#1
http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f140/practice-233652/#post2889719

Time Frames

You may ask “ How long should I work on new material at any one time?” The answer is, you should work on new material in very short time frames. A few minutes of concentrated, thoughtful study can make a solid impression and can prove far more beneficial than hours of unfocused drudgery.
You will need to assign yourself breaks by the clock until you become sensitive to your own physical and mental signals. So get yourself a kitchen timer and time each section of your practice.

I recommend practicing:

15 minutes on
5 minutes off
15 minutes on
5 minutes off

When your timer goes off, obey the discipline of the signal. Do not break it and go beyond your assigned time limit! Then as time goes by and you become better at managing your time, you will become more and more sensitive to your own limits, and you’ll be able to sense when you have gone on too long and need to rest. Remember that, while on the old method it is all right to practice until you drop, the new method requires you to re-train yourself for a whole new kind of learning experience.


Combining this, with that other idea someone posted about how rustey goes through his excercises in an intervallic fashion instead of linear, sounds like a pretty solid strategy.. now i guess the question still lingering aroung in the depths of my mind that wont let me exist in peace.. is practicing the same things everyday the most effective method or is Tom Hess an his marketing muscle actually right...
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Last edited by Slashiepie at Nov 26, 2011,
#2
Obviously practice and actually engaging and concentrating is more important than total time logged.

Nothing goes in if you aren't paying attention. Practice without attention is wasted time.

Combining this, with that other idea someone posted about how rustey goes through his excercises in an intervallic fashion instead of linear


Every good guitarist does this. If you only practice scales up and down you only get good at... scales up and down.

is practicing the same things everyday the most effective method or is Tom Hess an his marketing muscle actually right...


Depends what you're practising for.

Sorry if I sound angry. Furious at landlord, not you.
#3
Quote by Freepower
Obviously practice and actually engaging and concentrating is more important than total time logged.

Nothing goes in if you aren't paying attention. Practice without attention is wasted time.

Every good guitarist does this. If you only practice scales up and down you only get good at... scales up and down.

Depends what you're practising for.

Sorry if I sound angry. Furious at landlord, not you.


No problem mate, Landlord complaining about the volume? :P

anyways i pretty much think the same way, those things are no issue, im trying to tackle this from a more "advanced perspective", and reallistically speaking only Steve Vai and Allan Holdsworth can concentrate for 12+ hours everyday, im still working on it and have really buffed up my concentration skills,pretty hard with a job, a gf and uni, but the mind obeys the will. period (btw here is a top obscure secret for any serious guitarist: give up porn , delete your facebook account)

btw i didnt mean Rustey or any good Guitarist would practice scales up and down or not, i meant this "other" approach would be:

Instead of sitting practicing something e.g: arpeggios for 30 minutes straight, one practices arpeggios for 10 minutes, then jumps to scales, then another 10 minutes of arpeggios, then improvisation, then something else, then you come back to the arpeggios again. (this is what i mean by in a not linear fashion).

And this is where the waters start to get muddy to me, optimal time division, optimal duration, do´s and dont´s, trying to go beyond the basics.. discipline and concentration not being the issue here, just trying to research the most efficient possibilities.

Im interested in the little details and unknown variables from a psychological learning perspective view , since i study psychology i would love to sort out all the variables to optimize any practice schedule. It is so far clear that memorization requieres the strongest concentration spans and is best combined with longer time spans, pauses and intervallic repetition (theres research on it) but muscle memory are muddy waters ( to me at least), of course you get better at riding a bike while you sleep, but should you then not ride the bike the next day and you would get better than if you ride it?

I practice to get excellent and some day be a pro, surely my strategy will differ from others, what is your view on it? what would be your strategy? my teacher gave me different modules and he said i need to practice the same things everyday to get good at them, meaning work on it day after day.. master it some day and then repeat.. pretty good results so far.

Tom and other musicians say im wrong and i should practice different things on different days.. keeps me wondering: an example, aural training (which to me at least is tiring) i can only last about 30 minutes on it MAX, now.. i would do it everyday , others would say to only do it every 3rd day.. there are people telling me im actually wrong in practicing everyday.. and that i should take "breaks".. really doesnt matter since music is my crack and i cant be away from the guitar, but if there is some truth in it.. i want to know it..

