Should I always only practise one thing at a time 'till I get it or is it okay to practise as many things simultaneously that you just got the capasity for?

I'm rather new so there are tons of things I want to learn and I have several exercises I'm doing but I wonder if this is just confusing me and I should only repeat one thing at a time and then move to the next. :V
I usually practice a few techniques like 20-30 mins a day. Like, use an egg timer or stop watch to make sure you stop at 20-30 so you can concentrate equally on your other stuff.
My music teacher taught me (and I learned through personal experience) that if you just fool around and don't play the same way as when you practice you spoil all the practicing. My method is to practice and practice something till I can play it at least 10 times perfect (no unwanted noise or picking trouble. But that's just me. You might be different.
Everything is divisible by metal- Michael Angel Batio
It's probably different for everyone, but I find that I progress better when I only focus on a few things at a time. I used to take the opposite approach, like working on 50 exercises for a minute each, but I didn't get really good results. But now I think if you really want to get good, you have to choose a small number of things and work on them until you really get them down. That means really breaking them down, learning where you have problems, slowing things down until you can play them perfectly (as efficiently as possible) at a slow tempo with no tension in your body. If you don't take that approach, I think you'll find yourself making the same mistakes on similar licks/phrases. I know there's a tendency to want to learn everything right away, but trying to do that will slow your progress in the long run, in my opinion.
Yeah, I focus on one or two things if they are related, practicing them till I'm fed up, then I play a few favorite riffs as a break
Depends what you mean by "at a time", does it mean in one sitting in one day in several days etc?

Since I practice for 3 one hour sessions each day and I lose focus if I am practicing the one thing for too long I work on as many skill as I have time for (chords, barre chords, legato, economy picking, repertoire, scales, sweep picking, rhythm, palm muting). I give about 20-60 minutes on each skill throughout the day.

I'd like to know if there is an optimal amount of practice for each skill per session/day.
I learn much better skipping around from song to song on youtube...trying as few tabs here or there, etc. ....noodling....playing with an effects pedal, etc. a few minutes ago i learned 'Mission impossible'...and then had fun adding the riffs in it to a version of 'Bad to the Bone' from a youtube lesson.

The key is to get a large repetoire of 'stuff' in the arsenal and then pull out pieces as you jam, write music, etc.

I'll leave practicing scales, etc. to to others. Two nights ago my wife and i leared 'Rumbe' by Link Wray....took us 5 minutes to get it down. It has a full E Pentatonic riff in it...more fun to learn that way than repetitive drudgery.

Get out of the box. Be creative. Improvise. Let your ears and fingers do the thinking for you and not a page on a book
Last edited by Raptorfingers at Jul 22, 2010,
I debated this a lot.

On the one hand, it is better for muscle memory to practice something a little bit every day.
On the other hand, you make more progress when you concentrate on less stuff.

After toying with several different approaches to this, I came to this conclusion.

Practice Schedule
1. Warm-up/Technical Exercises: 30 min
- I've got a group of 6 or 7 exercises that basically cover all the things I care about. I practice each exercise for at least a few minutes, but if there's an area I feel I need improvement in, I'll focus on it for longer. I stop myself at around a half hour so I don't fall into technical robot mode and remember to do other things.

2. Technical Song Studies: 15 minutes
- Since I realized that it is extremely efficient to learn theory and technique through songs, I've dedicated about a third of practice towards that. Right now I'm working on Hot for Teacher by VH and once I have the whole thing nailed tight, I'll move on to perfecting Crazy Train.

3. Compositional Song Studies: 15 minutes
- Same as above, except here I'm looking at songs written by my favorite songwriters (Page, Hendrix, Trower, Iommi, and many others), learning the song all the way through and breaking down the chords, progressions, and leads to figure out why they work and what images they make as I expand upon my musical vocabulary. The reason I do this instead of reading theory books is because it is much easier to hear an idea in your head when you have a point to reference it from, i.e. the song you're learning. Right now I'm finishing up Kid Charlemagne and next I'm going to tackle Castles Made of Sand again.

4. Improvising/Composing: 15 minutes
- Usually I'll improvise and try to use the licks and ideas I've learned from songs and books in lots of different places while mixing licks up. If it's late and I cant improvise, I'll open up Guitar Pro and compose. If I come up with a cool riff while improvising, I'll transcribe it at the end of the jam.

5. Leisure Studies: at least 15 minutes
- Here I just work on whatever floats my boat for a bit. Lately I've been learning licks from Rock Guitar Secrets by Peter Fischer, but I've been meaning to start an ear training book I got as well.

And that's it. When I finish all that, if I feel like working on things more, I will, but I always start with that just to cover all my bases.
Last edited by STONESHAKER at Jul 22, 2010,
Thanks for the tips dudes. I completely get that 'learning by doing' methology. Most of what I know by now is learned by ear and figuring out songs.

I spend several hours a day on guitar, I'll probably try to divide some of that on just practise like that and the rest on composition, aka noodling around :P
When I used to practice, I would generally aim to focus on about 3-4 techniques each day, but probably most of the time would end up spending a long time on only 2 techniques each day, being lucky if I even got to and/or finished the third. I think it depends from person to person, but it's not like when you are focusing on something your other techniques go to shit.

I find that spending 60-90 minutes on two techniques (so I'd probably practice for 3-4 hours minimum including warming up and just messing around) worked well for me.

Repeating one thing over and over will get boring, but spreading too thin over too many different things will cause you to probably lose motivation and not get anywhere. As with most things in life, find a balance.

Like Freepower likes to say, "experiment"
Last edited by fixationdarknes at Jul 23, 2010,
Practice, practice, practice, till you can play it perfectly everytime; once you can play it without even looking at the fretboard you'll know you've got it down, no worries.
Everything is divisible by metal- Michael Angel Batio
Last edited by Wing00 at Jul 28, 2010,