#1
You know the saying that practice doesn't make perfect. GOOD practice makes perfect.
I've been taking that into mind quite a bit lately and it's been bugging me that i can't conclude what GOOD practice really is.
So I usually divide my time of playing into developing 7 areas. Technique, Scales, Chords, Translating, Theory, Sight Reading, And Composing (Steve Vais method yes)

As far as technique goes I always use a metornome but I often have trouble deciding when to move up a beat. Normally I try to play a piece perfectly for 1minute then I raise it up a beat. Is this the best method of using a metronome? Should I increase the time/decrease the time? Ive also been having trouble with left hand strength and speed. How would I go about increasing left hand strength so I can perform legato and trills more efficiently? Also so my left hand is able to keep up with my picking hand. If you could please share me some advice I would appreciate it.

Scales and Chords i've been having quite a bit of trouble with this section. So I try to memorize as many scales and chords as I possibly can. I've gottten to the point where I have memorized a decent amount of both but when it comes to improvising a solo over a track, I just dont know how to use them. How do you go about practicing using scales and chords inside backing tracks? I know the scales and chords but I feel like after a minute im just running up scales and adding in a few chords every now and then cause I know they'll work.

The other section I have trouble with is composing. I usually run my guitar through my computer sometimes to get some ideas out but as far as composing goes the only things that Ive been practcing is harmonizing inside 3rds and 6ths. What are some other composing techniques that I need to practice and what structure usually makes up a song? (Chorus/Verse etc.)

Sorry if that was alot of reading but ive been worried about the way i practice for awhile. I want to be able to get the most out of the time im allowed to practice. My main question is what should I go about practicing inside these sections? How should I practice these sections so that I get the most progress out of it all?

Help is very much appreciated
Last edited by MusicsMyHero at May 7, 2011,
#2
If you want to find out how to do GOOD practice, then I recommend the website www.guitarprinciples.com

Yes, as for content, dividing your time into different aspects is a good idea. Focus on what is most important to you and your style(s).

Using a metronome is good and recommended. You should move up when you can play it with relaxation and relative ease. Raising it up by a beat is effective, but you may wish to try increasing by a couple of beats, depending on the difficultly of the piece. Just practising the legato will bring improvements in strength. It is important to develop great muscle endurance, which can take a long time, so it is worth being persistent with. You can also use hand strengtheners or elastic bands to improve strength. You need to slow it down to a speed where your fretting hand can indeed stay in sync with your picking hand and gradually build up the speed from that.

Randomly learning tons of scales and chords is not necessarily a good idea. The important thing is to learn things that relate to your musical tastes and what you like to hear. Can you see yourself using the each of these chords or scales you are learning? Learning scales and chords and being able to improvise with them are of course different things. You need to practice patterns and rhythmic groupings with scales, so you can then have this dimension in your improvisations. You need to also learn what works with what and why it does. This is where learning music theory is a good help. Ted Greene had some good books about using chords. Check out chord progression books as well, like Arnie Bell. Chord progressions, not just accumulating chords, should be practised. Finally, use your ear... develop it so you can more easily play what you hear in your head. The technical work is so your fingers are able to play what your ears direct you to.

As for composing, music theory would be a good hand here. It can be a lengthy study to get proficient with it. And again, develop and use your ear and have it guide you to what you want to create, what sounds good to you, with the theory serving more as a useful organisational tool for what you hear/feel in your inner ear.

I would suggest focusing on your weakest areas and the areas that are most important to the kind of music you want to create. You can then later work on the other things if needs be.

Good luck.
#3
Quote by Lightning Strat
If you want to find out how to do GOOD practice, then I recommend the website www.guitarprinciples.com

Yes, as for content, dividing your time into different aspects is a good idea. Focus on what is most important to you and your style(s).

Using a metronome is good and recommended. You should move up when you can play it with relaxation and relative ease. Raising it up by a beat is effective, but you may wish to try increasing by a couple of beats, depending on the difficultly of the piece. Just practising the legato will bring improvements in strength. It is important to develop great muscle endurance, which can take a long time, so it is worth being persistent with. You can also use hand strengtheners or elastic bands to improve strength. You need to slow it down to a speed where your fretting hand can indeed stay in sync with your picking hand and gradually build up the speed from that.

Randomly learning tons of scales and chords is not necessarily a good idea. The important thing is to learn things that relate to your musical tastes and what you like to hear. Can you see yourself using the each of these chords or scales you are learning? Learning scales and chords and being able to improvise with them are of course different things. You need to practice patterns and rhythmic groupings with scales, so you can then have this dimension in your improvisations. You need to also learn what works with what and why it does. This is where learning music theory is a good help. Ted Greene had some good books about using chords. Check out chord progression books as well, like Arnie Bell. Chord progressions, not just accumulating chords, should be practised. Finally, use your ear... develop it so you can more easily play what you hear in your head. The technical work is so your fingers are able to play what your ears direct you to.

As for composing, music theory would be a good hand here. It can be a lengthy study to get proficient with it. And again, develop and use your ear and have it guide you to what you want to create, what sounds good to you, with the theory serving more as a useful organisational tool for what you hear/feel in your inner ear.

I would suggest focusing on your weakest areas and the areas that are most important to the kind of music you want to create. You can then later work on the other things if needs be.

Good luck.


I want to thank you for taking all the time to give me a very well written description on what to focus on and giving me a better idea on what I should focus on. I'll take your advice and start paying more atttention to the sounds I hear inside my head. Ill also start paying more attention into the theory section as I've been underestimating the importance of it. Same goes for training my ear. Once again I thank you for being the only one to respond back and for answering all my questions. You were a great help!

Regards, Danny
#4
I saw that you didn't mention ear training. That may be one of the most important skills you can acquire. I would work on that EVERY day!!

--mark
#5
I think you're over thinking it. If you think "I want to be able to do that [one specific thing] more than anything else" then go after that. Once you've done that choose something else.
Quote by neidnarb11890
the chinese take-out place my family always ordered from gave you chopsticks, so as a kid it was fun to try & eat with chopsticks
now i just use a fork, 'cuz nothing is fun anymore & i just want to shovel food into my mouth to fill the void