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> How To Spend Your Practice Time Wisely, Or how to get the most out of practicing?
Alex Feather
post Dec 26 2011, 04:43 PM
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Hi guys! A few years ago I was in the situation when I was really frustrated with my practicing it seemed to me that I'm simply waiting my time and not learning anything it took me a while to figure out how organize myself and get the most out of my practicing! Now I want to share my experience it worked for me so I hope it will be helpful!
When I was studying in college I had a lot of material I needed to learn and to get mo.st of it took some time but to arganize my time was much harder!
Having a schedule was really helpful! I wrote it down and had it in front of me all the time that's what I had:
1) scales and arpeggios is one of the most important thing in music and you need to master it so you don't have to think when you are playing I was practicing scales every day and believe it or not I still do (not as much but as often as I can)
It will connect your ha,nds together and will help you play harder pieces with less effort plus you are practicing technique you can change the way you are picking notes (alternative or hybrid picking or legato)
2) learn something new every week it was very important as well because you are experiencing new styles and new techniques I was trying to learn a few songs a week!
3)transcribe! You need to transcribe songs as much as you can! You can do it using GMC lessons just don't look at the tabs and try to get it if you need help you can always open tabs and look it up so it will make it easier! I was transcribing the Beatles it use to take me a week to learn everything I did chords, vocal lines solos and even bass
4) jam along with tracks and record yourself when you can hear back what you played it's easier to correct mistakes and develope your own style you don't need to spend a lot of money and get super expensive software! I did it with a built in audio card and a very simple computer mic and a free software that I got from a friend of mine!
5) learn different styles! Here at GMC you can find find every musical style and you can learn every single note without making mistakes! Try to learn as many styles as you can because it will not only develope your technique it will give you more options when you are playing!
I know it seems like a lot but you can squeeze this routine in an hour or less what is really important is to be consistent and try to be as organized as possible you will not see results over night but if you will continue the routine you will notice the difference very quick!
Don't forget that it was my practice schedule and you most likely will have to change it around but I hope I gave you an example and it will help you out!
Also I would love to know what you came up with and if you can share your practice routine I will be happy to read about it and maybe use it for myself!!!!


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Marcus Desaiha
post Dec 27 2011, 10:17 PM
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I could not agree with you more about learning something new every week, or even every day!
Not only is it good for your musical library but it motivates you, it fuels your fire as you make significant progress in a short period of time. This is where GMC is super helpful yet again with the "Lick of the day" tab.

I personally have to work on my practice routine, I usually just try to cram in 3-4 hours a day, but it would truly help my cause to plan every session each day, I'll probably make it my new years resolution.



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Bogdan Radovic
post Dec 28 2011, 08:18 PM
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Awesome advice! It is very important to practice properly and organized - that is when fast results are visible.

QUOTE
[4) jam along with tracks and record yourself when you can hear back what you played it's easier to correct mistakes and develope your own style you don't need to spend a lot of money and get super expensive software! I did it with a built in audio card and a very simple computer mic and a free software that I got from a friend of mine!


True! Video recording your playing seems trivial thing to do - but doing that really opens up your eyes/ears. It is also so easy to do it nowadays with cheap webcams, phones etc. Even simple audio recording will help a player develop rapidly. Neat thing to do is to record videos (GMC REC) and then view them after some time to see how much progress you made - its very motivating actually smile.gif


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Alex Feather
post Dec 28 2011, 10:17 PM
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QUOTE (Bogdan Radovic @ Dec 28 2011, 07:18 PM) *
Awesome advice! It is very important to practice properly and organized - that is when fast results are visible.



True! Video recording your playing seems trivial thing to do - but doing that really opens up your eyes/ears. It is also so easy to do it nowadays with cheap webcams, phones etc. Even simple audio recording will help a player develop rapidly. Neat thing to do is to record videos (GMC REC) and then view them after some time to see how much progress you made - its very motivating actually smile.gif

Absolutely agree with you!!! Recording a video is even better! And as you said its great way to see your progress!


