Great! You have set a realistic practice goal, and you are warming up for 5 minutes every time you practice...
But what do you do next?
This is probably the most crucial moment in your practice session. This is when you have the most energy and you are the most excited to get going. You are not mentally fatigued from practicing yet and you are ready to conquer the world!
Now you have to use the time wisely, because trust me, it won't take long before you get tired and loose focus... I know that I have about 10 minutes before I get the itch to check my phone or go on Facebook and so do YOU. Once you've touched your phone, it's game over.
In this phase of my practice session, I try to work on some general musical principles. This is where I work on all my scales, arpeggios, and any technical issues I am encountering. Basically all the building blocks you need to know the instrument better. Now of course you won't have time to go through all of that in 10 minutes. That's why you spread different tasks out throughout the week.
Also, it's important to set a timer for this time. Once the 10 minutes are up, you are done! It doesn't matter if you got through all 5 positions or not. It doesn't even matter if you only played one scale the whole time. The time is now up. You have made great progress, even if it doesn't feel that way! At the end of the 10 minutes, you track your progress and set a goal for the next time you are working on this issue.
Here is a nifty little weekly schedule:
Print one for every week and fill it out as you go! Eventually you can start to change the goals. Use the notes section to track the progress you are making. Then use the general notes section to write down observations/revelations you have made throughout the week.
Keep this up for several weeks and you are destined to make great progress!
Remember tiny consistent progress turns into great change!
p.s. If you are interested in learning more, check out my course Guitar Solos Made Easy!
Today I want to talk about one of the most important parts of YOUR practice session...
THE WARM-UP ROUTINE!
If there is a part of my practice sessions that I am likely to skip, it's this one. and that's a shame... It is literally like skipping that little bit of cardio before lifting weights. Not only does the warm-up routine get your fingers moving, it gets you mentally prepped for the session ahead.
So what's the perfect warm-up routine and how long should it last?
For a 30-minute practice session, I would say that a 5-minute warm-up routine is perfect! I would even set a timer. That way you don't have to think about the time and you won't be distracted by looking at the clock (your phone) all the time.
Now what to practice?
I wouldn't recommend doing scales or arpeggios right of the bat. Save that for later in your sessions. When you are warming up, the goal is to just get the muscles moving. It should be fairly simple and it does not have to sound musical at all.
Here are a couple of exercises that I use all the time:
Click HERE for a PDF!
Keep in mind that even though the exercises are written in 16th-notes, you don't have to play them that fast at all. You can play them at whatever tempo you prefer!
I would recommend keeping the tempo slow and steady though! Use a metronome as much as you can. If you have a hard time playing with a metronome you can find drum samples or loops online for FREE. I find that it is much easier for me/my students to play along to a drumbeat than it is to play to a metronome. However, in the long run a metronome is a crucial step to taking your playing to the next level!
- Focus on a steady beat
- Don't play too fast (slow and steady wins the raise)
- Gradually increase the tempo
- Focus on alternate picking
Now go play some guitar!
p.s. If you are interested in learning more, check out my course Guitar Solos Made Easy...
Today, I want to share with you my thoughts on how much time you should spend practicing every day!
Because when it comes to practicing, there are many thoughts:
- If I want to get good, I need to practice 3-6 hours every day!
- It takes 10,000 hours to master my craft!
- I can't get anything done in a short amount of time!
Here are my thoughts:
If you are just starting out, I think you should set a daily practice goal of 30-minutes per day for 5 days a week.
Don't shoot for 1 hour!!!
I'll tell you exactly why... If you're like me, an hour feels like a long time. I also like to start my 1-hour long practice sessions right on the hour (say 5pm-6pm). However, if I miss my 5pm start time by like 16 minutes, I will think that the hour has already slipped away from me...
I know it's dumb, but it's true. This means that I "can't" start my practice session until 6pm. Then I start stressing about my practice session and it all goes down hill from there... This equals no practice for me or worse, a really bad practice session!
So you want to aim for 30 minutes. 30 minutes is pretty easy, it's not a huge commitment, it's not intimidating. 30 minutes fits neatly into an hour without feeling threatening. And if 30 minutes feels threatening, guess what ? I would just aim for 15 minutes instead. In your mind, you want the practice session to be a tiny commitment. Something so small that you can't possibly fail at it.
Now here is the kicker, once you get going, you'll probably practice for more than 30-minutes!!! You'll get so excited about what you are working on that time will just fly by... You'll look up and 1 hour has gone by. How did that happen?!? That went by quickly!
Well, I'll tell you exactly how it happened! You let your guard down and started your practice session...
And 10,000 hours? That holds pretty true if your goal is to be in the top 5% of guitarists. But if you do the math (10,000/3hrs per day/365 days in a year), that's roughly 10 years of deliberate practice. I just wouldn't focus on that number... The best thing to do is to start with small commitments and you'll find yourself working your way up to big commitments soon enough.
If you are interested in learning more, check out my course: Guitar Solos Made Easy!