Adam Rafferty – Guitar and Spirit

All about music, guitar, spirituality, personal development and being happy

How To Practice Guitar If You Have Just an Hour A Day

5 Comments

What if you have work, family or school commitments and have just an hour a day to practice guitar?

I’d like to help you out if you feel that you have limited practice time. Not everyone is a pro player and can spend several hours every day playing guitar.

Here are some tips. Let’s say you have just an hour. What’s the best plan of attack?

Don’t skip days

Even if you have an hour, don’t skip days. Do it every day even just a little. You’ll be much better off! You need to keep the mind focused from day to day.

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Pre Practice Session – Have a plan. What will you work on? There are many areas on which you can focus – so choose ahead of time.

I always define what I will work on before picking my instrument up.

For example, you could practice…

a passage in a new piece or arrangement
technique
running old repertoire
putting together a new arrangement

Part 1
Start with a short warm up no matter what. See my groove scales lesson. Once mastered this takes 5-10 minutes.

Video and PDF Download – Click Here

Part 2

Decide clearly on what you will work on for the session, maybe even for the week!

Let’s say you are working on arrangement. Maybe there are some spots where you make mistakes and they are in need of fixing.

Practice SLOWLY

We’ve heard it a million times, but this is golden. I do this! It’s like a deep cleaning up of loose ends. Magically when you pick up the tempo, the music will mesh like gears if you have practiced slowly enough.

Take lots of breaks

Practice short passages in chunks. 15 – 20 minutes max. The mind learns fastest doing it this way, and it’s good for you physically too!

Don’t Practice Mistakes, Practice What Works!

Important! Change your fingerings until you get something easy where you almost can never make a mistake. It’s like figuring out a puzzle.

You may need to try a few things to discover what feels right to you.

I can’t tell you how many times as a young guy, I tried to play someone else’s uncomfortable fingerings and always made mistakes, yet tried to force it.

Classical guitarist John Williams once said he finds the most comfortable fingering that he doesn’t screw up, and sticks to it. I do the same!

The Mind Needs Repetition to Learn

Once you find the fingering, it will take repeated practice to drive it down into the subconscious. All too often we think we know a piece but it falls apart when we get nervous. No sweat, just practice it more! 🙂

Remember – take breaks even when practicing a repetitive thing.

Part 3

Mental attitude. Even if after a practice session you can’t play the piece, fear not. Pros know to NOT look for immediate results, and to just put the time in.

It’s like punching your time card at work.

Come back the next day, practice the same piece, again and again. In a week, 2 weeks – you will start to see results.

DO NOT try to practice several different things in a short practice session, and don’t switch every day to a new thing. You will only skim the surface of everything.

Focus in a relaxed way, even if you have limited time. LIke a magnifying glass harnessing the suns rays to burn a small hole in a leaf, you will surely accomplish what you set out to do.

I hope this helps you out!!! Now, get to work 🙂

– Adam

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Author: Adam Rafferty

Adam Rafferty. Fingerstyle Guitarist. Recording and Concert Artist. Meditator. Philosopher. Lover of Groove.

5 thoughts on “How To Practice Guitar If You Have Just an Hour A Day

  1. You must have read ‘The Talent Code’? If not, definitely worth a read. Thanks again Adam. As a Buddhist and music student, I always enjoy that ‘ah yes…he’s right’ moment when I read your blogs.

    Happy Thanks Giving, and continued success.

    With love, peace and respect

    Saddhasura

    http://www.amazon.com/Talent-Code-Daniel-Coyle/dp/1847945104/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1290937207&sr=1-2

  2. “Words of Wisdom, Lloyd, Words of Wisdom!”

  3. Hey Adam,

    very insightful stuff. I have started using the 15-20 minute spurts in my practicing, but also at work..I am web developer. A co-worker was using the Pomodoro Technique, which is basically what you. He turned me on to this focust booster app: http://www.focusboosterapp.com/
    It’s free and you can set the Session intervals and the break intervals between those sessions. I know how much you enjoy methods and techniques and figured you’d might like this one.
    Anywya, keep the posts coming and the new songs coming. Cheers, John

  4. Keeping focused is very important.I have a family and my work and it takes all my attention.

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