Here are my top 5 practice tips for getting more from your practice time!
See below the video for my brief blog post plus my #1 top tip!
Top 5 practice tips for guitarists
#5 - Playing vs practicing
We all love playing guitar. But just playing songs that we already know is NOT practice. Practicing is when you are working to improve something specific, such as a technique, scale or learning the strucutre of a song. All of this can be done through playing songs, but your playing time must have a purpose, working towards doing something better by the end of it. Practice time must be to improve something. Dedicated practice will supercharge your progress more than anything else.
#4 - Have a dedicated practice space
Practicing in the front room while others are watching TV is no good. You'll only get disturbed and distracted. Worse still, other may not want to hear you as they are trying to watch TV/ play computer games etc - so you'll get negative reinforcement from practicing! A dedicated practice space can be the corner of a bedroom, a dining, or better still a proper practice room where no one can disturb you and you can make some noise!
#3 - Get a practice routine/ break your practice routine!
Building a practice routine and having a plan for each session is essential for best progress. However, if you stick to the same routine for more than 2 weeks to a month, your progress will stagnate and practice will become boring. Build a routine - then change it every 2 to 4 weeks (depending on how often you play)
#2 - Don't practice mistakes, zoom in on them
We've all done it. We play a song that we know well, then when we get to the tricky bit or the solo, we make the same mistake every time. So what do we do? Go back and play the same thing over and over again! This is NOT practicing! Practicing would be playing in isolation (no backing track), stopping BEFORE the mistake, slowing right down so it is way too slow and making sure that every note is correct. Playing super slow and checking each note as you go is the only way to play the faster, harder part correctly. take your time, do it slowly and get it right rather than just practicing your mistakes!
Finally, my NUMBER 1 TIP!
#1 - Record yourself!
Fortunately, when i was first learning guitar, my older brother taught me the basics of computer based recording. I'd say this is the number 1 thing that helped me improve my playing faster than anything else. Recording give you the feedback that a teacher, or musicians, or even the audience would give you. This is the best waty to hear what your are doing well, and what you need to improve. You can now record or just film yourself playing guitar on a mobile or tablet, it has never been easier to track your progress and analyse your strengths and weaknesses to imrpove your playing!