- It’s better to practice 30 minutes a day than 10 hours once a week.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- Practising should not be a boring task. If you find it boring, don’t do it. You should be curious/excited about improving.
- 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.
- 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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