#1
I've only fairly recently begun to structure my practice using an actual routine. I have been practicing using the Pepper Brown Practice routine for two hours everyday for the last three or so weeks.

My current plan is to slowly increase my daily practice by 30 minutes to an hour every few weeks until I can comfortably practice for six hours every day(can you tell I like Dream Theater?). I would appreciate any alternative methods or additions to my current plan, as well as more general advice on practicing longer periods of time without burning out.

As of now I split my practice into two sessions each one hour in length, one first thing in the morning when I wake up and the other soon after school. I would like to take advantage of the large amounts of free time that I fully expect to lose very soon after high school.

Thanks in advance.
Last edited by Cheeseshark at Feb 10, 2016,
#2
Thats good, but don't focus solely on technique, throw in some song learning by ear, or improving over different backing tracks. Strive to get everything you play clean and in time.

Some people might tell you 6 hours/day practice is overkill, or unescessary, but don't listen to them. Practice as long as you can without shirking your other more important responsibilities. If you never watch another TV show and instead use the time to practice, you won't regret it I promise. I've been known to put in 12-14 hour practice sessions and I loved every minute of it. Cherish the time you spend with the guitar though, it needs to be fun and you should rarely have to make yourself do it.
#3
I second what jlowe said. Honestly my routine is I come home from school, turn something on the tv, and then practice till dinner. After that I shower and do schoolwork, then right back to practicing. I find the TV helps because it lets me work on my muscle memory more. Instead of closing my eyes or looking away, I just read the subtitles and keep playing
Just a week or two ago I found a bunch of Gary Davis tabs that'd I'd been looking for forever, and practiced em straight through the night. By the time I was done I actually couldn't unbend the fingers on my right hand, it was awesome. As long as you enjoy it, practice as long as you want
#4
You can build muscle memory, timing and certain chops while watching TV like that, but some time need also be spent 100% focused on the guitar.

I promise you one thing: the guitar has nuances you don't know that you don't know about. I've been playing a long time, and I am still discovering how the most seemingly insignificant things are what makes or breaks a lick, solo, or song. You should spend part of your time listening intently to songs you like and want to replicate on guitar. Slow them down if you have to, but try to pick out not only the notes, but also the exact way the notes were played. The backing rhythms, the bass line, the drum beat, the piano part, violin part, whatever else. You can increase you repertoire with tabs, but don't overly rely on them unless you're truly stumped and have hit a brick wall that you've tried to break and just can't.

I could literally write a book about practicing the guitar, and it would barely cover basic things. This is something that will take you a lifetime to "master", unless your first name is Guthrie, and last Govan.
#5
Quote by teleobrien
I find the TV helps because it lets me work on my muscle memory more.

practiced em straight through the night. By the time I was done I actually couldn't unbend the fingers on my right hand, it was awesome.


Well I'd be careful with that first one. If you are also watching the TV then that 'muscle memory' might be for bad technique. Are your fingers just behind the fret wire? Are you pressing too hard? Are your chords sounding clean? Are you making minimum movements? IMO, keeping up with The Bold and the Beautiful whilst noodling is the making of sloppy playing.

Practicing until you can't 'straighten' your fingers does sound awesome though.....an awesome way of developing an injury as clearly you are playing too long and/or with too much tension.

I do agree with jlowe about getting lots of practice but, personally, I feel it should be 100% concentration. If you are distracted by something else, playing until you get frustrated or just noodling then you probably aren't progressing that much or maybe going backwards.

I feel 1 hour of 'fully committed practice' a day would be better than 3 hours of noodling in front of the TV or checking FacePalm updates between exercises. Obviously 3 hours of committed structured practice would be better than both
#6
Quote by SpiderM
Well I'd be careful with that first one. If you are also watching the TV then that 'muscle memory' might be for bad technique. Are your fingers just behind the fret wire? Are you pressing too hard? Are your chords sounding clean? Are you making minimum movements? IMO, keeping up with The Bold and the Beautiful whilst noodling is the making of sloppy playing.

Practicing until you can't 'straighten' your fingers does sound awesome though.....an awesome way of developing an injury as clearly you are playing too long and/or with too much tension.

I do agree with jlowe about getting lots of practice but, personally, I feel it should be 100% concentration. If you are distracted by something else, playing until you get frustrated or just noodling then you probably aren't progressing that much or maybe going backwards.

I feel 1 hour of 'fully committed practice' a day would be better than 3 hours of noodling in front of the TV or checking FacePalm updates between exercises. Obviously 3 hours of committed structured practice would be better than both


Well, for me personally, I'm rarely going to watch TV or something similarly silly while practicing. But many people do, and they aren't going to stop. I can imagine that an exercise like say, running scales up and down the neck, can probably be achieved while watching TV. As long as you're focused enough to identify and correct mistakes.

