Include These Seven Things In Your Daily Guitar Practice
By Allen Hopgood
To become the great guitar player you want to be, is going to take some work on your part. You simply cannot attend guitar lessons and receive information or purchase a book and hope to become a great guitarist, just by sitting there. Its necessary to have discipline and dedication to being the type of guitarist you imagine.
To help you advance quicker and play better, below is a simple practice schedule you can use as a template for your own guitar practice. The schedule below is based on approx. 25-30min a day of guitar practice. It's easy to complete each day and you can track the progress you are making. Tracking your guitar playing progress is great for motivation and helps you to see how far you've come. More on this soon.
In every practice schedule to want to add the key areas that will help you become a better guitar player faster. This will ensure you are growing your skills and techniques evenly and steadily.
The first area to have in your practice schedule is chords. Every week you should be expanding your chord vocabulary. This could be as simple as learning more open or barre chords or adding different chord inversions. Whatever it is, make sure you are continually expanding your knowledge each week.
The second area is single note playing. This could be found in guitar riffs, scale patterns or a song melody. Practicing note playing every practice session will help you with both your fretting and picking hand technique simultaneously. Always practice these scale patterns or phrases slowly to start with so they're correctly under your fingers and in your head.
The next area is strumming. This area could include simple acoustic guitar strum patterns, chord arpeggiations or metal like rhythms. Practice these without a metronome until you are comfortable with the strumming hand movement.
Another crucial area, to building up your ability to play great guitar, is sitting down and working with a metronome. Here you can simply put your guitar down and set up a comfortable tempo on your guitar and start by tapping your foot with every click of the metronome. Once this is comfortable, start by clapping and counting out loud a simple rhythmic pattern. It can be simple as, quarter notes for every measure or more complex rhythm exercises. Start from where you are and work your way up. Adjust the setting of the metronome everyday from a slow, to medium to faster tempo, so you get comfortable playing at different speeds. This will simulate a variety of different song tempos for you.
The next area is visualising. This is likely not to be in any guitar method books, but the process is easy to do and very effective. To visualise all you need to do is, as you go throughout your day, away from your guitar, is to create a picture in your mind of the chord shapes you are learning, the notes you are practicing and the rhythm/strumming patterns. Doing this several times a day will help you to internalise what you're learning. You will find by doing this everyday, it will help you greatly to memorise what you are practicing.
The following area is so easy, that you are probably doing it already – but not enough. All you are going to do here is listen to your favourite songs. Everyday do this as many times as you can. I mean really listen to them. Not to work them out by ear or to understand how to play them but to listen for the guitar parts - to get a feel for the song. By listening everyday, you are educating yourself on how the guitar plays an important role into the songs you want to be able to play.
The final area of the seven things you should be practicing daily is review. This is where you simply spend another few minutes going over, what you have learnt before, even if its just reading the instructions. As you progress in your guitar learning, through your guitar lessons, you will accumulate a library of lesson material. If you don't review it and go back over it regularly it will get forgotten.
So how can you fit all this into your daily guitar practice? If you're short on time, start with doing each of the areas of chords, notes, strumming, rhythm practice and review for 5 minutes each. Get yourself a countdown timer and do each section for 5 minutes. With the visualising and listening areas, do this as you go about your day. Do these two areas as much as you can throughout the day.
Follow your progress by tracking it. You can use a simple chart like the one below where you check each area after you have completed it for the day.
Practicing like this everyday keeps you consistent and committed to becoming a better guitar player. The above outline takes no more than 25-30min a day. But you must do it. Don't go expecting to become great at playing guitar without doing the work. Would a focused 25 – 30 minutes of guitar practice each day make you a better guitar player next week, next month, next year? The above calls for no hard labour, just commitment on your part. Try it for one month I know you'll be surprised with your progress.
About the author:
Being inspired to pick up a guitar at the age of thirteen by classic Australian rock bands, Allen Hopgood has never looked back since. He was quickly playing in local bands that lead to touring and sharing the stage with some of the nation's biggest musical artists. Nowadays you can find him conducting guitar lesson programs in his hometown of Gold Coast, Australia.