Practicing Versus Playing

The differences between Practicing and Playing.

Ultimate Guitar
Believe it or not, many guitar players who just start out often misunderstand the differences between Practicing and Playing. Many of them think by playing cool riffs and having their hands moving around the guitar to their favorite songs is called Practicing. They assume that they have reached their goal of practicing guitar by playing for a certain allocated time frame. In theory, it is obvious for guitar players to distinguish practicing from playing, however in practical sense, it is very common that beginners do not really understand on the differences between Practicing and Playing. Practicing guitar is something that you are working on after you learned the thing for developing your guitar skills into the next level which can be both physical practice and mental practice. Playing guitar by definition is the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method as opposed to theories about such application or use. This is done by performing (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one's proficiency. For example, if a guitar player already knows how to comfortably play a lick at 120 bpm without any mistakes and their goal is to achieve the lick at 150 bpm, playing the same lick at 120 bpm everyday will not help them reach their goal of getting it done at 150 bpm. Their best move is to work on their speed up by practicing a variation of different speeds. It's not a matter of achieving it first time, but the habit of variation. Sooner or later, one will master the art and true understanding of the guitar and the guitar will become an extension of oneself. Variation is important whist practicing. If one keeps repeating the same thing, they will get the same results. You want improvement. However, this does not mean repetition is not important. Repetition helps build confidence and proficiency. This results in one's ability to play the guitar as second nature. It is important to note, that practicing and playing the guitar are two different things. Both are useful and used correctly will achieve tremendous success. Please find below a few core questions to ask yourself in order to make the most of your practice sessions and playing sessions. PRACTICE: 1. When do you want to reach your goals of guitar playing? What skills do you want to learn, are they Physical or Mental techniques? 2. What's your time frame? 3. What is the specific topic you wish to study? 4. What is the challenge(s) or mistake(s) that may occur? 5. What is the obstacle you wish to overcome and how will you do it? PLAYING: 1. Do you know how to play the guitar seamlessly? 2. Is everything in your control? 3. Do you enjoy every moment you touch the strings? 4. Have you revised all the things you have learnt thus far? 5. How well do you express your feelings to the world? Your result of your guitar ability comes from quality not quantity. It is important to distinguish the difference between playing the guitar and practicing the guitar. It is also equality important to ask yourself the hard questions, to ensure that every moment spent with the guitar is a precious one. Keep On Rocking that six strings! Feel free to leave a comment. There will be much stuff coming soon, and any questions please don't hesitate to ask. By Poh Jindawech

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Absolutely! 100% agree! From one who thought he was "practicing" for 10+yrs and finally figured out why I wasn't gettin' anywhere! Learn the chops, do the exercises (they're right here at this site) and oh what a relief it will be!!! Going back to the basics for 10/15 min daily will improve accuracy, speed, and the time it takes to learn new songs will be quicker! Best of all it makes playing fun again!
    YES! Spent the last three years looking at tabs here and not actually learning stuff. Started taking classical guitar classes at my college in the fall and the information has helped tremendously. I now know my modes, major scales, and principal chords. The three most important things to learn as a beginner in my opinion. Repetition of the scales are key to eventually getting good solos! especially playing the scales in random note order (if that makes sense). I found it hard to stay motivated with guitar until I learned the basics and some theory behind it.
    Good Ol' Ramos
    Good distinction. I've been playing guitar for 5 or 6 years, and actually getting the time to improve over the last 2 or 3 years. Now that this is on the forefront of my mind I'll be able to pay closer attention to my balance of learning new things and doing what I know.
    Brilliant little article here. I have often found that I'm just playing guitar and going over the same stuff over and over again to familiarise myself with the music. But after experimenting with a lot of techniques/challenging myself to write stuff that I find that I have actually improved when I pick the guitar up a bit later as things which I couldn't play before I can somehow play. Keep it coming man!