How To Balance Your Guitar Practice Schedule
By Matteo Miller-Nicolato
Most guitar players who don't take guitar lessons tend to practice whatever they want to, usually what they like... Sometimes what they read online. Often, they overlook many skills that they either don't know about or don't want to practice. This causes a lot of problems, because you end up "out of balance" and therefore lack the ability to tie everything together.
This means that you could spend a LONG TIME practicing something... and NOT get the full benefit because you are so weak in another area that it will bottleneck your abilities.
You must learn how to balance all of the following skills appropriately. Choose 2-3 items on this list each time you practice. Focus your attention to different areas of guitar playing over the course of a week. Imagine you're doing a gym workout. Remember some muscles get sore, so if you work out the same muscles every time you're only hurting yourself.
Picking Technique 5%
Isolate your picking hand and find weaknesses in your economy of motion.
Lead Guitar Techniques 10%
Perfect the execution of your lead guitar techniques so you don’t make mistakes.
Ear Training 10%
Singing intervals, arpeggios, and scales so you can hear and understand music more clearly.
Music Theory [Chords, Scales, Arpeggios, Intervals, Keys] 15%
Study and expand your knowledge of music theory, and how to apply it to guitar playing.
Fretboard Memorization 10%
Memorize the fretboard by looking at it from different angles.
Improvise with various restrictions so you force yourself to play in innovative ways.
Songwriting and Recording 10%
Apply your knowledge and develop creativity by composing your own music.
2-Hand Coordination + Speed Building 10%
Isolate your fretting hand and find weaknesses in your economy of motion.
Develop synchronization between your two hands so they work together like cog wheels.
Rhythm and Timing 5%
Perfect your timing so you can play along with music, other people, and sound professional.
Performance + Songs 5%
Practice while standing up, and rehearse your songs!
In general, this is a pretty good layout for how much you should focus on each skill. It's not perfect, because everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses. You should try to tailor this for your own skillset. This is also why taking Guitar Lessons San Diego can really improve your abilities much faster.
You should NOT attempt to practice ALL of these things during a single practice session. Instead, you should try to hit 2-3 different skill sets each time you practice. Rotate among skills and try to find really good exercises that will target several skills at the same time.
For example, one of the BEST exercises to practice is Scale Patterns with a metronome. This will help you improve EVERY SINGLE SKILL at the same time!!! You will learn the music theory, how it looks on the fretboard, you can use the patterns while improvising and phrasing, it will improve your technique and rhythm, you can hear the scale (so that's ear training), helps with songwriting, and also your picking.
Yep, that's why musicians like to practice scales.
Anyway, for more powerful strategies on how to improve your guitar playing, you should schedule a FREE Introductory Guitar Lesson in San Diego today and I can help you achieve your guitar playing goals!
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