How To Practice Guitar?

If you’ve recently picked up a guitar and are eager to start playing, you may wonder how to practice effectively. Learning the guitar is a journey that requires time, dedication, and, most importantly, practice. 

In this blog post, I will guide you through some essential tips and techniques on practicing the guitar so that you can progress faster and become a better player. From setting goals to developing a practice routine, I’ll cover everything you need to know to maximize your practice sessions.

Importance of Practice Guitar

Practicing the guitar is essential for anyone looking to improve their skills and become a proficient player. Regular practice allows musicians to develop muscle memory, which is crucial for mastering chords, scales, and complex finger movements. It also helps build finger strength and skill, enabling players to navigate the fretboard easily. 

Furthermore, consistent practice enhances timing and rhythm, enabling musicians to play in sync with other instruments or backing tracks. In addition to technical benefits, practicing the guitar can be a therapeutic and enjoyable activity that allows individuals to express themselves creatively.

How To Practice Guitar?

Practicing guitar is essential for becoming a proficient player and improving your skills. To effectively practice guitar, it is important to follow some things.

how-to-practice-guitar

Warm Up Finger

I always tell people who want to learn guitar to start with a warm-up exercise to get the blood moving in their fingers. Use your index finger on each string on the first fret, middle finger on the second fret, ring finger on the third fret, and thumb on the fourth fret.

As a beginner, once you’ve warmed up, there are many things you can work on that will help you find the best way to practice guitar. These include scales, single-line melodies, reading sheet music, training your ear, music theory, chords, and much more. These should be approached similarly, but let’s look more closely at learning chords.

Practicing Chords

The best way to train is to start slowly and improve your work. From there, practice will help you get to a faster speed while keeping the clear sound you got from playing slowly. Start by putting the chords in your left hand and picking through each string to ensure each note is clear.

After getting clear on the sounds, the next step is to practice moving from one to the next, which is another good way to practice guitar. The best way to do this is to do drills called “chord progressions,” in which we play each chord four times in a row.

Here’s an example of a chord sequence that works with any set of chords:

  • Start playing with a metronome set to 50 BPM. Strumming down on each beat every time you hear the click, play each chord four times.
  • Once you can go from one chord to the next without pausing, speed up the metronome by 5 BPM until you hit 80 BPM.
  • Remove any breaks between your chords and ensure every note in every chord can be heard clearly.
  • Practicing with a metronome helps you keep the beat and speed of songs, and it’s also a great way to set goals for your practice time.

Set Daily Practice Time

When you sit down to practice, it’s easy to either focus on one thing for too long or “zone out” and think about too many things. Using a timer is a great way to stop this from happening. Set short-term goals for each subject you are working on each day and stick to the time you give yourself.

A sample plan might include 60 minutes of scales, chords, picking, etc., 30 minutes of reading, 30 minutes of ear training, 60 minutes of transcribing (learning licks, solos, etc.), and 60 minutes of repertoire (we’ll get back to that) all in one session.

It’s been four hours already. Take a 5-minute break if your mind starts to wander, and at least a 15-minute break after two hours. Get up, stretch, etc., to keep your train of thought.

Select A Practicing Place

This issue is frequently overlooked when discussing practice regimens, yet it is just as vital as the others. Another aspect of transforming your practice routine into a habit that can yield fruitful outcomes is where you practice. 

The greatest venues to practice guitar are those where you may be comfortable and without interruptions. You want to hear yourself play and focus completely on your work. Many enjoy the quiet of practicing alone in their bedrooms, but others enjoy playing in front of others.

Combine Different Exercises

Combining various exercises into one is another strategy to maximize your guitar practice time. This is a fantastic method to make your time more efficient! Here are some examples:

Assume you’re practicing the harmonized scale with closed-voiced triads.

Run the triads up and down the neck in any key, with no particular rhythm, as most musicians do when learning new things on the instrument. 

What if you added some “rhythm reading” examples while running the triads up and down the neck? You’ve just combined triad practice and music reading practice. 

Following that, you can combine any exercises with various fingerstyles. Using a variety of patterns when working on the triads allows you to work on two things at once while making the “boring” triad practice interesting. 

Add “banjo rolls” to the triads in different rhythms, for example, and you’re working on more methods in one. Avoid incorporating too many different techniques into each session, instead focusing on a handful per day.

There are countless methods to accomplish this, so have fun with your variations.

Expand Your Repertoire

Learning songs is one of the most important things we can do as musicians. Increasing your repertoire with covers and original music is priceless. Adding new songs to your repertoire can improve your skills in many ways, including new methods and new sounds. 

It also keeps training enjoyable because these abilities may be applied to performing or recording. Learn as many diverse styles as possible and identify the distinguishing characteristics that make those styles work. 

