10 tips on Practising Guitar

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  1. It’s better to practice 30 minutes a day than 10 hours once a week.
  2. Take frequent breaks, distract your mind to then go back and give full attention to what you are doing. Usually 45 minutes practice followed by15 minutes break works for me.
  3. Always warm up and stretch before playing for hours. Start slow with some technical exercises. I did a theatre gig for 3 years that had a 15 minute band call. I used that to warm up with different technical exercises, and I was shocked how just those 10 minutes every day gave a massive boost on my speed and articulation. 10 minutes!
  4. I find that practising tunes (playing actual music) is better than spending hours practising technical exercises. Those are great to warm up. Composing new tunes, finding new ideas , learning and transposing tunes in all keys are by far the best things you can do when practising.
  5. Try playing/practising in the dark (pitch black room or blindfolded). You will become more musical and less dependent on ‘visual patterns’. John Scofield used to do this all the time.
  6. Keep a basic setup ready to go at all times (if you can at home), this is great for impromptu sessions, when you are more inspired to write/record/practice without loosing momentum by trying to find picks and cables.
  7. Record your practice sessions and listen back after a few days to find what you can improve. If you practice with a computer or a phone, video your sessions and you’ll find also you can correct postural problems or see if your performance is visually boring!
  8. Practising should not be a boring task. If you find it boring, don’t do it. You should be curious/excited about improving.
  9. It is better to practice with a friend than along to backing tracks. Invest in a looper pedal (they can be super cheap these days), it can be fun and beats playing to a backing track. Playing along to tracks is not bad, but I find that after a while it’s easy to loose focus and just ‘noodle’. If you practice to tracks, take a short break after each one, don’t let one roll into the other.
  10. Change your practice routine often. Just like working out at the gym, your body gets used to doing the same exercises and stops reacting. Rotate different exercises/tunes/tasks.

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