Practicing Tips for All Guitar Students

Steven Saulls
Submitted: Wed, August 5, 2020 - 12:42pm EDT
Below are some guidelines to help you structure your practice time.

PRACTICING

General Guidelines

1. HAVE A SPECIAL TIME set aside each day for your practice session. The more
consistent you are in the time of day and amount of practice, the more successful you
will be in your progress. If it is possible, the early morning is the best time for
practice.

2. HAVE A SET LOCATION for your regular practice. For maximum concentration,
practice in a room where there will be no outside interference.

3. PROPER POSTURE is necessary.

a. Always sit up with your back straight.

b. Muscles should be FIRM NOT TENSE.

c. Your position should look natural and not overdone.

NO ARCHED BACK
NO STIFF ARMS
NO BENT NECK, etc.

d. If you are sitting, don't use the backrest of your chair. It tempts you to slouch and
use poor posture.

3. WARM-UP before a concentrated practice session. The purpose of a WARM-UP
for a guitarist is the same as for any athlete. The muscles and tendons must be
gradually stretched and strengthened each day. The coordination and facility
gained will improve your playing and may help you avoid serious injuries.

4. PRACTICE FOR PERFECTION. If you practice without mistakes, you will perfect
your studies. If you practice mistakes, you will become proficient at your mistakes.

a. Play the given exercise SLOWLY enough so that you don't make mistakes. Be
PATIENT!

b. Concentrate on DIFFICULT sections OVER and OVER until you make no
mistakes. (A difficult section can have only two or more notes)

c. Start at a SLOW tempo WITHOUT MISTAKES, then gradually faster until you
reach the desired tempo.
d. Don't be satisfied with anything less than 100% ACCURACY. This means you
may have to practice even the shortest exercise 25, 50, 100 or more times until
you can play it perfectly.

e. BE DEDICATED TO REPEAT AN EXERCISE UNTIL IT IS PERFECT.
Professionals will tell you that they didn't get there with natural ability. They
practiced diligently for hours on even one technique!

7. BE PRUDENT about practicing on or before PUBLIC PERFORMANCE DATES.

a. Don't OVERPRACTICE the day of, or before an event. (The day before a
performance should be used for concentrating on concert or recital material).
By this time, the major part of your practicing is done. (You should be just
reviewing what you will perform). It may be necessary to practice only part of the
performance material. IF YOU DON'T NEED TO PRACTICE ALL OF THE
MATERIAL, DON'T!

b. SAVE YOUR ENERGY FOR THE PERFORMANCE. Your body needs rest for
endurance during the performance.

c. With most instruments, it is advisable to ONLY WARM-UP on the day of the
performance.

8. SEEK PROFESSIONAL ADVICE on the technique of practicing your instrument.
Whether you are in a class or private lesson, your instructor will have valuable
information to save you hours and maybe years of wasted practice.

PRACTICE CHECK-LIST

This check-list is to help you practice correctly:

*PROPER POSITION
*BREATHING
*ARTICULATION
*GO*TEMPO
*ACCIDENTALS
*TUNING *PITCH
*DYNAMICS
*KEY SIGNATURES
*RHYTHM
*SPECIAL EFFECTS
*TIME SIGNATURES
*FINGERINGS
*CONSISTENCY

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