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How You Should Practice

Saturday, January 07, 2012
If you’re serious about being a musician then there is only one road that will get you there - practice. Practicing is a necessary key - really the only key - that will unlock the potential inside of you to become the guitar player you want to be. Practicing is something you are going to be doing a lot of to become skillful, so let’s learn how to do it most effectively. 

Practice Basics


How Often Should You Practice? 20 Minutes - 1 Hour, 5 Days a WeekPracticing Guitar


In order to keep up your physical skills, learn a few new things, and progress forward as a player 20 minutes to an hour of focused practice for 5 days out of a week is a good pace for most. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t give that much time - just give what you can.  A few minutes of focused practice will help you get where you want to go.  Regularity is the main thing - avoid not touching your guitar for a week and then binge practicing for 3 hours.  A few minutes each day will yield better and faster results.

When Should You Practice?  When your mind is fresh, clear, and relaxed.


You should practice at a time when your mind is fresh and clear.  For some, mornings are better because they feel fresh and awake.  For others, at night, after the stresses of the day have subsided is a better time to work.  Find the time that works for you.  

Where Should You Practice?  A place where you can relax and concentrate.


Your practice space doesn’t need to be elaborate - it simply needs to be a place where you can go to focus on guitar and learning.  It can even just be a corner of a room.  It helps to have a specific place free from distractions, like the TV or computer, so you can focus on your learning - a place where your guitar and materials are set out and ready for you.   

An Effective Practice Routine--Here is a sample 30-minute practice routine to give you an example of what your practice time should include.


Warm-up (5 minutes)    Hand Stretching, Finger Stretching Exercises.

Physical Technique (10 minutes)  Scales, Arpeggios, Jumping Between Chords, Metronome

Music & Songs (10 minutes)   Apply technique to an actual song.

Create & Improvise (5 minutes)  Explore musically on your instrument. Jam Tracks. Soloing.

Practice Tips--Here are some tips for getting the most from your practice time. 


Leave Your Instrument Out.

If you can, leave your instrument out on a guitar stand.  This saves you from always having to drag it in and out of its case each time you want to play.  Plus, seeing your guitar waiting for you can be a great motivator.

When working on speed, use a metronome.

If you are working on anything involving speed or technique, then always work with a metronome. Start at a slow enough speed to play whatever you are working on perfectly, then gradually, step by step, raise the tempo and keep trying until you can play it perfectly at the new tempo.  Metronome settings give you a concrete way of documenting your progress.

Keep a practice journal.

Keeping a practice journal helps you track your progress.  Write down your practice goals. Log how many minutes you practiced and what you worked on.  In time you will begin to see your progress.  Remember, always have a pencil on your music stand to make notes on what you are working on.
 Practicing doesn’t need to be a burden.  Learn to love the times where you can get away from everything and focus on your goal of learning guitar.

Check out the award winning Gibson’s Learn & Master Guitar course at www.LearnAndMaster.com for all the help you need to become the player you want to be!
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