How to practise guitar
‘Little and often’ is key when you hear this word. And without it you simply will not progress on the instrument, if you only play when you attend lessons then progress will be extremely slow and you will be constantly repeating material.
How to correctly practise the guitar.
Practise vs Playing
Practising the guitar and playing the guitar despite you having your hands on the instrument is not the same thing. Practise offers you focus on specific areas, which you can divide your practise time into. Maybe in the space of an hour you will divide your time into four stages: Scales, Technique, theory and song learning. Practising allows you to develop certain areas of your playing in order to achieve specific results. Maybe there is a fast picking line in a solo you want to master, but to achieve this you need to speed up and tighten up your picking hand so you may spend some time working through picking exercises.
Playing the guitar alone will not improve you as a player as proficiently as a dedicated practise session will. Iv met players who have been playing for 30+ years but have only managed to achieve as much skill on the guitar as some of my students who have been playing for 12 months. This is due to them just picking up the guitar and playing it and not taking the time to work out their areas of weakness or what they need to do to achieve a certain sound in a song. If they come across a song that is either too hard or requires them to sit and work on a specific part of playing they have not already mastered then they will simply leave it or make some excuse for not attempting it rather using it as an area of focus for improvement. Some players fall into a comfort zone with their playing and can stay there for many years.
Building muscle memory on the guitar
It has been proven that the best time to practise or play the guitar is just before you go to bed. This of course is not practical for everyone, however learning the guitar is 50% muscle memory and your brain retains and processes the last thing you did before you shut it down for sleep better than it will the thing you learnt right at the start of the day. Take for example you watch a zombie horror film before bed, there’s a good chance you may have a dream that night that somehow relates to the film you just watched. The best results on guitar are achieved by doing things in constant repetition, little and often. Small focused sessions everyday are better than one 5-hour session on one day. You have to give your muscle memory and brain time to process whatever it is that you are trying to make it perform automatically.