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How to practice effectively?

Everyone wants to learn guitar fast.
There's only a few secrets to making that happen - for real.
Plan, practice, evaluate, experiment and socialize. 

Set goals

  • Decide what you want to learn
  • Set a (realistic) long term goal, divide it into waypoints
  • e.g. “I want to be able to play and sing my own songs” or “I want to be able to improvise cool solos”

You can safely check and change your goals while you progress.

Just remember, there's always more to learn:

  • It's easy to get frustrated if you don't advance quite as fast as you want to
  • But the better you become, the more you also demand of yourself.
  • Remember, that learning is a life-long journey.

Focus = minimize distractions

  • Practice in a place where you don’t get disturbed and you don’t have to worry about disturbing others
  • Log out from facebook, turn your mobile on silent, concentrate for an hour
  • It's like meditation, you have to clear your mind, omm....

Develop a routine

  • Practice regularly, even if short periods
  • To get better, you also need to rest in between - a routine helps keep the interest up and results there
  • e.g. half an hour 4x / wk, 1 hour 3x / wk

Track your progress

  • Record yourself
  • Start a practice diary/blog
  • Play Yousician :)
  • Practice together with a friend

Vary your exercises

Variation is key to keeping your interest there - sometimes you need to work on another area to get better at something. 

For example:

  • Rhythm guitar day (practice strumming patterns and chord progressions with a metronome)
  • Technique day (practice picking, fingerstyle, bending, tapping etc.)
  • Improvise day (practice scales, solo over a backing track)
  • Repertoire day (practice certain riffs / licks / solos / whole songs)
  • Strum&sing day (like it says)
  • Band day (jam with your friends)

Of course you can combine a number of these areas if you have a lot of time. But you should practice one thing at a time. 

Be mindful – Practice every moment

This might sound a bit new age too, but there's quite a lot of research on musicians and their brain, and in my experience it works.

  • Playing an instrument activates the brain like no other activity -> demands a lot of attention too, so don’t watch TV at the same time
  • If you do it right, your mind will keep practicing on the bus, at sleep, everywhere
  • You can also practice without a guitar, e.g. visualizing chord or scale shapes on the fretboard, tapping rhythms with your hands or practicing finger coordination – anywhere (just don't drive a truck or do other hazardous activities at the same time...)

Jam with others

  • Learning is a social activity, so share your knowledge and learn from others
  • Also it can be easier to motivate yourself and keep trying to get better if you feel challenged
  • Try to play with people who are a little better than you - that can help tremendously
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