Of course "practice, play, have fun do what inspires you and do what works best for you are the answers" , im trying to go a step further and find some explanations

Maybe these are actually stupid questions, but everyone seems to have such differing opinions and there is so little actual objective data or research in existance, at the end of the day it doesnt matter, ill play even if the world ends, but i still want to shed some light in it, for me and for others..:P
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Last edited by Slashiepie at Nov 26, 2011,
#4
Quote by Slashiepie

Tom and other musicians say im wrong and i should practice different things on different days.. keeps me wondering: an example, aural training (which to me at least is tiring) i can only last about 30 minutes on it MAX, now.. i would do it everyday , others would say to only do it every 3rd day.. there are people telling me im actually wrong in practicing everyday.. and that i should take "breaks".. really doesnt matter since music is my crack and i cant be away from the guitar, but if there is some truth in it.. i want to know it..


I think you should practice everyday the things that strictly matches your highest priority goals.
For example, if you want to be a virtuoso in picking-oriented playing but you want to add some fingerpicking sometimes but it's not the priority, probably it's useless practicing it everyday. It will be beneficial to play it with 2-3 days interval.

Personally, I feel very well with 50-minute sessions + 10-minute breaks. Within a session I play several previously chosen exercises.

I like dividing sessions into technical-oriented and musical-oriented (aural skills, theory, improvisation etc).
__
Neal Wakefield
#5
That rusty cooley method is really good actully, i started using the time intervall way of practice instead of metronome as fast as i got his rockhouse dvd, and i havent looked back since.

Though i do this.
5 min play
5 min break
5 min play
5 min break
10 min play
10 min break.

Then next thing i practice, works really well.

(Although i practice songs mostly, and only some techniques with this. It takes really much time but it's very effective).
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#6
No problem mate, Landlord complaining about the volume? :P




No, just adding 100 quid to my bills with no warning.
I practice to get excellent and some day be a pro, surely my strategy will differ from others, what is your view on it? what would be your strategy? my teacher gave me different modules and he said i need to practice the same things everyday to get good at them, meaning work on it day after day.. master it some day and then repeat.. pretty good results so far.

Tom and other musicians say im wrong and i should practice different things on different days.. keeps me wondering: an example, aural training (which to me at least is tiring) i can only last about 30 minutes on it MAX, now.. i would do it everyday , others would say to only do it every 3rd day.. there are people telling me im actually wrong in practicing everyday.. and that i should take "breaks".. really doesnt matter since music is my crack and i cant be away from the guitar, but if there is some truth in it.. i want to know it..


Personally, I think you should do the same things each day, and try and keep your practice quite focused - when I'm practising hardcore I try and stick two or less areas of study. So, recently it's been "Rhythmic phrasing" and "fretboard fluency". I might practice 15 minutes of this or that but I would try and keep on those two things until I see serious solid improvement and I can feel it "lock in".

If you were practising lots - like 3+ hours a day - I could imagine adding in a third focus as being fruitful.

I don't agree with doing things every 3rd day or whatever - I think once you achieve any decent level of competence you need to invest a significant amount of time before the improvement locks in. When I do that I make progress in the practice session, and start the next one back at square one.

Oh, and I would spend at least a month before changing up my practice routine.

That said, obviously I'm not as good as Tom Hess or anything, but I know this practice routine works for me. I make progress and I make it consistently.
#7
Quote by Freepower


No, just adding 100 quid to my bills with no warning.


Personally, I think you should do the same things each day, and try and keep your practice quite focused - when I'm practising hardcore I try and stick two or less areas of study. So, recently it's been "Rhythmic phrasing" and "fretboard fluency". I might practice 15 minutes of this or that but I would try and keep on those two things until I see serious solid improvement and I can feel it "lock in".

If you were practising lots - like 3+ hours a day - I could imagine adding in a third focus as being fruitful.

I don't agree with doing things every 3rd day or whatever - I think once you achieve any decent level of competence you need to invest a significant amount of time before the improvement locks in. When I do that I make progress in the practice session, and start the next one back at square one.

Oh, and I would spend at least a month before changing up my practice routine.

That said, obviously I'm not as good as Tom Hess or anything, but I know this practice routine works for me. I make progress and I make it consistently.


