How To Stop Wasting 40-70% Of Your Guitar Practice Time And Become A Better Guitarist Faster
by Tom Hess
The greatest challenge you’ll face when it comes to attaining your guitar playing goals is NOT “too little practice time” ...nor is it “not knowing enough” about guitar playing. Instead you must learn how to become extremely efficient in the use of your practice time.
After working together with thousands of guitar students over the years to help them become great players, I’ve seen the ineffective practice habits of most guitarists. Fact is, many guitarists waste the majority of their practice sessions. If you are wasting practice time like this, you can expect to significantly prolong how long it will take you to achieve your guitar playing goals. To truly make progress, you must get the maximum possible results from the time you spend during your practice sessions.
Make your practice time more effective by completing this free guitar practice routine assessment.
These are the 4 practice habits you must avoid in order to make faster progress:
1. Practicing Some Tasks Too Much While Practicing Others “Not Enough”
This is a very frequent mistake I see. Here’s why it happens:
1. A lot of guitarists believe everything should be practiced for an even amount of time. This is a very destructive approach and I’ll tell you why: all guitar skills should NOT be practiced with the same frequency. For example, songwriting needs to be worked on less often, but with more time used per practice session. In contrast, technical guitar skills may require more frequent practice while using moderate time used each session. When you arbitrarily divide up the time you spend on each task into equal parts in your routine, you schedule too much time for some things and not enough for others. This slows down your progress in all areas due to creating imbalance in your skills.
2. It’s common for guitarists to only practice on things they are already good at. As a result, they don’t improve their weaknesses, bringing their overall guitar playing down as a whole.
You need to allocate time for different skills based on different factors. These include: how much time you have per day to practice, your current level with a certain skill, your unique musical goals, and how specific items are practiced and improved. Change any of these things and you must change your practice schedule. If you don’t, you’ll end up making little to no progress.
2. Practicing Guitar Playing Elements In The Incorrect Order
The order of items you practice is fundamental to how much/little improvement you see from each practice session. This will apply to you on both a micro level and a macro level. Macro level being defined as: types of musical skills (such guitar playing technique, songwriting, improvising, etc.). The micro level means the particular exercises within each bigger category. To make your practice a lot more effective, you must find the best order for working on both the types of musical skills and the specific exercises within each category.
To make your practicing sessions highly efficient, use the guitar practice routine generator.
3. You Don’t Warm Up Effectively Before Each Practice Session
Everyone is aware that you need to warm up before getting into a heavy practice session. However, not many people do this on a consistent basis and even less do this properly. So many players think that “warming up” is done to warm up their fingers using chromatic licks or other such exercises. This totally wastes your time, and here’s the two main reasons why:
2. Even worse, warm up exercises are often practiced in a completely mindless manner – without even paying attention (while watching tv, talking to someone, etc.). This bad habit often transfers over to “real” practice once the warm up is over.
Stop using these pointless warm up exercises. The exercises you should be using to warm up are the ones you actually set out to practice in the first place – merely played at a slower speed. Pay close attention while you warm up as well so that your brain is being actively “warmed up” in addition to your fingers.
4. Practicing At Speeds That Your Brain Can’t Catch Up To
“Practicing guitar” is so much more than just “burning the same basic movements into your head by repeating them over and over again”. You must focus both your mind and your ears on specific parts of your playing and refine them. Rather than playing an arpeggio pattern over and over, pay attention to your picking hand to ensure that you aren’t using unnecessary motion. Additionally, you could practice while making sure that the notes of the arpeggio do not blend together as you move from one string to the next.
As you play, your brain constantly analyzes each note in order to tell your fingers where to move. If you generally practice faster than your mind can “analyze”, you are only reinforcing the habits you already have - whether they are effective or ineffective ones.
Now that you have a better understanding of the main reasons why so many guitar players cannot get results from their practice sessions, work on finding out exactly what you must do to make your practice more effective. To get started with this, complete this guitar practice routine assessment.