Better Practice Skills

Now think about this:
The truth is, ‘bad’ practice routines are a sideway move! However, efficient, effective and flexible ones have the power to totally transform your guitar playing, musicianship and your creativity in a shorter period of time. Imagine how much better your guitar playing life will be like after you fully reached all of your musical goals!

Good practice regimens won’t hurt your creativity, the opposite is true because you are gaining the
tools to become more creative… AND your schedule can include ‘creative time’ to work on writing new songs, improvising, etc.

It’s not boring to practice that which directly relates to the very things you want to achieve as a guitar player and musician. Yes practicing the same exercise for 30 minutes ‘is’ boring, which is why you shouldn’t design a guitar practice schedule in such a way. We want to create a structure that works, not one that will drive you crazy.

You do NOT need to spend all your guitar practice time with a fixed schedule. If you have 90 minutes to practice, invest 45-60 minutes working from your planned guitar practicing regimen. Use the rest of time to freely do whatever you feel like playing that day.

The best routines are NOT the same each day. A good guitar practice workout schedule should be effective, efficient and flexible.
A practice schedule is a roadmap to freedom of being able to play whatever you want! But this doesn’t mean that you don’t have any room to have fun, be creative, and enjoy playing guitar in the process.  The only difference is that now you will be enjoying the process more WHILE you get better, and avoid mindlessly playing around on the guitar with no direction or sense of purpose. As a result, it will take you much less time to become the exact kind of excellent guitar player you want to be.

The best way to think about an efficient practice schedule is with an analogy of a map.  When you prepare to travel somewhere, you first analyze where you are (Point A), and then prepare the most direct and time efficient route of arriving to your destination (Point B).

8 Steps to Creating Your Own Guitar Practice Routine

Step 1. Get very clear on what your LONG TERM guitar playing / musical goals are. Beware of distractions… there is a big difference between ‘short term goals’ and ‘distractions’.  True short-term goals should be consistent with your long-term goals. If they aren’t, then you might be simply distracting yourself from what you really want to achieve as a guitar player and musician. When creating your practice routine, focus mainly on long-term goals.

Step 2. Balance your existing strengths and RELEVANT weaknesses. Seek to turn your strengths into super strengths and ‘only’ work on weaknesses that are truly ‘relevant’ to your goals (see step 4 below).

Step 3. Be realistic about how much time you can practice each day. As mentioned above, you can and should allow ‘free time’ in your schedule to learn, practice, or do other things with your guitar outside of your written guitar practice regimen.

Step 4. You must be 100% sure you really know all the musical elements which are needed to reach your long term goals, AND you need to be clear about which of these elements are the ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ priorities for you to focus on right now in order to reach your specific goals.

Step 5. Contrary to popular belief, creativity CAN be taught, learned and practiced. Always include creativity development into your practice schedule (or work on it at least in your free time).
Step 6. Application is key! Be sure to add time each day to work on applying your skills even if you have not mastered them yet! It's a big mistake to work only on mastering something before seeking to apply it.

Step 7. Don’t create the same schedule for each day of the week, your schedule should be based on larger period of time (I use an 8-day practice and learning schedule for my students – works much better compared to a routine that repeats itself each day). Maybe 2, or 3 of the days are the same, but the other days are a little different (yet still based on the above steps mentioned).

Step 8. Create 3-5 different 8-day practice regimens. Use each one twice (16 days) before working with the next one. Be sure that when you create them that each are based on the first 7 steps above.

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