Being a guitar teacher, that is obviously one of the question I do like to hear. Because if someone asks this, they are obviously interested in making sure that the quantity and quality of their practice gets them the results they expect. Usually, I’m being asked how to minimize of even avoid to practice.
How you practice your instrument is directly linked to your ultimate success. And I can’t emphasize enough that you can’t get away with shortcuts. “Learning Guitar In Your Sleep” might sound good as an advertisement and unfortunately there are enough people out there who fall for these dubious offers, ultimately realizing that they just threw a good amount of cash out of the window and still haven’t learned to play the guitar.
So in the context of the question how to practice guitar, let’s talk about the two most important aspects, the quality and the quantity.
Quantity of Guitar Practice: you will get all different kinds of opinions on that and it is hard to give you the one golden rule. However, based on my experience as a guitar teacher, I require my students of the Beginners Guitar Course to put in a minimum of 20 minutes per day for 5-6 days per week. Now to be very clear here, this is the bare minimum. What I would ideally like to see is one hour a day, 5-6 days a week. If you can commit to that on a regular basis, your success is almost inevitable. Unfortunately, most students only stay on schedule for the first few weeks, and then they start to get off track. Learning to play the guitar, or any other instrument for that matter, requires you to take care of your part of the deal. There is no way around that. And if your personal circumstances don’t allow for the minimum I described above, it will be extremely challenging to get you reasonable results. Also, I rather see my students practicing 20 minutes per day consistently, as opposed to 1 hour a day in the beginning and then later on 5-10 minutes every other day. Consistency trumps, there’s no doubt about it.
Quality of Guitar Practice: this is equally important to the quantity. When I started learning the guitar, I had access to three TV programs. The TV was turned on only at certain times when there was actually something on that was determined to be worthwhile watching. Looking at my own family nowadays, I have to admit that at least one of our six TVs in our house is always running, no matter if someone is actually paying attention to what nonsense is being broadcasted. Now, just add I-Pads, laptops and cellphones to the equation and you see that these days we have so many more things that distract us from staying focused on one single task at a time. I am no exception. However, when it comes to practicing guitar, nothing is worse than getting pulled aside every 30 seconds because of a new Facebook message, a photo update on the cell or that email that just came in on the Blackberry that says “urgent”. I keep urging my students to make time for themself as they practice. It’s only 20 minutes. As a matter of fact, if you take my Beginners Guitar Course, you will get a whole speech from me where I demand of you to eliminate all potential distractions. While we are talking about an online guitar course and therefore no means for me to enforce my preaching, I make it abundantly clear that you must follow a set of rules in order to get the most out of the program.
How To Practice Guitar – A Few Practical Tips:
1.) Commit to a minimum of 20 minutes a day, 5-6 days a week.
2.) If possible do one hour a day, 5-6 days a week.
3.) Make sure you are alone in a room just by yourself.
4.) Eliminate all background noises (TV, I-Pod, Cell, etc.)
5.) Do not have Facebook, Twitter, Email, etc. open while you practice