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Dec 28 2011, 10:59 PM
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These are some very valuable and wise advices Alex, thanks for sharing! smile.gif


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Cosmin Lupu
post Dec 29 2011, 09:18 AM
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Awesome advice mate! I also think that recording oneself is the key to fast development and progress smile.gif just like the idea with the mirror I stated in a previous post. If you don't like how you look in the mirror, go back and arrange yourself a bit more, when you'll like what you see, it means you got the job done biggrin.gif


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Alex Feather
post Dec 29 2011, 09:39 AM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Dec 29 2011, 08:18 AM) *
Awesome advice mate! I also think that recording oneself is the key to fast development and progress smile.gif just like the idea with the mirror I stated in a previous post. If you don't like how you look in the mirror, go back and arrange yourself a bit more, when you'll like what you see, it means you got the job done biggrin.gif

Morrow is a great idea as well you can develope your live performance using this technique!


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PosterBoy
post Dec 29 2011, 09:58 AM
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Video-ing myself is something I plan to do , to see where my technique maybe floored and also to help control any weird facial expressions.

I don't want to look like this guy when I play



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Alex Feather
post Dec 29 2011, 10:12 AM
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QUOTE (PosterBoy @ Dec 29 2011, 08:58 AM) *
Video-ing myself is something I plan to do , to see where my technique maybe floored and also to help control any weird facial expressions.

I don't want to look like this guy when I play


You have a Fractal!!! I'm gonna get one soon!!! smile.gif


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PosterBoy
post Dec 29 2011, 10:48 AM
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QUOTE (Alex Feather @ Dec 29 2011, 09:12 AM) *
You have a Fractal!!! I'm gonna get one soon!!! smile.gif



That isn't me. I hope I don't make those faces when I play!!!!

but I do have the Axe FX Ultra, I can't see a time when I can afford the 2, but I've been happy enough with the Ultra for 3 years so I'm not worried.

Have you tips for practising scales in a useful and effective way?

This post has been edited by PosterBoy: Dec 29 2011, 10:48 AM


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Alex Feather
post Dec 29 2011, 01:05 PM
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QUOTE (PosterBoy @ Dec 29 2011, 09:48 AM) *
That isn't me. I hope I don't make those faces when I play!!!!

but I do have the Axe FX Ultra, I can't see a time when I can afford the 2, but I've been happy enough with the Ultra for 3 years so I'm not worried.

Have you tips for practising scales in a useful and effective way?

Ohhh I see!!!!
Yeah the scales practice can be very annoying because it's the same thing over and over again It's a very robotic exersice that does not require a lot of concentration you have to master itsoyou don't have to think at all
A good way practice scales that i discovered is to use a metronome and play through all the positions at the comfortable tempo for like 30 minutes
After you can put a movie on and continue playing scales up and down it will help you master your scales and you will be entertained try to play every position slow and make your moves effortless
I hope it helps!!!!


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PosterBoy
post Dec 29 2011, 01:48 PM
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I'll do that and maybe try and develop some exercises that help master moving between positions too.



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Cosmin Lupu
post Dec 29 2011, 02:14 PM
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Another good idea for practicing scales, would be to learn as many ways to go through a scale as possible and by that I mean, trying different patterns and different subdivisions so that your perspective on that scale will be as wide as possible!


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PosterBoy
post Dec 29 2011, 03:11 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Dec 29 2011, 01:14 PM) *
Another good idea for practicing scales, would be to learn as many ways to go through a scale as possible and by that I mean, trying different patterns and different subdivisions so that your perspective on that scale will be as wide as possible!



Once I have the scale pattern under my fingers I always practice it in intervals. It's not often in actual music you play straight up and down a scale.


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derper
post Dec 30 2011, 01:41 AM
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I (like many guitarists) have a pretty short attention span, and get distracted/bored easily. What has really helped me recently is....


-Metronome. Always. Wish I started using one when I was younger. I thought they were "boring" when they actually make practice more productive and fun.

-Warm it up! Always start with a slower warmup pattern. I change it up. I personally don't like just playing a straight up shape or pattern, unless it sounds good. Lately I even play the "Zelda: Castle" song riff, because it's almost a diminished arpeggio type thing. Anyway, it's fun, stretches the hand, and get's my timing on.

-Mix it up!! I try not to focus on any ONE thing too much. Sometimes, due to gig requirements, I'm forced to focus on just learning new material and riffs. It happens. But when I break from that busy time, I like to branch out and play as much as possible. For example, I'm fresh off of a TOUGH gig with my NES band "EMULATOR" (getting Contra, MegaMan, Castlevania and such, up to speed, required most of my practice time pre-gig!!) so now I have plenty of MY OWN practice time!! I'm mixing it up with Muris' "Country Picking Advanced Lesson" video (really fun!! Up to about 110/115bpm only), but also looking into expanding my theory and arpeggio knowledge (Ivan's workshop).

