How to plan a practice session

Guitar Tricks Forum > Open Discussion > How to plan a practice session

trdcpa

Full Access

Joined: 03/26/20

Posts: 3

I've been trying to play for some time now, but have had limited results. I'm bliitzing through (and discarding) the Lisa McCormack videos, finding them too basic and of little to no use. I need to pick up the guitar and PRACTICE! Are there any videos that help with planning a meaningful practice session? I'm thinking, at the moment:

Warm-up

Basic scales (C-major and G-major, both in the open position, for me right now)

Basic chords and chord changes

Latch on to a song and stick with it until it sounds like something

Any advice will be gratefully appreciated.

#1

I've been trying to play for some time now, but have had limited results. I'm bliitzing through (and discarding) the Lisa McCormack videos, finding them too basic and of little to no use. I need to pick up the guitar and PRACTICE! Are there any videos that help with planning a meaningful practice session? I'm thinking, at the moment:

Warm-up

Basic scales (C-major and G-major, both in the open position, for me right now)

Basic chords and chord changes

Latch on to a song and stick with it until it sounds like something

Any advice will be gratefully appreciated.

john of MT

Full Access

Joined: 10/08/09

Posts: 1096

I'll share what I like to do but, beware, it comes without preapproval by those that know their way around a guitar (or a practice session).

IMO one of the most, or the most important, practice considerations is consistency. With that in mind, my practice is scheduled; in the time of day, in the length of time and the number of times a week. Again, consistent and dedicated practice is paramount, IMO.

I approach those practice sessions much like a teacher using a lesson plan. In fact, what I do in each practice is written out in advance, usually for the week. Multiple 'things' are practiced in the sessions and those 'things' are allotted a fixed time, e.g., 10 minutes, 15 minutes, etc.

Speaking of time... I use a timer. Not because I'm obssessive but because it keeps me focused. The allotted practice time is fingers on strings. It doesn't count set up and tuning, break time doesn't count nor does transition from one 'thing' to another -- the practice time is purely practice... not noodling around.

About those 'things'... practice what you need to, not what you have down pat. It's OK to revisit and stay fresh with previously learned 'things' (especially songs) but one must practice what one has trouble with. And push yourself to learn new 'things.'

Speaking of which, however you build your practice plan it must include songs, IMO. For me, it must include new songs I'm working on and old songs learned in the past. I have to practice previously learned songs or I may forget lyrics or how they are played and my chops will certainly diminish. So, my song time is divided; maybe two-thirds for a new tune, the remaining third for review of old songs.

There is so much to practice. There are scads of techniques, songs, drills that deserve attention. One simply can't to it all, all the time. One trick that might help... increase the daily/practice time just a little every couple weeks. The important thing... ya' gotta do the time. To do that, ya' gotta find the time. Do what you can and then find the time to do a little more. A day off, a break and/or a vacation is allowed, however.

I recommend to all players, particularly newbies, the book, Zen Guitar, by Philip Toshio Sudo. Despite its title, it is not about Zen, it's not even about how to play. Instead, it is about the mindset of guitar and how to approach learning the instrument. It's a small book and a short read but it's a read that I and others do over and over. It is motivational. (do a Forum search -- you'll find a couple threads about the book). New or used, the price won't break the bank... $12 for Amazon Kindle, $6 to $13 for paperback from Amazon.

Learning guitar is an unending road. It is not a race, it is not a competition. It's about music and having fun.

Good luck and have fun.

john

"It takes a lot of devotion and work, or maybe I should say play, because if you love it, that's what it amounts to. I haven't found any shortcuts, and I've been looking for a long time."
-- Chet Atkins

#2

I'll share what I like to do but, beware, it comes without preapproval by those that know their way around a guitar (or a practice session).

IMO one of the most, or the most important, practice considerations is consistency. With that in mind, my practice is scheduled; in the time of day, in the length of time and the number of times a week. Again, consistent and dedicated practice is paramount, IMO.

I approach those practice sessions much like a teacher using a lesson plan. In fact, what I do in each practice is written out in advance, usually for the week. Multiple 'things' are practiced in the sessions and those 'things' are allotted a fixed time, e.g., 10 minutes, 15 minutes, etc.

Speaking of time... I use a timer. Not because I'm obssessive but because it keeps me focused. The allotted practice time is fingers on strings. It doesn't count set up and tuning, break time doesn't count nor does transition from one 'thing' to another -- the practice time is purely practice... not noodling around.

About those 'things'... practice what you need to, not what you have down pat. It's OK to revisit and stay fresh with previously learned 'things' (especially songs) but one must practice what one has trouble with. And push yourself to learn new 'things.'

Speaking of which, however you build your practice plan it must include songs, IMO. For me, it must include new songs I'm working on and old songs learned in the past. I have to practice previously learned songs or I may forget lyrics or how they are played and my chops will certainly diminish. So, my song time is divided; maybe two-thirds for a new tune, the remaining third for review of old songs.

