By: Craig Bassett
Most of us have heard of the power of being consistent in our guitar practice. You know what I mean. Practicing something EVERY day until mastered. But do you do this? I know that in the past, I definitely didn't...
When I first started playing I was a maniac! I had no real structure to my practice. I just put in the hours and hoped that I got better. And I did! But there was a problem. I practiced something different almost every day. My practice "schedule" changed from one day to the next. This created two major negative side effects...
1. Sore hands. For example, I would often go so berserk on alternate picking exercises that my picking wrist would get incredibly sore. It would be so sore that I couldn't practice alternate picking the next day. So what did I do? I then went crazy with legato exercises. So much so that I wouldn't be able to practice legato the next day. So I went back to my trusty alternate picking. Mmmm...there's a pattern emerging here. :-)
2. Slower Progress. Now, don't get me wrong. I progressed faster than any of my friends. But I definitely don't think I progressed at my fastest possible rate. If I had practiced less on an exercise, but did it EVERY day I think my progress would have been much faster.I guess the moral of the story is to temper your enthusiasm with intelligence. Let's look at how to start to be more consistent with your practice...
Decide on something that you would like to master. Make it something short like a lick, scale or perhaps a few bars of a song.
Decide on a speed goal for the thing that you have chosen. This will be your target tempo. Make it challenging. Something that will make you a significantly better player once you have achieved it. Of course, you need to keep in mind your current playing level. If you are a beginner and you set a speed goal of sixteenth notes at 240bpm, you are definitely setting yourself up for a failure!
Decide on how much time you'll invest practicing the thing that you have chosen. I would recommend setting a goal of 10-15 minutes a day. A small amount done daily will give you better results than hours done irregularly.
Make a commitment to practice what you have chosen on a daily basis. The key is to practice it every single day until your speed goal has been reached. No excuses,no crying, no moaning, no exceptions.
Get to work! This is the step that requires discipline. It could take weeks or months to achieve your speed goal! Just keep in mind that anyone can write down a goal, but unfortunately VERY few people will follow it though to completion. That's probably why there are so many more guitar OWNERS than guitar PLAYERS ;-)
I invite you to try this approach to guitar practice. I've found that it really helps me, and I'm sure you'll benefit from it as well!