How To Develop Good Practice Habits

How To Develop Good Practice Habits

unknownHow to develop good practice habits in anything you choose to learn is very important. This is especially true for playing guitar.  Playing guitar is one of the easiest to get started with, but one of the hardest to master

The reason for this is because of the wide variety of approaches you can take to playing the instrument.  By knowing how to develop good practice habits, you’ll be able to progress your learning faster and ultimately progress your playing quicker.

Practice Time-when to practice

It is always best to start out in very small increments of time.  This will allow your muscles to develop.  Muscles in the hands, wrists, and fingers need to be developed and this can only be done through time.  With proper practice habits, this can be accomplished which will allow you to progress more rapidly.

Start with 10 to 15 minutes, then proceed to 30 minutes, 45 minutes and so on and so on.  This will accomplish two things.  Develop your muscles consistently, and develop retaining the information you are learning on a day to day basis.

One of the most common mistakes that people make with learning guitar is that they practice for an hour or two for one day and then don’t practice for two or three days.  Don’t make this mistake!

Practice Space-where to practice

Have a specific space to practice in.  This could be an extra bedroom, basement, or garage.  It doesn’t really matter where it is as long as it’s a place that makes you want to pick up your guitar and learn how to play it.  A place where you can play what you have already learned.

Having a place to practice is helpful because when you sit down to learn, your mind gets focused and you concentrate better.  With the proper environment, you will see that you progress much faster and more easily.

Practice Daily-learn faster

You’ll progress faster if you practice a little every day and retain the information.  You’ll notice your progress, start having fun and will feel motivated to keep going.  Practice what you’ve learned, and work on learning new things.

Another common mistake is for students to only practice what they are already good at.  This is fun and all but progress in learning is stopped.  Don’t make this mistake either!  It’s best to review what your good at, continue to work on things that you’re not so you can get better, and work on putting it all together in an application.

Know Your Notes and Chords 

Get to know how all the notes work to form chords and scales.  How songs are constructed.  Why putting together some things work, and putting together some things don’t. This is a bit more advanced if you’re just starting out, but be sure to retain your basic fundamentals at all times.  What string are you playing on?  What chord are you playing?  ?Major or minor  What type of chord is it? What notes are in the chord?

Practice Routine-what to practice

Practicing guitar should be much like working out in exercise.  Knowing how to develop good practice habits allows you to plan out what you are going to work on and work on each thing for a specific amount of time.  Example:  Basic chords (5 minutes) Finger exercises (5 minutes) Songs you already know (10-15 minutes) Knowing your notes (5-10 minutes) new songs your currently learning (10-15 minutes) and any scales you might know if your at that level.

Practicing just these few things that have been mentioned above will allow you to put in plenty of time to continue getting better on a daily basis.  If you have something specific that you want to accomplish (a specific song perhaps) then work on that for the duration of time.  The main point here is that you practice consistently.  Do this and you will see good results in your playing.

Practice Habits Conclusion

If you get focused, set goals and practice a little bit daily, you will see clearly and quickly why this is important and continue to do so.  Work on getting a clear tone when forming chords. playing scales, and developing your signature sound.  Follow these examples, learn how to develop good practice habits and you will progress forward faster.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me and I will guide you in the right direction.

Also, be sure to grab my FREE action-guide “Beginner Guitar Secrets” for more insider actionable tips to help you get moving in the right direction.

Additional lessons:

Dunlop crybaby wah pedal review

How to switch between guitar chords faster

How to hold your guitar pick better

Until our next lesson, develop good “practice habits” and see your fun of playing guitar progress.

Sincerely, Dwayne


3 Deadly Practice Mistakes To Avoid!

How do you get better on the guitar?

Just keep practicing right?images-1

Wrong!

Practice mistakes are normal when learning an instrument.  But if you want to improve your guitar playing you have to do more than just practice you must know WHAT to practice and HOW to practice. There a lot of ‘old wives’ tales and myths floating around about practicing music that basically goes like this “if you lock yourself away for a couple of hours a day you will become an accomplished player!