Make a point of learning the parts and analyzing what is happening in the music. Use your ear training to recognize typical chord progressions. Analyze how the chord progressions function and how the chords move using your music theory skills. You will become a better player and musician with a greater knowledge of your role.

How To Practice Guitar Without A Guitar?

There are different categories to Practice without a guitar, such as your hands, your mind, your ears, and your words. These are linked and built on each other to be practiced separately or together.

Tapping

Tapping means practicing fretting, playing without a guitar, and remembering the order of parts in a scale, strumming pattern, etc.

The Hand Strumming

Tap the playing hand is meant to help you learn and practice strumming patterns. You can do this by thinking about the pattern and tapping your hand as you follow it in your mind, or, even better, by saying the pattern out loud as you tap (also called “chanting”).

You’ll need a hard surface like your desk or leg to understand how tapping is like playing. So, the downstroke isn’t just up in the air but can be counted as a real event. Remember, guys, this is Air Guitar version 2.0.

First, start with your hand flat and move it up and down. Keep the space between up and down the same, between 6 and 12 inches. Next, turn your wrist to be in a chop position and do the same movement. 

Lastly, make your hand look like you’re holding a pick and do the same motion. This is your Tapping arrangement, which you will use to practice strumming patterns.

Chanting

Chanting is the next method of Remote Practice, and it’s one of my favorites. You can use travel time (driving to work, a long commute on public transportation, etc.) or downtime at school or work to repeat different patterns out loud, under your breath, or in your mind. However, it is best to say it out loud so that your mind registers it as a more important and memorable event.

As I said in the last part, Chanting works well with Tapping because we connect the information to the mind’s and muscles’ memory using visual, auditory, and physical elements. This will help you program your mind and muscles WAY faster.

Drawing

Drawing is the next option, and it is really powerful because it is the closest thing to working with a real fretboard. Because people respond to visual information (images) more strongly than any other format, this type of Remote Practice will greatly assist you in finding your way around the fretboard and remembering guitar parts faster and for longer periods.

Writing it out by hand helps your brain retain knowledge faster when learning anything. This is because you combine two extremely powerful portions of the brain (the motor cortex for the physical act of writing and the visual cortex for looking at your writing). Combined with Chanting, you exercise the auditory cortex and the brain’s three main learning centers.

Visualizing

Visualization may be the most crucial talent to learn. Always remember visualization’s power because our brains remember visuals best. You can learn to play guitar without mental exercises, but adding them will speed up your learning and retention. Best of all, this takes no equipment and can be done anywhere.

I usually envision my fretting hand playing slow solos or chord shapes and switches on the fretboard, but you may visualize anything. Approach this slowly and in chunks. Take your time visualizing.

This mini-meditation relaxes you and can help you go to sleep. Visualizing involves imagining an event that has yet to occur, making worrying a prevalent visualization. 

With 30-60 seconds of practice daily, your imagination skills will develop, taking your picture from black-and-white to HD.

Finger Fitness

Greg Irwin established “Finger Fitness” and has spent his life promoting hand health to musicians, doctors, athletes, and anyone who utilizes their hands. The main moves in the system are Folds, Taps, Bends, and Splits.

As a touring musician, my hands are my most valuable asset. Greg’s course helped me prevent RSIs like carpal tunnel and tendonitis. It improved my playing because it works on the mind-muscle connection. 

If your mind can send better signals to your muscles, you can play guitar clearer, faster, and longer. Perform these exercises on the way to or at work, and many coordination issues will be resolved.

Active Listening

Active listening differs from regular (passive) listening because it takes more attention. This is best for getting to and from work and standing in line.

Now that you’re improving at guitar, you can listen to music differently. You’ll hear things you never heard before, but they were always there—you didn’t hear them before.

How Active Listening works is this:

  • Choose a song you are working on or want to work on.
  • Find a record and play it a few times, either the whole song or just a part of it.
  • As deeply as you can, try to think.
  • What is the rhythm of their strumming?
  • The verse has how many chords?
  • How many times do they switch chords?
  • Is it an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar, or a classical guitar?
  • Do they use any effects on the guitar, like distortion, reverb, or delay?
  • You may have never done this listening before, so think outside the box.

You can also combine Active Listening with Tapping, Chanting, Visualizing, or Drawing to use all of your senses to learn (sight, sound, and touch). As I’ve said before, using more than one sense is a key part of learning quickly.

Ear Training tasks, which you can find online or in the App Store, are another way to practice active listening. Lastly, reviewing recordings of your practice lessons is a great way to fill in those gaps in your day. 

The idea is to listen to yourself play and figure out what you do well and what needs more work. This will help you determine what to work on next based on what needs work most.