But you are right that if you aren't spending some time 100% focused on guitar, then you're being silly and probably won't ever get much better.
#7
Quote by jlowe22
Well, for me personally, I'm rarely going to watch TV or something similarly silly while practicing. But many people do, and they aren't going to stop. I can imagine that an exercise like say, running scales up and down the neck, can probably be achieved while watching TV. As long as you're focused enough to identify and correct mistakes.

But you are right that if you aren't spending some time 100% focused on guitar, then you're being silly and probably won't ever get much better.


I think we are in agreement fella One of the big things for me is shutting myself away in my little music room and loosing myself in practice.
#8
The TV thing usually is for practicing songs I already know, learning new ones I usually devote some 1 on 1 time. And I mean, I'm a 500x better player than I was just a few months ago, so I gotta be doing something right. My technique probably isn't the best, but I like how my music sounds, it doesn't sound sloppy and I don't mute notes in chords or anything. Yeah I probably can't shred an impromptu solo, but I can play the music I like playing and that's what matters to me
#9
if you are going to TV .. at least make it a bit of a challenge..I try to play all the commercial jingles and theme songs to the shows..try the Law & Order themes...and Jeopardy is fun..

most of these are fairly easy and it does help develop your ear..

Don't just do mindless noodles..better to not play at all in that case..
play well

wolf
#10
Well I personally can't stand just about any show on TV so I steer clear of that, but I do watch stuff on my phone while running scales and arpeggios or anything else where the exact BPM I play at isn't a concern. I do of course stay focused enough to notice if I flub a note or play poorly. And even then I might buy a physical metronome so that I can play to it with some background noise.

The main subject I would appreciate feedback on is the matter of slowly increasing my practice time. My hope is that by the time I increase practice time I will already have become accustomed to my previous time to the point of it being a habit. I plan to repeat this until I can comfortably practice at least six hours a day.

I understand what was said about not forcing yourself to practice, but I want to become very good. But I don't necessarily feel in the mood to practice everyday. So I'm hoping that this method will allow me to slowly adapt and build patience and focus. Thanks.
#11
If you aren't paying attention to the sound of what you're doing, then you're missing the most important part. There's nothing wrong with noodling while you watch TV, but it is in no way an effective way to practice anything.


Anyone trying to do 6 hours of practice a day should have diverse practice material and a plan for how to use that time. Include material that challenges you for more than speed - slow pieces are essential for technical development. Don't practice for more than one hour at a time, and avoid doing lots of intense technique stuff every day. It's easy to develop modest speed with poor technique and then injure yourself by doing too much fast playing.
Last edited by cdgraves at Feb 11, 2016,
#12
Yep, space it out. Even me for now. Even if I can do up to 4-6 hours a day with music, I do space it out so that way everything gets done in a more efficient and decent manner. When I was starting though, I didn't try that. I went for the blitzing, playing-in-a-row strategy. Made my arms and hands sore as all hell. The moment I spaced it all out, pain went away easily ^^

-Sharky
#13
The only show I watch is football, and some sports in general. When I'm watching football, I'm noodling on the guitar, but I don't consider that practice, because my focus is on watching football. If you do this as well, don't mistake that for practicing, it isn't even close.
#14
That Super Bowl, tho. Amirite?

Yeah, I can see what ya mean, jlowe. Focus on one thing or another, but try not to focus on more than one thing with the same exact effort, or else it will be halfassed heh
#15
Quote by CherokeShredder
That Super Bowl, tho. Amirite?

Yeah, I can see what ya mean, jlowe. Focus on one thing or another, but try not to focus on more than one thing with the same exact effort, or else it will be halfassed heh


I'm not saying it won't help you AT ALL, but yea, it's definitely a half assed way to "practice".
#17
Quote by Cheeseshark
I've only fairly recently begun to structure my practice using an actual routine. I have been practicing using the Pepper Brown Practice routine for two hours everyday for the last three or so weeks.

My current plan is to slowly increase my daily practice by 30 minutes to an hour every few weeks until I can comfortably practice for six hours every day(can you tell I like Dream Theater?). I would appreciate any alternative methods or additions to my current plan, as well as more general advice on practicing longer periods of time without burning out.

As of now I split my practice into two sessions each one hour in length, one first thing in the morning when I wake up and the other soon after school. I would like to take advantage of the large amounts of free time that I fully expect to lose very soon after high school.

Thanks in advance.

Hey dude,

The key to long and productive practice sessions is taking breaks ever hour. Each hour should actually look like 50min practice/10min rest. This is really important for maintaining focus and also for avoiding injury.

Keep a practice log, too. Document everything so you get a clear picture of where and how you're progressing.

Good luck!
#18
I appreciate all of the advice and have begun to implement it into my daily practice, especially the comments about making sure I actually listen to every note I play and taking brakes every hour. Thanks.