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Old 06-08-2014, 09:24 AM   #1
Mole351
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Question 1 hour of practice per day?

Hi all.

I've recently gotten back into playing the guitar after a pretty long hiatus. Some background - started playing at 14 yrs old (now 37) - played multiple hours each day for about 5 years and could consider myself a decent guitar player but far from being really good.

Next 5 years or so I'd just run thru some songs no really trying to improve or learn. Then pretty much put it down until recently.

Now I'm re-dedicated but with life/work/wife and kids, can really only dedicate about an hour per day (and really have to work at that!) to practice. I'm focused on learning things the "right" way this time (ie - what and why I'm playing instead of just learning this song and that song). Currently getting thru chord construction, some triads and arpegios.

Question is - how much can I TRULY expect to improve by only being able to dedicate one hour per day? I'm very excited about playing again and learning as much as I can...just hope my limited amount of time will allow me become a significantly better guitar player.

What I wouldn't give to have had this dedication/approach when I was younger with all the time in the world. Had the dedication, just not the approach.

Cheers,

Joel

Last edited by Mole351 : 06-08-2014 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 06-08-2014, 12:42 PM   #2
maximumrocker
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I like to relate practicing like working out

You have a set couple of things you want to achieve. So focus on a few things for a goal. For example you want to learn all the different inversion for a major 7th chord. Make that a set in your practice schedule for maybe 5 minutes. But the trick here is not to do all the inversion in one sitting every time. Because we are strapped for time. Maybe do the first group of strings (Strings 1-4) then the next group (2-5) then the last group (3-6). this way if you practice every day for an hour you will get each group done twice a week.

Edit: Forgot to mention here, always take a rest day. I do one a week. Usually find out which day I am the busiest and that is the day I'll take off. This way you can let your brain, fingers and muscles heal up for the new week. Rest days are just as important as practice days whether it feels like it or not. (This coming for a hand injury)

Look up lessons on youtube, use a metronome, keep a log of what you practice. Maybe when you go to a book store (my family loved doing this together) look up books about music theory. If you're dedicated as you say you are, then it should be no problem. Even if you're waiting at the doctors for 20 minutes. Look up a video on youtube about a certain scale, or how to mic up an amp. Or something to further you. By the time a year is complete all those little 5-20 minute research will add up. (Trust me I did this for studio recording)

Good luck man! And welcome back to the land of guitar!
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Old 06-08-2014, 03:11 PM   #3
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1 hour a day is plenty if you can genuinely spend that amount of time at it. You don't have to play for 15 hours a day to get good.
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Old 06-08-2014, 04:39 PM   #4
MaggaraMarine
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^ Exactly.

I don't think 1 hour a day is too little. I have never really practiced for that long. I have played but not practiced for that long (there's a difference).
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Old 06-08-2014, 06:49 PM   #5
Dave_Mc
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Practise? I hardly ever practise, 90%+ of what I do is playing

Heck I mean when I used to play piano I'd never have played anywhere near an hour a day. If I played an hour a week I'd have been doing well, and I still got my exams and all ok (until I stopped).

Unless you're trying to be the next guthrie govan (and even then), an hour a day, especially if it's genuine practice, is easily enough to get pretty good. Plenty of people play for a few minutes here and there.

I mean I play far more guitar than I ever used to do piano, and I don't do much more than an a hour or maybe an hour and a half per day, and I don't even play every day.

Who have you been listening to, out of interest? (threadstarter, not MM)

A lot of people buy into the whole quantity thing, and if you ask me it's BS. Quality normally trumps quantity, at least within reason (5 mins of super-efficient practice once per decade might not give you amazing results).

Granted if you have the willpower and personality to do both quality and quantity, then that's even better. But most people who make a big thing of the hours they put in are putting quantity before quality, I find, because it's a more tangible thing where you can see progress ("I practised 10 hours yesterday" sounds amazing, even if you were twiddling your thumbs most of the time).
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Old 06-08-2014, 08:44 PM   #6
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An hour a day of quality practice is way more than enough to get good in my honest opinion!
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Old 06-08-2014, 11:33 PM   #7
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According to Malcolm Gladwell, it takes about 10,000 hours to become an 'expert' at something.

I'm not sure how you set goals, but, for me, this is a fixed goal to work toward and isn't as abstract as "I want to get better". I plan on keeping a progress schedule/diary for guitar, piano, vocals, and any future instruments I will learn.

Guitar for 1.5 hours, piano for 1 hour, and vocals for 30 minutes. 6 days a week per instrument.
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Old 06-09-2014, 12:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhalterman
According to Malcolm Gladwell, it takes about 10,000 hours to become an 'expert' at something.




I have heard about that book and Im familiar with it being perpetuated in music, but Ive never given it much thought. Does intensely listening to music count towards the 10,000 hours? What about practicing in your head? Or studying theory? Or is the only time that counts time with the guitar physically in your hands?

Hildegard von Bingen is regarded as an excellent composer. She also was an expert doctor and writer. Did she have to spend 30,000 hours before she became a master of all 3?
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Old 06-09-2014, 12:52 AM   #9
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^ I think that's just on average. That doesn't mean everybody has to spend 10000 hours to get great. Just like an average boy likes cars and average girl likes dolls but not every boy likes cars and not every girl likes dolls. (Pretty random analogy, I know.)

Also, what does it mean to become an expert at something? When do you know you are an expert and not just "pretty good" or "not that great"?

