A Simple Practice Routine for Beginners to Make Faster Improvements

If you find that your practice is all over the place and has no structure then read this, it will speed up your progress.

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If you want to make bigger and better progress faster and more efficiently, this is one way to do it.

Step 1

Get a notebook or use a word document (or Evernote or something similar)

Step 2

Write the following headings at the top of three separate pages:

Songs (These are the songs you know how to play)
Riffs (These are the riffs you know how to play)
Technical (These are the things you need to work on)

Step 3

Fill out the above with all the songs, riffs and technical areas you need to work in a list.

For the songs you know how to play, they should be complete songs where you know all the parts for the rhythm guitar at least.

The Riffs page can be any riff, melody or part of a song.

Technical is the things that are holding back your playing.

These are the nagging things that trip you up in playing or things you would love to add to your playing.

Eg. slow chord change on G to C, you keep forgetting a strum pattern, wanting to improve a Travis picking pattern, want to learn the minor pentatonic scale, etc.

Step 4

  • Start your practice routine with a song, then...
  • Spend 2 minutes perfecting something from the Technical section, and then...
  • Play one of the riffs (these are generally quite fun and help you practice in a different way to songs).
Go pick another song, then another technical thing to work on, then another riff, and repeat so and so on.

So, your routine will look like: Song - Technical - Riff - Song - Technical -Riff

Keep on repeating until you reach between 15 - 20 minutes (ideal length for best results)

That's it. So simple and so effective.

A little more focus and a touch more tough love on yourself will help you make massive strides with your guitar playing in a shorter space of time. Below is a sample of one of my students practice routine how it looks since he followed this plan.

Sample practice routine:

Song: Oasis - "Half the World Away"
Technical: chord change from FMaj to CMaj
Riff - Michael Jackson - "Beat It"

Song: Green Day - "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)"
Technical: keeping a steady tempo with a click
Riff: Black Sabbath - "Iron Man"

The above is just about 12 minutes of his practice routine.

Follow this and your practice routine will not only be FUN, but it will be varied and highly effective. If you are unsure what technical things to work on, look for what trips you up when you play a song and focus on those in the Technical part of the practice.

This is a great practice routine for beginners and is still highly effective for more experienced guitarists.

About the Author:
Dan Thorpe is a UK based guitar teacher, writer, and musician. He is the founder of Guitar Domination. If you want to learn how to play guitar and get two five star rated Amazon eBooks for free (for a limited time) check out his blog. Also, if you enjoyed this article, share it on Facebook and Twitter, and be sure to get in touch with any questions or comments in the boxes below.

7 comments sorted by best / new / date

    As great a lesson is this is. It's just not for me. I think stuff like this takes the fun out of it...
    Nice! This is useful for intermediate players as well. I like the idea of playing a song (it feels "real," and less like "practice."), then concentrating on problem areas, then riffing for a more open feel. In my non-musical life, I train adult learners into professional positions. A breakdown like this is useful for keeping a learner engaged and interested. And the progress will encourage them to keep practicing!
    I'll give it a shot. I've been teaching myself for about 8yrs now, but hit a stopping point about 5yrs ago. something has to work.
    I agree that using songs for practicing is the best way to go for a self taught beginner. Focus your attention on timing. you can play the song slower in the beginning, so that you can get the chord changes right, then you can play at it's normal tempo and work on your timing. Clarity comes with time, so don't be worried if you are muffling strings in the process, just work on timing. You should also stick to rhythm, and forget about leads, because you will only get distracted. You have to learn the basics first. Rhythm is the foundation! You have to learn how to walk, before you can learn how to run.