Making the most of your practice time

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Making the most of your practice time

For those of us who battle with the hectic modern lifestyle it can often be difficult to make time for practice. Families, work and life’s little surprises always have a habit of getting in the way of a good practice session! When we do make some time for practice it is important to make that precious time count. So here are five very simple things that will make your practice more efficient and enjoyable.

1. Nails and strings

Preparing your nails and making sure that your strings are in good condition can make the difference between a frustrating and enjoyable practice session. Left hand nails that are not clipped short can make you feel inaccurate and create string buzzing, similarly, by not preparing your right hand nails before practicing you will not be making your best sound and you should always try play with your best sound for both consistency and enjoyment.

2. Stretch and warm up

You young ones out there can probably get away with jumping out of bed and pumping through scales at full speed but as many of you know, once you pass through those care free twenties… things start to change. Develop the habit of stretching before during and after practice session along with a warm up routine of scales and exercises. Your body will thank you later.
3. Goals

Practicing without a purpose will always give mixed results. However, if you take the time to decide on a few goals for your practice session – like mastering a particular passage or improving your tone – then you will advance more quickly and you will also feel more satisfied with your practice session.

4. Scoooooooooooooore

Many centuries ago the notation gods and the guitar gods must have had a falling out because guitarists seem to have a marked aversion to using a score while practicing. Often we guitarists will abandon a piece once it has been committed to memory and because of this we can easily wander through pieces playing random parts here and there without any real focus. Keep the score nearby, become more fluent in reading notation and benefit from a more structured practice session.

5. Recording

If you really want to make a difference in your playing take the extra step of recording yourself playing a piece. Of course, recording alone will not make the difference… you have to listen to it! Mark down any weak spots in your playing and make an effort to improve them. Become the best teacher you ever had.

Leave your own practice suggestions in the comments below.

2016-10-24T00:20:24+00:00 2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. lawrence hiun December 28, 2010 at 3:05 am - Reply

    Practicing needs to be in a quiet place and choosing a good place to practice is important to guitarist.
    As mentioned by Simon, we need to have good seat and fresh air when we want to learn and absorb musical inspiration.

    Maybe we must have different places when we want to look for musical inspiration. I start my practice by listening to my guitarist idols… Paco de Lucia, Andreas Segovia, Julian Bream and John Williams and many others.

  2. Profile photo of TonyS
    TonyS July 9, 2015 at 11:54 am - Reply

    I agree 100% with the recording yourself segment of this lesson. There is nothing more critical about your playing than your own ear and while you play I find that you get a different idea of how you really sound. Try recording even just a few lines of your favourite piece and I bet you will find loads of things to work on that you didn’t realises needed work.

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