I'd agree with this, I don't like the Tom Hess idea of rotating your practice regularly, I think you need to pick an area or 2 you want to focus on, and make sure you do it every session (though don't ONLY practice those things in a session, just reserve a part of your session every day specifically to work on them). It might work for him because he's already pretty damn good at everything so he needs to keep switching up in order to maintain all his skills, and he likely sees an increase in his ability in all areas from it.

Currently I practice at least 4 hours a day, which is 2x 2+ hour blocks. Each 2 hour block consists of 4-5 different things. The first 2 half hours are always the same - my desired 2 areas of focus, and the second 2 half hours are different. So say I have technique A, technique B, song, theory, improv, something else I might do:

Morning: Warmup, Technique A, Technique B, song
Evening: Warmup, Technique A, Technique B, theory improv

I find it's a really good way to keep things interesting during the day while still being able to focus on key areas. And learning a song, or a solo or something is a really great way to apply all the techniques and keep the one's you're not currently focusing on in check.
ESP Horizon FR II (EMG) / Ibanez Prestige RG1570 (DiMarzio Crunch Lab & LiquiFire pickups)
Last edited by llBlackenedll at Nov 27, 2011,
#8
Personally, I like Tom's approach as it is working really fine for me.
Freepower, if you find your approach more effective - that is good for you

I think there's no point in convincing anynone to any method - everyone should try both and decide which one is more effective for that person.
__
Neal Wakefield
#9
^ sure, Tom's method is perfectly valid - I'm sure it could be better depending on your goals, personality, current ability... there's so many factors that decide whether a practice routine will work. I think the most important thing is that you practice regularly and that you focus during practice time.

The reason I know what works for me is I've spent years practising, trying various methods, and then figuring out how I feel about them and what results I got. Ironically, I think you learn to practise by practising practise.
#10
Quote by Freepower

Ironically, I think you learn to practise by practising practise.


Really good words! That is true, we are practicing in two ways at the same time - guitar/musical skills and practicing itself I think the more aware of this we are, the better results we will get.
__
Neal Wakefield
#11
I would like to add something to this discussion for you guys to digest.

I've tried many methods in my life, both within study and on the guitar, and these are my thoughts on the subject:

By dividing my sessions in 15min study/guitar and 5 min breaks let's me have ALOT more focus on what I'm trying to learn, than doing 2 hours, 15 min break, 2 hours etc.

Second thing which I think is crucial: When starting your session, start with something you WANT to do, so you can get some of that dopamine going. When you start getting high on dopamine, you can go more deeply into the repetive stuff and get much more out of it, rather than jumping right in thinking "only 1 more hour of arpeggios, then I can jump over to songs".

When I first started, I was too strict with what I was going to practise, which really killed the joy of it as I couldn't concentrate well enough. So I startet experimenting with different ways of practising that all the guitar-gods swore to, and I learned alot about how my brain was programmed. So I threw out all that jumbo and started doing things my way. It's like in school, not everyone learns best by reading a text out loud in the class.

In the perfect world you would save up money for a year, rent an apartment in Pakistan and practise the guitar for 12 hours straight everyday until your budget was null, then go home and show off the skills of God. But the world ain't perfect, and only a handfull of people are programmed to be able to do that stuff.
#12
Interesting point, Yois.

I agree, staying focused during practice sessions is crucial. I personally started with 30-minute practice sessions and when I noticed that I don't have any problems with focus - I started to lengthen this time. Right now I have 50-minute practice sessions and I find it perfect. I take 10 minute breaks - 2 sessions in the morning, 2 in the afternoon.

This works really well for me. I have been working much with my mind to build a positive mindset and ability to focus for that time, I really recommend doing that.

About "dopamine" - the approach that I find useful at this moment is this: when I have a "good day", I start with something repetitive and have absolutely no problem with that. When I feel rather low, I start with improvisation or playing some riffs I like and after a while - the dopamine shows up

About the Pakistan thing - I partially agree, but you should also consider it from career-building point of view But when it comes to practicing - that's one of the tempting ways to go
__
Neal Wakefield
#13
I personally work in 30 minute intervals - at the absolute most. I might feel that my concentration wanes after 20 minutes and that´s when I stop. But - not necessarily to take a break, but to switch to a different practice item. I will have to take a break of 10 minutes after each hour of practice though...
I also favor diversity in practice and will not practice the same item on two consecutive days - I will get numb, can´t concentrate as well and will not be happy. One item each two days works well for me.
I think using a practice journal really helps to customize a personal practice strategy and really analyze and see what works for oneself.

