By Paul Kleff
Do you struggle to find enough time to practice guitar so that you can keep improving? Developing and implementing an effective guitar practice plan that makes the best use of your time is crucial to becoming a great guitar player.
Most guitar players don’t have any type of a practice plan. They pick up the guitar and play some things they “kind of” know and never really improve, even though they may have played the guitar for years. What you need is a practice plan that makes good use of your time and keeps you focused on practicing and mastering the fundamental guitar techniques.
A good guitar practice plan can be similar to a workout plan developed by a personal trainer that you use at the gym. A workout plan focuses on developing strength in different muscle groups, endurance and flexibility. A physical workout routine also emphasizes different exercises on different days so that all areas of the body are worked for maximum results.
How will this idea work for your guitar practice? It targets the specific skills you are trying to develop, keep your practice from getting boring and stagnant and you can also able to change and adapt it as you improve on the guitar. You will want to design a guitar workout around a specific schedule where you practice certain techniques, drills, songs and other musical skills for certain amounts of time each practice session. Your teacher should help you with this, just like a trainer at the gym.
As an example, let’s look at how to create a practice plan using this idea by selecting three important guitar skills that all guitar players want to improve:
It’s not good enough to say “I want to get better at chords.” Notice how all these practice items relate to playing and strumming chords. However, each item targets a particular area related to the topic. You must target the specific skills within the category to practice—be specific!
For the first item, say that a song you want to play has a chord change from D major to a G major chord, the strumming pattern uses an eighth note strum pattern and the song also has two new chords you haven’t learned yet (E minor 7 and A7, for example.)
(Note: This is just for example purposes and you should create your own practice drills based on your skill level and the music you want to play.)
Using these practice items, you can create a fifteen minute practice “workout” based around developing these specific skills. It could look like this:
In just fifteen minutes, you will have worked on all the component parts within the song you are learning to play. Be certain to specifically write out your practice workout items and use a timer to keep track of the time spent on each practice item. Your practice time will go by very quickly by practicing specific items for short periods of time like we have outlined. You can work through the practice plan twice in a day for a half hour of targeted practice that will keep you moving forward toward your goal—just like a daily physical workout routine.
Change the plan as you go along, adding new items and deleting items you have mastered.
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