May 1, 2007

Guitar Practicing TIps

  • Practice regularly.  It's better to practice 1 hour every day than 2 hours every other day.  It's even better to practice 3 hours a day :-)
  • Practice things that need practicing.  Concentrate on those things that you're not good at and don't waste too much time playing things you already now.
  • Make a plan.  Write down what you need to practice on and make a weekly schedule.  Divide the daily time you have in blocks of minimum 10 minutes and give each topic a number of blocks.  Some things require practicing every other day, other more important topics need to be practiced every day.
  • Be patient with yourself.  Don't get angry or nervous when you make mistakes, you are allowed to make them.  When you are nervous you don't learn anything, so you are wasting your time.  When you do get nervous, stop practicing hard stuff, play some easy things that you enjoy.
  • Use a metronome or even better, a software program like Band in a BoxBand in a box is ideal for practicing new ideas, themes and improvisation.  It will straighten out irregularities in your timing and give you a harmonic background so you can really hear what's going on and train your ears.  It's like playing in a band.
  • Listen!  If you want to learn to play jazz music, listen to jazz music when you are not playing it.
  • Record yourself.  Record your guitar playing and be surprised!  It's like looking in the mirror.  Once again, Band in a Box is a great and easy way to record yourself.
  • Start slowly.  Make sure you can play the things you practice in a slow tempo and with a great tone, great articulation and no mistakes before you start speeding things up.  Gradually build speed.
  • Relax!  Don't build up tension in your hands, arms and shoulder.  They should be as relaxed as possible.
  • And most importantly: Have fun!

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