All of us have our little tricks and ticks that help us do our music our way. A lot of us keep them to ourselves thinking it makes us special in one way or another.

I'd like to try and get everyone to share their little techniques or rituals that help them, in hopes that we can all learn from each other and get better as a whole.

I don't care if it's as simple as "I do ten pushups before every recording take" or 'I've found that tuning my B and E strings up half a step to make scales easier"

What do you consider the most helpful thing when it comes to doing your music?

Me personally? When recording vocals I sing Elvis and Frank Sinatra Karaoke as a warmup, even tho I play music that's far from either style.
A couple of things.

1) I practice with my mouth open. When i was studying music i we got to chose a second instrument to get proficient with, so i chose vocals. I had these two great teachers, one classical and one jazz, and they both put emphasis on having a relaxed jaw when singing. So that habit carried over into my guitar playing, if i am not relaxed when playing, it will screw with my mouth, hence why i practice guitar with an open, relaxed mouth.

2) Mental practice. Feeding your mind statements can help you achieve things with much more ease. For example i constantly tell myself playing guitar is easy, whenever i am practicing a difficult passage of a song i tell myself that it is very easy, until i believe myself enough. If it is something i know is easy, i won't tense up more than i have to in order to play.

3) Sing the things you are working on. If i am transcribing a solo i will learn to sing the lines, if i am learning the changes to a tune i will learn to sing the important intervals of all chords (for example singing all the thirds or all the sevenths). I will learn to sing the bass part etc.

4) Breathing. Taking deep, slow breaths through my nose while playing is a great way for me to find the correct speed to practice at. The speed where i can play a line perfectly relaxed, while keeping a constant breathing pattern is what i call my "learning zone". This is where i am a master of my playing, and if i keep practicing in this zone for several days i will develop the habit of playing whatever i am learning perfectly while maintaining relaxation.
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."
sight reading--visualize what and where to play something before I play it..this is one of the many benefits of knowing the notes on the fretboard

learn at least ONE new thing every day..a song..exercise..concept..then write it down away from the guitar..

internalize what you learn as soon as possible..make what you learn YOURS..not an external exercise..play it in as many keys and positions as you can..use it in your practice routine until its integrated with your playing..this gets easier the more you do this type of stuff..stay motivated..observe top notch players (all instruments/styles) the ones that REALLY know what they are doing..emulate that attitude..perhaps at first just a few bars..then whole songs/solos..do this so you don't have to fear that "im lost" feeling..ever again

play well

Last edited by wolflen at Dec 10, 2014,
Once you've warmed up your vocals, you stay warmed up for an hour. This means that you can warm up whilst driving to the gig rather than being in public.

If playing an outdoor gig, or if its a particularly hot or cold day outside, make sure your guitar gets time to be outside its case for at least 10-15 mins before the gig starts. The guitar will expand/contract once it gets out of its case, playing havoc with your tuning. Better to let it work out the tuning problems before the gig.

Make sure you don't need to eat or do a crap before starting. If you're not sure try to do a crap anyway.

In the studio it's extremely important that you "feel" the take. If it's simply "technically perfect" but boring, it won't come across as very exciting. Figure out how to get yourself into the music to do the best takes possible.

Everyone should own a tuner pedal. I don't want to hear you tune your guitar.

Practice at a low volume so you can actually hear everything.

Think of your songs in terms of dynamics and frequency ranges. Is the quietest point of the song a lot quieter than the loudest? Why are we using a violin, falsetto voice, a guitar capo'd on 7th and a piano playing in the upper range? Make the sound evenly spread.

Arrangement of a song is as important as practicing it. If you write a song and everyone just plays what they want without discussing it, it'll invariably sound like crap.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Wow yours are way more in depth than mine haha.

Another thing i try to do, as simple as it is;

1: Try to have everything your going to need for your session on hand, Water, new strings, extra cables, sounds simple, but if you don't have to get up or run and grab something every 5 minutes, it keeps you in the mindset your trying to be in. Aim to never say "Oh Crap, I forgot."

2: For a Live setting, or any gig, I don't care what instrument you play, but you should bring an emergency kit. If you keep the following things with you at all times, you can save a gig completely, or at least simplify frustration that you or any member of your band may have:

Spare Set of Stings (Guitar AND Bass)
Drum Key
Pair of Sticks
Duct Tape
Small Loom of Wire 12 or 16 guage (maybe 20/22 in addition)
Misc Screws
Screwdriver with multiple heads
9 Volt Batteries
Any Adapter you can think of (1/4" to XLR etc)
$20 Bill

If you plan for everyone else forgetting something, your covered. It might cost up to $100 to make the kit, but it will be a great investment, and something that is often overlooked.