One of the most common questions beginning guitar students ask me is, “How much should I practice?” I generally answer that question by saying that it isn’t the QUANTITY of practice that determines how quickly a student progress through their guitar lessons, but rather it is the QUALITY of the practice sessions that really makes a difference. So, if you are at all serious about wanting to learn to play the guitar, you should always practice with a plan. Read more >>
A good practice plan can be as simple as just defining your goals. I like to think of goals as belonging to 3 different categories:
1.) What do I want to accomplish in the next 6 months?
2.) What do I want to accomplish this week (before my next lesson)?
3.) What do I want to accomplish right now (in this practice session)?
Everyone can think of goals that fall into the first category. Perhaps you want to master a difficult song, or learn to play in the style of your favorite artist. The problem most students face is breaking down their long-term goals into the weekly or daily goals. A large part of my job as a guitar instructor is knowing how to break up these larger goals into manageable steps that students can follow one day at a time.
Here are a few examples of some of the short term goals I’m talking about:
Before you begin a practice session you should write down what your goals are for the session. If you plan to practice for 30 minutes, and your guitar teacher has given you 5 exercises to practice this week, break up that time into 5 six-minute segments. Then keep an eye on the time and as you complete each segment check off that you have completed it. This is how you achieve a RIGHT-NOW kind of goal. You said you were going to work on each exercise for a specific amount of time and you did. Great job!
I like to write my practice goals for the entire week on a single sheet of paper in a spiral notebook labeled “GUITAR PRACTICE”. This way I can keep track of exactly how much practice I’m putting in each week. Usually my WEEKLY GOAL is to accomplish the same practice routine as many times as I can during the week. A solid 30-minute practice routine is all most students need. So your WEEKLY GOAL can be to practice your 30-minute routine at least 5 days during the week. If you do this you have accomplished your WEEKLY GOAL and you will be ready to start working on new material when you go in for your next guitar lesson.
All you really have to do is keep track of these small, relatively easy goals. If you consistently meet your daily and weekly goals you will find yourself achieving your long-term goals faster than you ever thought was possible!
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