Best wishes,

Derk
#14
Thanks for all the food for thought and suggestions.

I´m definetly sticking to same things everyday as FP and many others suggested. (thanks )

I remember reading about one study where a group of students read the same essay everyday as opposed to another group and a control group who read it on alternate days.

The percentage of info of the "alternate group", outdid the §everyday group", BUT HERES the HUGE BUT, only initially!. After a longer period, the curve for the group readng the same thing everyday increased drastically and they were able to consistently outdo the interval readers and remember about 90% of it perfectly. ( makes sense that you mention the same thing "more solid progress locks in")

The pausing idea seems so logical.. i dont know why i was forcing myself to practice 5+ hours straight.. (it did however help my concentration and discilpine skills immensely)

And the Rustey Cooley method also makes immense sense! as others said (thanks) you dont get burned out or see certain drills as a punishment and if you let it rest you can pretty much practice something 3 times a day and make progress smoother, since for your mind you have practiced it 3 different times instead of 1 long hour.. (trying the vibrato steve vai technique of total immersion is still worth a shot) :P

The dopamine shot is indeed a good idea when one is low on motivation
So the only thing i will be alternating is repertoire and improv, since that´s where i let loose and the creative part takes control, on good days i always start with the things i like practicing less, that way I dont end up doing them at 1 am in the morning all burned out..


AGAIN: THANKS for all your intelligent, detailed and good willed answers.
Will be experimenting and practicing my ass off and as usual keeping a journal to always keep improving and help others with their practice schedules.

Best wishes!
Alex
Quote by Hail
i'm the internet equivalent of ripping the skin off my face and strangling you with it right now


Quote by Steve Albini
Remixing is for talentless pussies who don't know how to tune a drum or point a microphone.
Last edited by Slashiepie at Nov 29, 2011,
#15
Quote by Slashiepie
Thanks for all the food for thought and suggestions.

I´m definetly sticking to same things everyday as FP and many others suggested. (thanks )

I remember reading about one study where a group of students read the same essay everyday as opposed to another group and a control group who read it on alternate days.

The percentage of info of the "alternate group", outdid the §everyday group", BUT HERES the HUGE BUT, only initially!. After a longer period, the curve for the group readng the same thing everyday increased drastically and they were able to consistently outdo the interval readers and remember about 90% of it perfectly. ( makes sense that you mention the same thing "more solid progress locks in")

The pausing idea seems so logical.. i dont know why i was forcing myself to practice 5+ hours straight.. (it did however help my concentration and discilpine skills immensely)

And the Rustey Cooley method also makes immense sense! as others said (thanks) you dont get burned out or see certain drills as a punishment and if you let it rest you can pretty much practice something 3 times a day and make progress smoother, since for your mind you have practiced it 3 different times instead of 1 long hour.. (trying the vibrato steve vai technique of total immersion is still worth a shot) :P

The dopamine shot is indeed a good idea when one is low on motivation
So the only thing i will be alternating is repertoire and improv, since that´s where i let loose and the creative part takes control, on good days i always start with the things i like practicing less, that way I dont end up doing them at 1 am in the morning all burned out..


AGAIN: THANKS for all your intelligent, detailed and good willed answers.
Will be experimenting and practicing my ass off and as usual keeping a journal to always keep improving and help others with their practice schedules.

Best wishes!
Alex


Hi,
good points. Here´s my humble perspective...
If music was linear and comparable to reading an essay it would make sense to me, but music is HUGE and therefore needs an approach that incorporates diversity to produce musical results in end.
I would also always favor a strategy that contributes to overall inspiration and motivation of the practitioner, even if there is a slight decrease in progress, because if these levels are not kept as high as possible the practitioner might simply quit.
So, I think it´s always a slight compromise between ultra-effectiveness and designing a schedule that you really look forward to each day.
This is just my perspective at my current point of human development, so - I always deeply consider that might be dead wrong!

