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Get The Most From Your Guitar Practice

May 23, 2008
There is a big difference between playing at practicing and actually practicing. Which one of the two do you find yourself doing more often than not? You may think that you spend a certain amount of time each week practicing but what are you really doing? It's all so easy to pick up your guitar and do your best Jimmy Hendrix impression whilst staring out of the window in your own little world and when you get to the stage where you are taking your final bow to a standing ovation you come back to reality and stop for a cup of coffee. This, my friend does not count as practice!

Come on, wake up and get some serious practicing done! Get the metronome out and settle down to perfecting the newest pieces of your repertoire. A good test is to set the metronome to a slow speed and play your tune through - its really quite difficult but it's a good way to start, then you can speed it up a little until it is just right. If you find one particular part of the music is proving to be difficult, then do not practice the whole thing over and over again, but concentrate on the bit which is being troublesome. With perseverance, you will eventually get it right.

The average human attention span lasts for between two and five minutes. That is not a long time so make sure you set your timer to bleep in around fifteen minutes and play your guitar until the timer goes off. When it sounds, take five to relax your brain and your fingers and then start all over again.

Don't forget to breathe evenly when learning to play a difficult tune. Many people make the mistake of holding their breath whilst focusing and this only increases your tension which will result in you feeling tired more quickly and not being able to position your fingers properly. To put an end to practicing becoming all work and no play, you can always play a tune you really like by way of reward when you have perfected the difficult piece and finished your scales and arpeggios practice for the day.

It's good to take a break during your practice to read up on the theory of guitar playing and music in general. This interlude will stimulate your brain whilst resting your fingers. When you are playing your guitar try to visualize exactly what you are doing. This is a much practiced and useful tool to learn music. Warm up with scales when you first start your practice before attempting to play a new piece of music. If you perform for two and a half hours in fifteen minute intervals, leave your new piece for the second to last session. This will keep your interest and give you something to look forward to towards the end of your practice.
About the Author
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of MusicianHome.com, a site that provides information and articles for musicians at all stages of their development.
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