So, when you guys out there practice, do you have a specific aim in mind when you sit down for a session?

I personally tend to go through peaks and troughs where I'll be like "ok, today I'm going to get X technique tight and playing at Xbpm."
thats what i consider practicing. mostly i just sit down and play, which i see a difference.

to me:
practice: setting a specific goal to work at for the purpose of improving technique
playing: just picking up the guitar and making music.
I just play 99.9% of the time. I haven't used a metronome in ages, I haven't just sat and ran patterns, I've just always found that boring.
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I usually sit down and play along to a couple of songs. I play some excerises, like sweeping excerises, to a metronome and try to get them clean and solid at a certain BPM, and then other times I work on applying the thoery I've learnt to the guitar. I always take thwe time to stop and think about what notes I'm playing, and what scales I'm playing, and usually I work on chord construction.

I've even tried to do Vai's work-out, just not with ten hours, I divided it differently. =p
i usually just play too, the closest i get to practicing anymore is just sitting down with the guitar not plugged in watching TV and just mindlessly letting my fingers go at the same time
Not really. I practice things that I'm eager to learn ie, parts of songs that challenge me or licks or whatever. I have all sorts of picking and legato patterns that I practice with a metronome, but I do it all when I'm jamming in my room. I know some people are caught up in perfect technique, and it's not bad at all to seek it (it's probably better in fact if you want to be a professional musician), but I love playing guitar, and I never want it to become a chore for me. I love playing guitar more than almost anything else that I do, and I do it for the sake of playing. I have no fame or fortune in mind, though I'd love to make a living playing shows some day.

As a result I'm driven to practice heavily the things that I want or need to practice, but beyond that I have little desire to do anything outside of my comfort zone that doesn't appeal to me. I mean, as cool as it'd be to have perfect left hand positioning, through practicing all sorts of finger exercises and stuff, I am not hindered by my position that I have now, at least not in the styles I play, much the same I am not hindered at all by the fact that I cannot specifically name all of the chords that I build, because knowing the involved intervals works well enough for my purposes. Though I'm sure it'd challenge me to get involved in learning jazz like so many other metal guitarists do, I really don't like jazz, and I have no desire to learn jazz and don't care to waste my time learning it. I'm perfectly happy writing the music I'm writing, playing the styles I'm playing, and practicing and working on the things that I specifically want to improve on.

I'm not saying not to learn jazz, not to challenge yourself, not to strive for better technique, or anything like that. I'm saying that you shouldn't practice things you don't care about because you feel obligated to- practice things that you want to learn and things that you care about and it will be much more enjoyable and it will come much faster.

Argh, sorry if I'm more wishy washy than normal. I just realllllyyyy need a cigarette
Last edited by CowboyUp at Aug 4, 2008,
i usually just get carried away into a really really long solo, try and resolve it, then start another