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Question by Landon Koon
Hey, it's Landon. I am starting my guitar lessons this weekend but I am really focused on practicing guitar daily and consistently to build up speed in scales and other techniques like hammer ons, pull offs, tremelo picking, and chords.
I want to know what a reasonable amount of time to practice would be for me. The reason I ask is because I am VERY busy during the school week. I am in high school in half pre ap classes and I am in a community service thing and i have things to do around the house but I am really focused on consistently practicing guitar.
I know many guitar teachers would say to practice at least an hour each day and thats perfectly fine for me on weekends, but on weekdays I do not have an hour to practice. I would just like to know how much time I should spend practicing on school nights and how I can organize my practice schedule for what I want to practice and improve on. Thank you.
Now then Landon. The first thing I'd say is just practice when you can. It doesn't matter if you miss the odd day or if you can only manage 30 minutes on a given day. Aim to at least pick up the guitar every day and play something that either challenges you or tests you on what you learned in a previous session. This will at least give you ideas on planning your future sessions.
So if you're busy, which a lot of us increasingly are, don't worry so much about getting a set amount of practice time in every single day. With the right focus, you will still progress even with just a couple of hours a week (ok, you might progress quite slowly but if that's the only time you have available...).
As for organising your practice time, if that time is limited, try to focus on nailing the physical aspects such as chord fingerings and lead/scale drills to develop your muscle memory. You can print out pages in my theory section for some "bed time reading" and try to apply it practically in your practice sessions.
The important thing is that you spend the most time on your weakest areas. For example, you might find that you struggle with string skipping. Devote more of your time to this technique, using a metronome to speed up gradually. Don't get distracted.
Even if you don't have much time to practice, try not to jump between different techniques too hastily. Set yourself realistic goals based on your ability and only move forward when you're confident with your core ability of a given technique.
Using the string skipping example again, I might set a goal of being able to play a given pattern at 80bpm. This is a realistic goal and you should give it as long as it needs to acheive this goal.
Once you have acheived this, however, it might be tempting to go for 100bpm. It's your choice, but don't get caught up in trying to MASTER one specific exercise/technique as you'll neglect other areas.
So, set yourself modest, realistic goals. Devote time to acheiving these goals and then move on to a different technique with the same modest goal setting and fair allocation of time.
Eventually, you'll come back round to these techniques and then you can push the metronome up to more challenging speeds.
Get the core techniques "under your belt" to begin with, not worrying so much about playing lightning fast, and you'll naturally progress from these foundations.
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