by Eric Dieter
-professional guitar teacher and mentor
Hey, we’re all a little short on practice time. If you like wasting time doing things that don’t work or prefer to make minimal progress on guitar, then this article is not for you!
If, however, you are tired of spinning your gears in the practice room…I want to let you in on THREE things you can do in just NINE minutes to improve your practice.
These three things are super simple but so powerful they can stand on their own. Here they are…
Let me explain…
Come To Your Senses (VFL)
There are 3 senses we can use when practicing guitar: visualizing, feeling, and listening.
Visualizing is all about what you see in your mind. Try “see” what your hands need to do before you move them. Try to think at least one note ahead. See yourself playing it with perfect technique before your hand leaves the current note/chord/phrase. In fact, it would be wise to do this before you even set foot in the practice room. If you can’t see it in your head clearly, chances are that it will also be murky when you go to play it on your guitar. Iron out the mistakes in your mind!
Feeling is all about paying attention to your body- how will the next note/chord/phrase feel in your body? Think about one hand at a time, them both together. Don’t just stop there! Pay close attention to any body parts that may tense as the music get more difficult-then relax those parts!
Listen to what you are playing. While this may sound obvious, I’ve noticed that most guitar students don’t actually listen to what they’re doing. They’re so worried about memorizing and regurgitating the “right notes” that they don’t actually listen to what their playing sounds like. Slow down, close your eyes, and only play what you have memorized. Ask yourself… does it sound the way I want it to? Explore what movements caused the mistake… then slow down and fix it!
Put It Into Practice
Don’t forget to use all of them! Cycle through visualizing, feeling, and listening to what you’re playing on guitar when you are practicing. You can rotate through putting your attention on each of these senses by practicing any of these ways:
- During A 9 Minute Guitar Practice Sprint
- (3 min per sense)- Set a timer, spend 3 minutes on each sense: Touch 3 minutes, Feel 3 minutes, Listen 3 minutes
- OR set a 1 minute timer and rotate through each one 3 times: Touch 1 minute, Feel 1 minute, Listen 1 minute; repeat 3x
- From One 10-Minute-Practice-Block to the Next (assuming you can practice for at least 30 minutes).
Spend 10 minutes visualizing scale sequences,
then spend 10 minutes feeling your way through some difficult chord changes,
then listening to a riff/solo you are working on.
- From One Day To The Next
Spend your entire Monday visualizing your practice items.
On Tuesday dial into the feeling.
On Wednesday listen to what you are doing and make adjustments. Be sure to note what caused the mistake you hear.
On Thursday start over again, this time focusing on the mistakes you noticed on Wednesday
If you found this article helpful…
and are looking for guitar lessons in Lancaster, PA… contact us today!