Best wishes and thanks for all the valuable input - helps me grow!

Derk
#16
Diversity can be good. When I stop progressing withing a song, I put the song on ice and start learning a new song. After some days I check back at the problem areas of the previous songs and often experience progression. I've even experienced progression after skipping a day of practise (like skipping a day in a 2 week interval).

I find it so important to be mentally aware. Everyone has a few white whales in their closets, which often has the good old "I will never be able to play this part of the song"-feeling associated to it. This can affect you to play it sloppy, even thou your skill is perfectly high enough. By keeping some diversity, you provoke the feeling of constant progress everywhere, which again affects all your whales when you start getting the "nothing is impossible"-attitude as a result of always experiencing the feeling of mastery.

By the way, if anyone has thoughts, books or even experiments relating to this, I would be very happy if you would share it with me.

* Edited some of the misspellings
Last edited by Yois111 at Nov 29, 2011,
#17
Quote by Neal_Wakefield
About "dopamine" - the approach that I find useful at this moment is this: when I have a "good day", I start with something repetitive and have absolutely no problem with that. When I feel rather low, I start with improvisation or playing some riffs I like and after a while - the dopamine shows up


So I was playing guitar earlier but was quite frustrated (about something entirely unrelated). I find this can sometimes either effect my ability to play or at least my perception of my ability to play.... Anyway, I thought "screw it" and just whammed on a really simple Aeolian backing track and it just focused me right back to guitar, I felt really good about playing, and I played better as a result.

This has happened to me a few times recently. Personally I think my improv is a bit crap but for some reason just whamming on an easy backing track and just rocking out a bit just makes me feel a lot better (even if it is crap) and also makes me play better afterwards.
ESP Horizon FR II (EMG) / Ibanez Prestige RG1570 (DiMarzio Crunch Lab & LiquiFire pickups)
#18
Quote by DerkStiepelmann
Hi,
good points. Here´s my humble perspective...
If music was linear and comparable to reading an essay it would make sense to me, but music is HUGE and therefore needs an approach that incorporates diversity to produce musical results in end.
I would also always favor a strategy that contributes to overall inspiration and motivation of the practitioner, even if there is a slight decrease in progress, because if these levels are not kept as high as possible the practitioner might simply quit.
So, I think it´s always a slight compromise between ultra-effectiveness and designing a schedule that you really look forward to each day.
This is just my perspective at my current point of human development, so - I always deeply consider that might be dead wrong!

Best wishes and thanks for all the valuable input - helps me grow!

Derk


Pretty valid points, music as a whole cant be really taught in such linear fashion..

i will keep doing some research and try to stumble upon scientific articles that tackle all the little details or ask my professors.

luckily for me i can muscle my way through anything no matter how boring as long as i believe it is going to make me better, motivation is rarely a factor, and if it is i just listen to Steve Vai talk or jam around and voila its all back

Thanks again for the input, i will try to cover all these areas in a more detailed and structured way in the future and compile it all so everyone can optimize their schedule according to their personality and needs. (this will have to wait a year though, after i graduate

Will make sure to post again .
Quote by Hail
i'm the internet equivalent of ripping the skin off my face and strangling you with it right now


Quote by Steve Albini
Remixing is for talentless pussies who don't know how to tune a drum or point a microphone.
#20
Quote by llBlackenedll
So I was playing guitar earlier but was quite frustrated (about something entirely unrelated). I find this can sometimes either effect my ability to play or at least my perception of my ability to play.... Anyway, I thought "screw it" and just whammed on a really simple Aeolian backing track and it just focused me right back to guitar, I felt really good about playing, and I played better as a result.

This has happened to me a few times recently.


This helps me also personally and I keep talking about this method to others as I find it very useful and effective. It can help you feel better about practicing when your mood is worse than usual and to keep practicing everyday without unnecesary forcing yourself as a result.


Quote by Slashiepie

luckily for me i can muscle my way through anything no matter how boring as long as i believe it is going to make me better, motivation is rarely a factor, and if it is i just listen to Steve Vai talk or jam around and voila its all back


Will make sure to post again .


Remember that ability to do something on daily baisis regardless your mood is also a type of motivation You're in a very good situation then! Keep developing, wish you the best.
__
Neal Wakefield