Practice, Practice, Practice

The first post hey?  I thought we’d start with what’ll be an irregular theme in the blog, practice tips.  It is the most fundamental thing about learning the guitar.  Regular, focussed, efficient, methodical, fun, rewarding practice.

I remember how much my fingers hurt after getting my first steel stringed guitar, but loving the sound of it.  I remember sitting downstairs at home when I was a kid, going over and over Stairway to Heaven until I could play along with the cassette.  And I certainly remember the eureka moment when instead of shutting the door to avoid the sound of my ‘playing’, Mum walked through the room and left it open!

It’s unfortunately true that no matter how much money you spend on gear and lessons, time spent obsessing over tone or perfecting your guitar face (check out B.B. King nailing it), unless you spend time practicing, and practicing deliberately, you won’t improve.

bbking guitar face

The best way to practice these things in is…

1. Technical exercise (10 mins)
2. Newest song (20 mins)
3. Repertoire (as long as you like)

There’s a reason behind the order….  If you run a technical exercise first (let’s say a major scale exercise), it’s going to act as a warm up for your fingers, this then gives you a greater ability to tackle the new song you are learning.  As a reward for being a good student you get to practice your repertoire – that is all the stuff you can already play.  Practicing in this order means you leave the practice session feeling good and are more likely to want to practice again!

Now, let’s imagine you start with repertoire, that goes well and then you try the new song.  It doesn’t go so well because you haven’t warmed up all your fingers.  You end up getting frustrated and put the guitar down and watch TV – and you didn’t even practice your scales!

An even worse scenario is that you start with the newest piece, get frustrated, give up, watch TV and don’t feel like picking the guitar up as regularly.

So, I hope that helps.  Love to hear what you think!

PS ever hear about 10,000 hours?  Well, check it out….