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Practice schedule for a beginner

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mikel33
(@mikel33)
Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 11
Topic starter  

I know there are a lot of practice schedules out here, but what do you guys reccomend for a two month player..

right know it's like hmm.. don't know what to work on.. i pick up a book with songs... too difficult right now.. pick up some other books.. still beyod my playing level.. it's getting very frustrating


   
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Dagwood
(@dagwood)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1024
 

Besides finding a teacher/instructor, someone who can show you proper technique and help or assign you with a practice schedule.....

You need to learn some Exercises, the kind that will help strengthen your fretting hand and help with your picking hand too.

There are a number of threads on the kinds of drills you could use: One of them is here.
http://forums.guitarnoise.com/viewtopic.php?t=21993&highlight=drills
Also check the beginners section from our home page here at GN.

Another site I just found:
http://cnx.org/content/m11883/latest/

You can Google "BEGINNING GUITAR" There are tons of resources out there, if you can't find them here.

Don't neglect the 'warm-up' drills. They're vital for your progress later on.

Other things I'd work is Chord Memorization. Learn how to fret them, then strum them "Cleanly".

Example. Take the Am Chord.


E----0--------
B----1--------
G----2--------
D----2--------
A----0--------
E-------------

Once you've fingered them, pluck/play each string one at a time, if you get the "THUNK" you know you need to adjust your fingering. Once you have them all clean, Strum Strum Strum.

Over time, you'll get more chords down cleanly and your on your way to playing songs.

Other things to work are Reading/Learning Tab and Standard Notation. Learn your First position Major Scale. (A good finger warm-up btw).

Another important thing or two when practicing is.. NOT PLAYING SO HARD. Learning how to GENTLY Play. It is just as important than just whacking on the strings too.

Lastly is PATIENCE. Guitar is an extremely hard instrument to play and play well. Just be patient, it's going to take a while, but if you practice even 15 minutes a day, you will make progress, progress you can see and hear.

Best to ya,
D-

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. - Wernher Von Braun (1912-1977)


   
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NoteBoat
(@noteboat)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

I've dealt with practicing so many times I'm developing basically a standard speech. Here's what I tell my beginning students:

1. At first, how often you practice is much more important than how long you practice. Five minutes 3 times a day will get you a lot farther than an hour every third day. Practicing builds and maintains muscle memory and callus, and those two things go away very quickly if you're not playing at least every day.

Long practice sessions also tend to make the mind wander. Wiggling your fingers around isn't really practicing - you'll only get better when you're focused on what you're doing.

2. Don't start over when you do something wrong. Practice the part where you made the mistake SLOWLY until you can do it without making the mistake. Then speed it up slowly until you can play it at tempo without the mistake. Then add a measure or two before it, to make sure you can transition properly. Then, and only then, try the piece from the beginning.

To make your practices as efficient as you can, practice with a pencil on the music stand. As you play through the piece the first time, mark any sections you have trouble with - it doesn't make sense to endlessly repeat the sections you can do fine first time; focus only on what's wrong with the way you played it.

It's essenital to practice things at the right speed. Practice doesn't make perfect - practice makes permanent. If you go any faster than the highest speed where you can play all the notes correctly, you're practicing mistakes.

3. I recommend a practice session consisting of five parts:

1. Warm-up Do some scales, fingering exercises, or simple chord changes to get the blood moving. This also tells your mind "pay attention - it's practice time!"

2. Review You didn't become good at any skill by constantly practicing the hardest stuff - you became good by constantly doing the basics, and doing them the right way. Play a couple things you can already do reasonably well, and do them even better! The review part of your practice should have different music every day - the idea isn't to kill yourself with repetition, but to keep all your newly acquired skills in rotation.

3. New stuff This is where you're working on new skills. Be sure you're completely focused, and don't accept less than your best. Work as slowly as you need to in order to get it right - remember what I said about practicing mistakes!

4. Study piece After you've acquired some basic skills, you should always be working on one "study piece" - one that you're perfecting for performance. This is where you really perfect your skills and start to develop 'musicality'. Most of my students spend between 2 weeks and 2 months on a study piece before moving on to the next one.

5. Play! Take whatever skill you were working on in 'new stuff', and experiment with it. If you were working on dotted quarter/eighth rhythms, improvise some melodies using that technique. Whatever the skill is, put it to use... and have fun with it! That's the whole reason we say we "play" guitar anyway - it's supposed to be fun! :)

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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