you feel that you need a little extra help, I’m offering you that. Bryan Marcotte, a Metal Method student and I created an inexpensive app that will help you create a personal practice schedule. It’s called Practice Session Creator. This app will focus your attention on your five most important topics and is flexible enough to change as often as necessary. It also keeps track of progress and is flexible enough to change topics at any time. This app is an Excel spreadsheet.
To use this spreadsheet you must have Microsoft Excel installed on your computer or install a free program that reads Excel spreadsheets. You don’t need to know anything about Excel to use this program. Two free Excel compatible programs are the Apache Open Office “Calc” download program or iCloud “Numbers” download program.
Some of the information that appears in this article was from a book review in the Los Angeles Times newspaper: “Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence by Daniel Goleman”. To explore this subject further please check out this article. At the top of the article you have a choice of two selections text and paper. Choose “paper”