In today’s guitar lessons, instructor Charlie White outlines the philosophy of practice he follows to help you become the best guitarist you can be.
Guitar lessons with Charlie White, The Rock and Pop Music Academy, Boulder
Why We Practice
As a developing musician, the way you practice can make the difference between extreme improvement and feeling like you’re not getting any better at your instrument. Having a strict practice regimen is a good way to ensure that you stay on track with your progress.
The Philosophy of Practice, When and How
I find a good time to schedule a practice session is before doing something you look forward to like eating dinner or relaxing for the night. This can give you a sense of a “reward” after working on your instrument. For example, “you put in the work and time practicing so now you can treat yourself to desert” or something like that.
Start each practice session with something that you find tedious or difficult. It’s easy to not work on the aspects of our playing that we find hard or boring. If you don’t work on these things, you will always suffer in those areas. Practice is work, so get the more boring things out of the way so you can get to working on something that you enjoy more. For example, when I practice, I usually run a bunch of different scales and exercises that I’m not very comfortable with before getting to a song.
If you sound good when you practice, you’re not doing it right
Really think about this. If you play the same song that is simple for you every time you practice are you learning anything or improving? You should be seeking out your weaknesses as a musician and focus on working those things out. A practice session is not a performance. If you’re playing something perfectly every time it would be best to move on to another song or exercise.
What if you feel like you are not improving as a musician?
This can be a scary thing. But rest assured, there is no such thing as “hitting a ceiling” and having nothing more to learn.
If you find yourself in this situation, seek out music that truly inspires you and seems challenging. Try learning the music of players that intimidate you. You will definitely pick up a thing or two. Seek out new aspects of music theory that you’re not as comfortable with. Don’t be afraid to put in more work. The better you get, the more difficult it can become to learn new things because music gets more advanced the farther you go. Just keep pushing and also make sure you are playing music that you enjoy. This will ensure that you keep going.