Of course you can get better a lot faster if you find the best way to practice. It has a lot to do with how you practice. Somebody can play ten years and not be as good as somebody who has been playing for five years.
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Old 06-09-2014, 02:21 AM   #10
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Yeah I kick myself in the ass a lot for not having the correct approach either. One can sure waste a hell of a lot of time trying to figure things out when it is actually not very difficult. Think of the theory stuff as just a toolkit to help you and keep you musically organized and a pallet to help you compose, that is how I think of it.

If you want to know what and why...theory is surely to help you understand, no doubt. I remember Yngwie Malmsteen in one of his videos said that "if you open that one little door, it is all there".

If you want to practice an hour a day and "improve" it depends on what your musical goals are. What do you want to do? Just play and understand other peoples songs? Compose your own stuff?

I see no problem with an hour a day...just make sure it is an effective hour and you are taking a good approach.

And remember its never too late to

Last edited by Unreal T : 06-09-2014 at 02:25 AM.
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Old 06-09-2014, 02:23 PM   #11
Sean0913
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This is the kind of thing I always have a wary eye about. Its not how much you practice. It's how you practice. Most people don't understand how the brain learns.

By my short answer is, you'll improve depending upon how much the brain learns, and the body has the right amount of practice and progression. I have students online and in real life that spend the recommended 10 minutes a day on what I give them to do, and that's not a typo. They progress amazingly quickly. In a year they are 200-300 percent better than they were.

Best,

Sean
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Old 06-09-2014, 05:58 PM   #12
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^ Agreed. I don't doubt that if those 10 minutes were spent on efficient, quality practice that you'd see real, tangible results after a year (after even less, really).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Black_devils
An hour a day of quality practice is way more than enough to get good in my honest opinion!


Agreed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jhalterman
According to Malcolm Gladwell, it takes about 10,000 hours to become an 'expert' at something.

I'm not sure how you set goals, but, for me, this is a fixed goal to work toward and isn't as abstract as "I want to get better". I plan on keeping a progress schedule/diary for guitar, piano, vocals, and any future instruments I will learn.

Guitar for 1.5 hours, piano for 1 hour, and vocals for 30 minutes. 6 days a week per instrument.


There are a lot of criticisms regarding his work- accusations of cherrypicking and the like.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/10000_hours_rule#Reception

And what you said there is kind of what I said above- having something concrete to aim towards is definitely a far more "real" thing than just saying "I want to get better". But just because it's more palpable, doesn't mean it's the right way to look at it. Some things are tangible and some aren't.

It's like the way some people act like building a wall is more important work than academic work because you have something to show for it. That's BS if you ask me.
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Old 06-09-2014, 06:19 PM   #13
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Obviously the more time you put in the faster you will improve, also the quality of your practice is important but one thing I can say for sure is that practising for 1 hours a day is much better then practising for 7 hours on Sunday and not practising at all the rest of the week. Having a life/kids/family can take up all your time but make a point of never missing a day and you will see vast and consistent improvement.
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Old 06-11-2014, 08:37 AM   #14
Mole351
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Thanks all. I'm really focusing on the task at hand and quality of practice as opposed to getting sidetracked or ripping thru some stuff that is comfortable

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave_Mc

Who have you been listening to, out of interest? (threadstarter, not MM).


My favorite band is Phish and guitar player Trey Anastasio, but I don't really try to emulate his sound or style. Honestly I want to excel at just straight up rock/blues - love Slash/Jimmy Page type guitar style, but listen to a whole slew of others as well.
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Old 06-11-2014, 03:58 PM   #15
Dave_Mc
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I meant who had been telling you that 1 hour wasn't enough? Sorry for the ambiguity.
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Old 06-11-2014, 08:52 PM   #16
Mole351
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave_Mc
I meant who had been telling you that 1 hour wasn't enough? Sorry for the ambiguity.




D'oh!

Just a general consensus I've gotten from reading message boards honestly...especially around here (between here and the technique board). Seems everyone's practicing 3-10 hours a day like its nothing and necessary, and practice an hour a day just to "keep your chops up" or maintain. Again...I WISH I had that amount of time.

I was on here a good bit the first half of last year as well, and between that and the past month here that's the general takeaway.

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Old 06-11-2014, 11:16 PM   #17
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Old 06-11-2014, 11:42 PM   #18
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If you organize yourself and do it consistently you will see nice improvement pretty quickly with a whole hour a day. It needs to be good practice; Make sure that you feel everything that your body is doing, make sure your shoulders are relaxed, you are breathing evenly and that you are only pressing down the bare minimum when fretting.

Also I feel like this is more of a Guitar Techniques deserving thread than a Musicians Talk thread. Not a big deal.
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Old 06-12-2014, 11:48 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mole351


D'oh!

Just a general consensus I've gotten from reading message boards honestly...especially around here (between here and the technique board). Seems everyone's practicing 3-10 hours a day like its nothing and necessary, and practice an hour a day just to "keep your chops up" or maintain. Again...I WISH I had that amount of time.

I was on here a good bit the first half of last year as well, and between that and the past month here that's the general takeaway.

No, it's definitely not necessary to practice for hours a day (unless you really enjoy it). I have never really even practiced (I did have a practice routine for some time but it did bore me a bit) and I would say I'm not that bad. You will definitely improve, even if you play for less than an hour a day.

Don't practice for the sake of practicing. If you know what you want to improve in your playing, practice it. Practicing one thing for an hour can be really boring. I think overpracticing can also take some of the joy out of playing the guitar.
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Old 06-12-2014, 12:10 PM   #20
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1 hr is not that much IMO, only 350hrs a year. At that rate, 20 years to be decent for most. As they say 10,000 hrs, so if you could go for 3 hrs a day, in 10 years you should be great
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