Everyone loves to play an instrument but hates to practice. We’veWe’ve all been there! However, practicing your instrument leads to improved technique, which leads to you sounding better, which makes you happy, which makes you want to practice more… you see where I’mI’m going with this, right?
In order to be organized and efficient, it is always good to have a basic practice routine set up to get the most out of your time on the instrument. Having a practice routine ensures that you have more confidence in the moment of the performance. It also helps you with your development.
Daily practice is important for a couple of reasons. One of them is to build your technique, the other is to keep your hands strong. Like an athlete, your hands develop muscles and calluses from playing. If you stop playing over the course of a few days, these can weaken, leading you to put in extra time on the instrument just to get back to where you were.
Now, in today’s busy society, not everyone can set aside a lot of time to practice. However, the important part is to do it once a day, regardless of how much time you have (you may have five minutes one day, and 30 minutes the next). Even that little bit of time is better than not doing it at all. Your technique and your hands will thank you.
A focused routine
The best way to get the most out of your time is to focus on the task at hand. For this, your practice routine should be divided into three parts: 1) warm-up, 2) reviews and 3) new music.
- The warm-up is just a quick running through chords and scales to get the hands loose and ready for work. This is an important part since trying to practice with stiff hands makes playing a bit more difficult.
- Reviews are the focus of your music that you already know. You want to continue mastering the music that you already learned. A big mistake that I see with many guitarists is that they learn a new piece and then stop practicing it. The problem with this is that each piece has different technique and in many cases the guitarist master as most 50% porcent of what the music can offer you.
Also, reviewing music can boost your confidence. Being able to play a piece help with getting motivated. In many cases, all you need to do is to play 2 to 3 old pieces at completion and see what things still need work. Every piece is going to have a session that needs attention. Also, the more you do it, the easier it will be in the moment of a concert. Play it as most as you can. A friend I got that won many competitions told me, “”I play each song as many times I can because when I perform, I don’tdon’t even need to think about it. The music comes by itself without even thinking about it.””
- Finally, the moment of learning new music. Here you dedicate the time to learning new music. Most of the time, I would choose a piece that I recently learned and what Im currently working. At this time, you realized that one hour went flying because you did warm-up and reviews.
You can use these three steps with whatever amount of time you have. Below Im going to give you differenst escenarios of how I would create my time suing this 3 steps.
Example of Guitar Practice Routine
If I had 30 minutes to practice, I would break it down like this:
Warm-up: 5 minutes
Reviews: 15 minutes
New Music: 10 minutes
If I had five minutes, I would do a quick warm-up to loosen my hands, and maybe just tackle the instruction for the rest of the time. I’llI’ll apply it in a musical context at another time. But, I will be quite focused in order to get the most out of those four minutes that I’mI’m going over the material.
With 1 hour:
Warm-up: 15 minutes
Reviews: 20 minutes
New Music: 25 minutes
Of course, you can personalize this. This doesn’t need to be strict like this. The key is that you have everything organized with time. You can even add sight reading, theory, and other stuff. Of course, the more time you have, the better.
Some other tips for your guitar practice time
- It is good to add a metronome to your practice. Doing so will help us develop a good sense of time, as well as keep track of our progress.
- Remember to take new material slowly at first. You are learning it and want to make sure you do it properly. The best way to do it is to start slowly and gradually build up speed. Not doing so could lead to sloppy playing that will need to be relearned. Slow and perfect is the key.
- Don’t get frustrated. Some things can be more complex than others, so be patient and take your time. You’ll be elated once all the hard work pays off!
Organizing the practice routines helps with direction. You want to be able to pick up where you left. That’s why my reviews are very important. You even use this sequence when teaching. That way, you can help your student to have a habit on how to practice. There is nothing worst than asking your student to play something after vacation and not knowing anything. Also, do you know how frustrating it is to forget a piece after learning for six months? Oh man, that is very frustrating.
So, grab your instrument and follow these simple tips. If you do, you’ll see your playing improve by leaps and bounds in no time!