The real-world version goes more like this “if you lock yourself away for a couple of hours every day without a definite practice strategy and clearly defined goal(s) there’s a good chance your guitar playing could be going around and around in circles, you may lose your enthusiasm and motivation and possibility give up guitar and music altogether”. It’s true and unfortunately, it’s already happened to thousands of players.  I don’t agree 100% with the “practice makes perfect” phrase, rather… “perfect practice makes perfect!”

Mistake 1:

To just keep on practicing – You know the old saying “if you find yourself in a hole the best thing to do is stop digging!” Good advice but something that is not often applied to guitar practice. If you find your guitar playing going nowhere it means your making practice mistakes.  I recommend you stop doing that and take the time to get your playing back on track.

Solution:

STOP! whatever you are doing on guitar and take out a blank piece of paper draw a line down the middle of the page, on the left-hand side of the page make a heading “things to work on” then on the right-hand side of the page make a heading titled “why”. When you have finished your page should look like this:

Things To Work On.  Why?

The idea is for you to:

(a) identify the areas of your guitar playing that need work and

(b) have a reason for working on these problems. Once your brain has something definite to work on your whole body will take on a different attitude to practicing and playing the guitar and you will find yourself moving towards your goals rapidly.

The trick

Write things down on paper so you can look at the problem without the guitar in your hands; otherwise, there’s a good chance you will send a lot of time working on aspects of your playing that actually don’t need work. Essentially a lot of practice time is literally thrown out the window.  These are practice mistakes to avoid and if not, it’s wasted time.  Once you get a laser beam fix on your targeted ‘problem’ areas you will soon overcome your guitar playing obstacles.

Mistake 2:

Practicing too fast – everyone does this but only the best players learn how to control and discipline themselves to overcome this hazard.

Solution: Understand that “speed comes as a by-product of accuracy” not the other way around. It’s not an achievement to say that you are a “fast and sloppy player” there’s no great skill involved there, in fact, anyone could do that… … you could give your guitar to the postman and he could run his fingers up and down the strings as fast as he could but you wouldn’t call that a memorable musical experience would you? … of course not! Write that down in BIG letters and carry it with you in your guitar case “Speed is a by-product of accuracy”. Learn to practice everything in s-l-o-w motion in the same manner as people practice martial arts.

Mistake 3:

not making the distinction between data and motor skill practice.

Solution: Before you begin a practice session be clear which type of practice mistakes to avoid to achieve your current musical goals. Basically, there are two types of guitar practice: Data memory training – this is where you are learning something new; these sessions must be kept short 2-5 minutes maximum. Motor skills training – this is where you are practicing something you already know; practice sessions are typically 20-30mins in duration.

It’s possible to learn something wrong and practice it until the mistake becomes ingrained and very difficult to re-learn, often the player lacks the sheer determination to overcome the musical ‘banana-peel’ and the mistake becomes a fatal one. Don’t let this happen to you, understand the concepts above and apply them to your next practice session on guitar.

Conclusion:

When approaching guitar practice always be sure to be aware of these 3 deadly practice mistakes. Learning to play guitar is a journey.  Some a few months, some a few years, some a lifetime.  No matter your situation, always remember to stay focused!!   Focused on your learning, practicing and most of all, why you are doing the work. Also, have no doubt.  Learning the guitar is work, but it can also be quite enjoying work.  And you know what they say, “if you love what you do, it does not work”,  So follow these tips and have some fun.  That’s what learning guitar is all about, having fun!!

And if you have any questions about what your learning, feel free to reach out.  Leave a comment or contact me.  We’ll be sure to get you moving in the right direction.

Be sure to view additional lessons:

How to recognize notes on your fretboard

How to use a capo and why it’s beneficial to your playing

Until our next lesson, take care.

Sincerely, Guitar Teacher, Dwayne Jenkins