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Guitar Practice Tips – Establishing A Guitar Practice Routine That Works For You

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To be a successful guitarist, you’ll need to establish a guitar practice plan which works for you. All great guitarists practice regularly, and while there is no one best way to practice guitar that works for everybody, there are some common features that effective guitar practice schedules share. Let’s take a look at some things to consider to ensure you’re getting the most from your guitar practice routine.

It should be suited to the stage you’re at

First of all, you should practice things that are most appropriate to your current development as a guitarist. For example, if you’re just starting out, you’ll be focusing mostly on learning basic chords scales and simple melodies. Once you’ve been playing for a while, you’ll spend more time practicing more advanced techniques.

It’s obvious ready, but many beginners overextend themselves and try to tackle advanced guitar skills too soon, and then they come discouraged because they don’t have the necessary foundation in place to be able to play this stuff. So make sure you devote enough time to practising the basics before you try to move on.

Practice when you’re most alert

Guitarists of all ability levels will benefit most from practising at the time of day when they’re most awake and energetic. For some people this will be early in the morning, for others during the day, and for some it will be at night.

This can present some practical issues, especially if you have a full-time job or lots of other commitments. And your family and neighbours might not appreciate you practising in the small hours! So you may have to compromise a little, but as far as possible try to prioritise your guitar practice so you do it when you’re feeling alert, since practising when you’re half asleep will be less beneficial.

Be consistent

playing guitarIt’s also very important to be consistent with your practice routine. In fact this is probably the number one factor that separates skilled guitarists from those who never manage to make much progress. There’s no point being a ‘weekend warrior’ who practices for hours at the weekend but never touches his or her guitar during the week – while you may manage to make a bit of progress this way, it’ll be much less than you’d make if you practiced for a shorter time every day (and you’ll be less likely to injure yourself as well).

If your time is very limited during some parts of the week, it’s okay to practice a bit less on those days – even 10 or 15 minutes a day of consistent practice is better than abandoning your guitar for days at a time and then trying to make it up with mega practice sessions.

Don’t overdo things

While it’s important to practice every day, it’s equally important not to practice too much, especially in the early stages of learning to play. Playing the guitar is a physical activity, and as with any other form of exercise, it takes a while for your muscles and joints to adapt the stresses that guitar playing involves. If you try to do too much too soon, you’re more likely to injure yourself.

So, if you want to increase the amount of time you spend playing the guitar, try to do so gradually, take regular breaks during your practice sessions, and if you’re feeling any pain or discomfort stop playing.

Be flexible

We talked about how important it is to be consistent when practising guitar. Having said that, it’s also important to be flexible. If some reason your practice session is cut short on a particular day, be prepared to juggle the rest of your schedule it possible in order to fit it in later on. While this may not always be possible, if you want to progress as a guitarist you’ll need to give the guitar a high priority in your life.

And if for some reason you have to miss a day’s practice, don’t let that be an excuse to miss even more. After a few days of not playing, you’re probably going to feel a little stiff and awkward once you start again, and it takes a bit of time to regain lost ground. While this catching up process isn’t usually much fun, just suck it up and keep going. Accept that things will not always go perfectly to plan, but that’s no reason to stop playing or slack off.

Mix things up

Finally, it’s very easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to practising guitar. There are certain fundamentals that it’s important to practice regularly, such as chords, scales, exercises and the like. At the same time however, you’ll probably find yourself more motivated to keep practising the guitar if you keep your routine fresh by adding in new music to learn and other new techniques.

In particular, it can be very useful to explore styles of music that are different to what you normally play. The important thing is to get the balance right between consistency and variety – if there’ s not enough variety, you’ll get bored, but too much and you’ll be flitting around all over the place without making much progress.

 
Hopefully these guitar practice tips will help you to gain more from your practice sessions and enjoy them more as well. If you’ve been playing for a while, you probably know what you need to practice, but if you’re new to the guitar, you’ll benefit from following a well structured course of professionally produced guitar lessons, and incorporating what you learn into your daily practice routine. I recommend the Jamorama guitar course – you can read my detailed review of Jamorama here.

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