As long as I have a "gameplan" before picking up a guitar, and make sure not to stay on any one thing too long, I seem to maximize my practice productivity!


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JTaylor
post Jan 2 2012, 11:00 PM
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QUOTE (PosterBoy @ Dec 29 2011, 08:58 AM) *
Video-ing myself is something I plan to do , to see where my technique maybe floored and also to help control any weird facial expressions.

I don't want to look like this guy when I play



Good playing but I also felt like turning off my monitor while it was going on. Ya know, that video reinforces one of my (many) reasons for never choosing a career in adult films! laugh.gif


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Sean_1234
post Jan 26 2012, 03:33 PM
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I like to think of how efficient a practice schedule is, but I've tried it some time and after a while I found it was really working against me. I was only playing the schedule because I had to, and it sucked, I lost the fun in playing. Just jamming for an hour might not learn you much, but it got me really motivated to play, because I loved to make music! Could you give any advice on how to make your practice schedule attractive to keep at it?
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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 26 2012, 03:44 PM
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The way it worked for me is to keep my sessions diverse, fast changing, and with short term goals. For example, let's say you work on pentatonic scale, minor scale, arpeggios and chords for ONE WEEK (then you move to other arpeggios, other scale i.e. melodic minor)

usually, people would think:

- 30mins of pentatonic up & down with the metronome
- 30 mins of minor scale up & down with the metronome
- 30 mins of arps up & down with the metronome
- 30 mins of chords up & down (the neck) with the metronome

and repeat the same process tomorrow..etc..

this can be VERY annoying practice routing. Instead, why not doing it like this:

10 mins of warmup
- 15 mins of pentatonic with backing track on slow tempo
- 15 mins of minor with backing track on slow tempo
- 15 mins of arps with backing track on slow tempo
- 15 mins of chords with backing track on slow tempo
- break 5 mins
- 15 mins of pentatonic with backing track on medium tempo
- 15 mins of minor with backing track on medium tempo
- 15 mins of arps with backing track on medium tempo
- 15 mins of strumming chords with various drum patterns on medium tempo
- break 5 mins
- 15 mins of transcribing a new song
- 15 mins of jamming, and trying to incorporate some simple things from that practice

tomorrow:

10 mins of warmup
- 15 mins of learning a new lick
- 15 mins of bending with backing track
- 15 mins of riffing with drums
- 15 mins of whatever
- break 5 mins
- 15 mins of pentatonic with backing track on fast tempo
- 15 mins of minor with backing track on fast tempo
- 15 mins of arps with backing track on fast tempo
- 15 mins of strumming chords with various drum patterns on fast tempo
- break 5 mins
- 15 mins of transcribing a new song
- 15 mins of jamming, and trying to incorporate some simple things from that practice

then mixing all these together, i various ways, but so that the sum always be the same at the end of the week/month (meaning that you balance out your techniques: scales, arps, strumming, bending, vibrato, chords, intervals, riffing - all these should be BALANCED OUT, if you want to sound good).

This way, you won't look at the clock with boredome while practicing, but when you look at it, you would wish that the clock turned slower wink.gif

This post has been edited by Ivan Milenkovic: Jan 26 2012, 03:47 PM


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Sean_1234
post Jan 26 2012, 10:17 PM
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QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Jan 26 2012, 03:44 PM) *
The way it worked for me is to keep my sessions diverse, fast changing, and with short term goals. For example, let's say you work on pentatonic scale, minor scale, arpeggios and chords for ONE WEEK (then you move to other arpeggios, other scale i.e. melodic minor)

usually, people would think:

- 30mins of p[...]

then mixing all these together, i various ways, but so that the sum always be the same at the end of the week/month (meaning that you balance out your techniques: scales, arps, strumming, bending, vibrato, chords, intervals, riffing - all these should be BALANCED OUT, if you want to sound good).

This way, you won't look at the clock with boredome while practicing, but when you look at it, you would wish that the clock turned slower wink.gif

Seems like a solid approach! One thing, you need certain basic tools to practice the way you do, you need to have certain available backing tracks, drum tracks and a way of learning all these arps and chords. How did you get all this info when you were starting to learn?

It seems there's kind of a new level, going from playing with modes and pentatonic scales to playing over the chords, incorporating the progression in your improvisiation by using arps and/or alter the scale with extra chord tones.
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