There is so much to practice. There are scads of techniques, songs, drills that deserve attention. One simply can't to it all, all the time. One trick that might help... increase the daily/practice time just a little every couple weeks. The important thing... ya' gotta do the time. To do that, ya' gotta find the time. Do what you can and then find the time to do a little more. A day off, a break and/or a vacation is allowed, however.

I recommend to all players, particularly newbies, the book, Zen Guitar, by Philip Toshio Sudo. Despite its title, it is not about Zen, it's not even about how to play. Instead, it is about the mindset of guitar and how to approach learning the instrument. It's a small book and a short read but it's a read that I and others do over and over. It is motivational. (do a Forum search -- you'll find a couple threads about the book). New or used, the price won't break the bank... $12 for Amazon Kindle, $6 to $13 for paperback from Amazon.

Learning guitar is an unending road. It is not a race, it is not a competition. It's about music and having fun.

Good luck and have fun.

john

"It takes a lot of devotion and work, or maybe I should say play, because if you love it, that's what it amounts to. I haven't found any shortcuts, and I've been looking for a long time."
-- Chet Atkins

trdcpa

Full Access

Joined: 03/26/20

Posts: 3

Thanks, John. Liked what you said so much that I have already added Zen Guitar to my Kindle.

#3

Thanks, John. Liked what you said so much that I have already added Zen Guitar to my Kindle.

john of MT

Full Access

Joined: 10/08/09

Posts: 1096

Good deal! Glad I helped.

Good luck, have fun.

"It takes a lot of devotion and work, or maybe I should say play, because if you love it, that's what it amounts to. I haven't found any shortcuts, and I've been looking for a long time."
-- Chet Atkins

#4

Good deal! Glad I helped.

Good luck, have fun.

"It takes a lot of devotion and work, or maybe I should say play, because if you love it, that's what it amounts to. I haven't found any shortcuts, and I've been looking for a long time."
-- Chet Atkins

Keith Altazin

Full Access

Joined: 04/01/19

Posts: 10

Thanks John, great advice. Time is not the issue for me, focus is. Your advice on planning practice sessions should have occurred to me since I am a teacher, lol!

#5

Thanks John, great advice. Time is not the issue for me, focus is. Your advice on planning practice sessions should have occurred to me since I am a teacher, lol!

klee9

Full Access

Joined: 03/27/20

Posts: 1


Thanks John, I may use this quote below if you don't mind. Good stuff!

"Learning guitar is an unending road. It is not a race, it is not a competition. It's about music and having fun"--john

#6


Thanks John, I may use this quote below if you don't mind. Good stuff!

"Learning guitar is an unending road. It is not a race, it is not a competition. It's about music and having fun"--john

john of MT

Full Access

Joined: 10/08/09

Posts: 1096

Originally Posted by: klee9


Thanks John, I may use this quote below if you don't mind. Good stuff!

"Learning guitar is an unending road. It is not a race, it is not a competition. It's about music and having fun"--john

Cool!

"It takes a lot of devotion and work, or maybe I should say play, because if you love it, that's what it amounts to. I haven't found any shortcuts, and I've been looking for a long time."
-- Chet Atkins

#7

Originally Posted by: klee9


Thanks John, I may use this quote below if you don't mind. Good stuff!

"Learning guitar is an unending road. It is not a race, it is not a competition. It's about music and having fun"--john

Cool!

"It takes a lot of devotion and work, or maybe I should say play, because if you love it, that's what it amounts to. I haven't found any shortcuts, and I've been looking for a long time."
-- Chet Atkins

john of MT

Full Access

Joined: 10/08/09

Posts: 1096

Originally Posted by: Keith

Thanks John, great advice. Time is not the issue for me, focus is. Your advice on planning practice sessions should have occurred to me since I am a teacher, lol!

Where do you think I learned it from? My Lady is a retired Spec Ed teacher. I told her of your post and we both had a good chuckle about your 'Doh!' moment.

Good luck, have fun.

"It takes a lot of devotion and work, or maybe I should say play, because if you love it, that's what it amounts to. I haven't found any shortcuts, and I've been looking for a long time."
-- Chet Atkins

#8

Originally Posted by: Keith

Thanks John, great advice. Time is not the issue for me, focus is. Your advice on planning practice sessions should have occurred to me since I am a teacher, lol!

Where do you think I learned it from? My Lady is a retired Spec Ed teacher. I told her of your post and we both had a good chuckle about your 'Doh!' moment.

Good luck, have fun.

"It takes a lot of devotion and work, or maybe I should say play, because if you love it, that's what it amounts to. I haven't found any shortcuts, and I've been looking for a long time."
-- Chet Atkins

manXcat

♪It's getting better all the time♫

Joined: 02/17/18

Posts: 982

"Any advice will be gratefully appreciated".

For thinkers without blinkers, I've always found this guy's considered advice worth listening to.

Works for me. Might for you?

Cheers.

manXcat

♪A little better all the time♫

#9

"Any advice will be gratefully appreciated".

For thinkers without blinkers, I've always found this guy's considered advice worth listening to.

Works for me. Might for you?

Cheers.

manXcat

♪A little better all the time♫