Saturday, August 16, 2014

How to practice guitar: overview

The issue of how to practice guitar is one of the most important if you want to bring get something out of your guitar playing. That's an overview of the problems involved with guitar practice.

1. You have to be aware of your approach to guitar practice;
2. You need to know what to practice (and what not or practice);
3. You need to know what might go wrong when practicing the guitar.

Let's start bottom up.

Guitar practicing: the wrong way
The idea of having to practice might make you quit guitar playing :(
You feel you are doing guitar exercises but you are going nowhere, and your musical skills are not improving. Practicing has to be fun, after all we are playing guitar which is an endless joy as Steve Vai put's it.

Further, there are different ways in which you can hurt both yourself and your playing while playing practing in a bad way (always playing slow, always playing fast, playing in a wrong position). [If you want to know more than this quick overview mention just google the topic.]

Guitar practice: the 3 big areas
Roughly there are three sort of things worth knowing BEFORE planning your guitar practice routine.
In order to produce music you have to deal with:

(i) technical things (alternate picking, sweep picking, tapping... and DITONES of course!);
(ii) practical things (playing rhythm, finding the right groove and feeling, be comfortable while jamming, getting the right tune);
(iii) theory things (music theory, sight reading, harmony, study of improvisation, ear training, making transcription).

You first need two different plans: (1) a short term one (e.g.: I want to play song X) and (2) a long term one (e.g.: I want to be confortable with the techniques of song X, I want to play in a cover band; I want to know what's going on in the music I play).

Then, according to what your plans are, you choose on what to focus in your practicing sessions.
The idea is that you should focus on all the aspects of playing music you are interesting into for every: (i) single practice session; (ii) mid term practice session (say, a week); (iii) long term practice session (a month).
You need to be able to track your progress and goals.

Guitar practice: your approach
Practicing is music in another way.
Find your balance between technique strictly speaking (in my routine, ditones exercises) but don't limit to them. Edit them constantly, practice as a support to the song you are studying and learn to see the exercise you are focusing come out in real playing situation (as happened here with Yngwie Malmsteen's Far Beyond the sun)

guitar practice schedule