10 Steps To Potent Practicing

10 ways to increase the benefits of your practice time.

10 Steps To Potent Practicing
0
I have spent a lot of time in researching ways to optimize practice time due to frustrations in my original method of trying to learn things quickly through brute force and mindless repetition. When we practice their are a number of requirements I have learned that must be met to get the absolute most benefit from the time spent. These can be broken down to:
  • Free Of Strain, physical discomfort, tension or fatigue
  • Free Of Conflicts, between body and mind
  • Productive, getting noticeable results in a short period of time
  • Fun, physically and mentally Whenever I sit down for one of my practice sessions I have 10 steps that I strive to follow in order to make the best use of my time. The 10 Steps to Potent Practicing are as follows.

    Warm Up The Brain And Body To Prepare For The Work Ahead

    01. Warm up the body through stretching and movement. If you are practicing once you wake up then a brisk walk will flood your body with energy while waking up your mind, making you much more mentally alert. 02. Have a clear and specific goal for what you intend to achieve in your session. This increases motivation and focus producing faster results. 03. When first picking up the guitar, remind yourself how the instrument feels by playing long note durations with the greatest ease and familiarize to playing the instrument.

    Dealing With The Music

    04. Choose a section to focus on. This might be two bars or two lines but make sure it is small enough to focus on specific problems without being overwhelmed. 05. Visualise the passage or section you are about to play and try to make it as vivid as possible. This means hearing in your head what you are about to play as clear as possible. Instead of da-da-da-da make it DA-DA-DA-DA. 06. Play it with as much feeling as you can no matter what tempo you are playing the passage at. 07. Observe and decide if you are getting the desired result. 08. Pause and give your body and mind time to digest what you just did. 09. Decide whether there is anything you should change to get a better result. For example, should you slow the tempo down? Is there another fingering that might work better? How could I improve the next run through? Doing this eliminates the habit of mindless repetition which I myself have been guilty of.

    Taking A Break

    10. Approximately every 15-20min, or more depending on your energy levels and other factors. You will need to take a break to clear your head. A simple walk around for 5min will keep you're productivity levels high.
  • 6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    comments policy
      theogonia777
      To add a it to #10, I find that it helps to walk away for awhile. For example if I'm learning a lick and I can't get it down, I'll practice it a few times slowly to learn the rhythm and fingering, and then not play it again until the next day, and then it comes a lot easier. I also find it helpful to take a couple of days off and not even touch a guitar, especially after several days of particularly frustrating practice.
      dumbface12
      theogonia777 wrote: To add a it to #10, I find that it helps to walk away for awhile. For example if I'm learning a lick and I can't get it down, I'll practice it a few times slowly to learn the rhythm and fingering, and then not play it again until the next day, and then it comes a lot easier. I also find it helpful to take a couple of days off and not even touch a guitar, especially after several days of particularly frustrating practice.
      I agree and disagree with this. Sometimes it's best to take a break especially when frustrated but at the same time you have to push yourself to a higher limit that you think you can't even get to. Which a lot times for me works but everyone is different so do what you know works.
      chaos13
      10 is the most important. If you keep clearing your head so you don't get stuck zoning out and lose track of what you're playing, the rest will come naturally.
      m3ran
      theogonia777 wrote: and then not play it again until the next day, and then it comes a lot easier. I also find it helpful to take a couple of days off and not even touch a guitar, especially after several days of particularly frustrating practice.
      That's exactly what i do
      panman79
      Very good advice. When I started, I never took lessons and did everything wrong. Practiced the same tired licks without really listening and didn't practice with a metronome. I was on the fast track to suckville. I've had to go back and relearn everything, basically doing these things you are saying. Can't stress it enough. Listen to what you are playing.