Passive Listening

Active listening is different from passive listening in a lot of ways. The main point is to relax and enjoy the music you’re listening to, but there may be a bigger benefit called “Passive Learning.”

A lot of people have differing views about whether or not passive learning is possible. I connect it to knowing someone for a long time. Before you became friends, you both had different habits and sayings. After a while, though, you began to act and talk more and more like each other.

The same thing can happen when you idly listen to music. Even if you don’t know it, when you listen to music, you learn a lot about its sounds and structures and how and why things work the way they do.

Then, days, weeks, months, or years later, when you learn a new guitar or musical idea that relates to this passive understanding, you’ll have a big “A-HA!” moment because you’ll notice how this seemingly new concept connects to the music You’ve heard this a lot already.

How to Build a Guitar Practice Routine?

Creating a guitar practice program consists of three steps:

  • Determine your guitar Goals.
  • Determine the skills required to achieve those objectives.
  • Create a regular practice schedule.

If you follow those steps, you can create a killer practice program and improve your guitar talents.

Determine your guitar Goals

You must first establish an end objective before arranging your practice sessions. That could mean learning three chords by the end of the summer or mastering the entire fretboard by the end of the year. It could be memorizing all the dots on a fretboard. Choose a goal or two, regardless of your ability level, and write them down.

If you’re new to the guitar, you might need to learn your goal – and that’s perfectly fine! Consider the following objectives:

  • Play a single song or a collection of tracks.
  • Make up your songs.
  • Solo effectively over chord changes.
  • Create a distinct tone that is unique to you.
  • Learn to read music notation. 
  • Playing in a band, recording your music, and busking on the streets are all options.

Identify the Skills Needed to Achieve Your Guitar Goals

After identifying your overall guitar goals and motivation, you must discover the underlying techniques and skills needed.

The easiest method to accomplish this is to learn songs. You must first learn the chords, riffs, and strumming patterns when learning a song. Those are three skills you can write down and practice. Knowledge, abilities, and skills.

In addition to the chord progressions, you may learn the renowned lick played throughout the song. Give yourself extra points if you can begin singing over it.

Your objectives may differ if you take a more traditional approach to studying the guitar. Many traditional musicians, for example, begin by working on their posture and hand position. They then went on to music reading and scale learning.

The player recognizes skills in a specific song, like “Wonderful Tonight,” identifies some core abilities, such as chord shape and transitions, and more advanced skills, such as string vibrato mastery.

The more traditional player is primarily concerned with those fundamental talents. Once they’ve mastered those, they can play through various musical pieces confidently.

Plan Your Practice Sessions

After figuring out what you want to practice, the next step is to plan how you will practice. This practice changes and can be as long as needed. All that matters is how much time you want to put into learning the guitar.

Length of Practice

I like to plan my routines weekly, but in the end, it all depends on how you learn best. For regularity, it’s usually better to have small sessions often than big sessions rarely. I aim for about 3.5 hours a week or 30 minutes a day.

Figure out how much time you can give to practicing your guitar daily, even if it’s only for 15 minutes or 5 hours a day. Even if you’re busy and can only train for a short time each day, you can still make good progress if you make the most of your time. 

Try to tell yourself the truth. Give yourself only what you have, or you’ll get stressed out because you need to catch up.

Separate sessions into subjects

Once you know how much time you have each day, you must divide these lessons into time slots for different topics. The exact numbers depend on how many things you want to learn and how much time you have, but you can use this example as a guide.

I suggest that you focus on four main topics per lesson. If you practice for an hour daily, you could break it into four sessions of 15 minutes each.

Final Words On How To Practice Guitar

Playing guitar is essential for improving your skills and becoming a better musician. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, regular practice is key to honing your technique, mastering new songs, and developing your unique style. 

You can make significant progress in your guitar-playing journey by setting aside dedicated time each day to practice, focusing on specific techniques or songs. 

Remember, consistency and patience are key. So keep practicing, stay motivated, and enjoy the process of becoming the guitarist you aspire to be.

FAQs

How Many Hours A Day Should I Practice Guitar?

The amount of practice you should do each day depends on your goals. If you’re planning to buy a guitar, take lessons, or try to study guitar seriously, you need to be prepared to devote at least 15 minutes every day to practice in the beginning.

What Should I Practice First On Guitar?

One of the first things a new musician will learn is how to play open chords. If you learn just three, you can play many well-known songs. Besides taking classes, one of the best ways to learn the basics of the guitar is to follow a chord chart.

Is there any age to learn guitar?

According to the study, most kids should start learning guitar between 6 and 7. We must remember that this age is different for everyone, so it’s fine if your kids didn’t start lessons at that age.

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