The most successful musicians understand that practice is the way to the top. It’s important to be aware that practice is not the same with wasting time. Many guitarists are wasting their time, thinking they actually practice and therefore there is no visible improvement of their playing skills.
Playing guitar can be a mess when you don’t know how, what and when to practice. You most probably know very well that moment when you are practicing a lot without getting any results (or invisible improvements, if any) or when you are just bored practicing the same stuff over and over again, with the same mediocre results.
When this happens it is very clear that you are doing it WRONG. This means that you cannot practice by yourself yet.
A good practice session is only possible when you are very good at TIME MANAGEMENT.
You may have heard a lot of guitar players complaining that they only have 30 minutes per day for guitar practice. Well, if you have a well-structured study schedule and the will to hold on to it, then 30 minutes per day will not only work to your advantage, but will actually boost your guitar playing technique and allow you to reach your goals FASTER, with LESS effort.
People think that learning some new ‘hot licks’ from youtube or simply learning new songs will somehow replace the enormous benefit of a proper practice session. And this is not how things actually are. Because if that piece is chosen unwisely, it will harm you more than it will help you.
Here’s a few reasons why:
- a *new thing* might miss out on some of the techniques YOU need in order to reach your goals
- some of the *new stuff* might be too advanced for your current skills => you will most probably become unmotivated to continue with musicianship, after a few sessions like this
- the mandatory skills for learning this *new thing* are not pushing your guitar playing one step further with each practice session, like they should => lots of wasted time
- if you don’t know how to approach particular techniques, you will definitely hurt your guitar playing (i.e. sweep picking or legato… but it’s applicable to any other technique as well) => regress instead of progress
These new things have to be wisely integrated in your current playing step-by-step, in order to keep you on the right track.
Of course that having a big repertoire is a good card to play when needed, but it will not help YOU solve your problem.
It has to be clear for us that Practice is not the same with Rehearsal.
A good example is a violinist’s study program:
- his learning process is filled with different disciplines to rehearse, in various contexts like: orchestra, chamber music, quartet, quartet and piano, strings quartet, orchestra plus choir and, of course, violin solo sessions, among many other classes
- all these areas of study are constantly supplemented with practice
- moreover, every little aspect of his musicianship is isolated and wisely guided, through practice sessions, towards violin shredding
- usually, the teacher that is responsible for the solo meetings is the one that shapes the young musician (by recommending the RIGHT THINGS TO PRACTICE, WITH NO WASTED TIME) and helps him to master each aspect of his playing, considering his PERSONAL NEEDS AND GOALS
A practice session is the one that prepares you for the rehearsal room. There are indeed things that can be practiced together with your band… but for this you already need to be at your band’s expectations level. That means that you have to practice alone first, in order to be able to practice with your band.
Things are getting better when you can overcome those troubling moments by having a rigorous program that:
- breaks down all the areas of your current skills
- provides efficient approaches to improve those skills
- wisely prepares you for the next level
- efficiently integrates the new-level-skills into your guitar playing…
so that you can start again from the top.