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To improve your guitar playing you have to practice regularly. That’s a no-brainer. To make sure you actually do that you must have time, motivation, energy and focus.
Time is one thing (if that is not enough), but motivation, energy and focus are equally important and really need to be in place to make your guitar regimen rock solid.
For some this may look unattainable, but it can be done.
Let’s take a look at the key ingredients to make this work:
Yes, prepare, prepare, prepare!
1 – Write down in your calendar at what days, what times and for how long you’re going to practice (30 or 60 min).
2 – Schedule another 30 min extra time before practice (I’ll explain in a minute).
3 – Inform family and friends your practice time is sacred and they can’t disturb you while you’re at it.
4 – Find or create a quiet and private practice space, where nobody will find you :)
5 – Set up your equipment, your guitar(s), sheet music, and necessary tools (pick,capo,tuners,etc.) the day before practice, so you are ready to roll.
6 – Make sure nothing comes in between you and your practice regimen. Make it so.
Table of Contents
Next, write out the table of contents for your practice workout. How are you going to spend those valuable 30 to 60 minutes of full blown practice?
Make sure it contains everything you love to play and things that drive you to get better and better. Choose, print and write down the scales, licks, exercises, chords, progressions and solos you want to work on. Get your nice blues jamtracks ready for improvisation, find some ear training exercises, and music theory to study, and above all, select the songs you love to play.
Laying the Groundwork
So what do you do before your practice workout? What can be so important you need to add another 30 minutes upfront.
Well, before you dismiss this, we all know that exercise improves your physical shape, gives you a nice runner high and enhances your overall health, but it does a lot more than that.
Exercise stimulates the brain activity, strengthens your attention, your working memory and processing speed. This has great benefits to everything that you want to learn right after a workout and in the longterm. (source: “Spark”: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain)
If you go jogging the brain creates new cells, yes, new cells, but they need information in order to survive. In our case that means guitar knowledge: Memorize new scales, riffs, licks, solos, chords, songs, music theory, anything that can improve your guitar playing.
So, the best way to start your practice regimen is to exercise for 20 to 30 minutes. Go for a run, do some sort of aerobics, fitness or tennis. Anything that makes you sweat and gets your heart pumping, then cool down and relax for a few minutes and start your guitar practice workout right or soon after that.
It will make all the difference. You will feel energetic, uplifted, motivated to play and at the same time you’ve improved your brain’s potential to log in and process new information.
This new guitar regimen will keep you healthy, sharp, inspired and confident to practice, write, perform, get better, learn more and improve faster.
It’s time to workout and play!