Get ANYTHING Down with this Guitar Practice Strategy | How to Practice Guitar EffectivelySep 13, 2022
This lesson is about how to practice guitar effectively with a simple guitar practice strategy that I use to get ANYTHING down.
🎸 FREE Arpeggio Shapes Pack for Targeting Chord Tones when Soloing
🕛 Content Outline for This Video on How to Practice Guitar Effectively
0:00 - About this lesson on how to practice guitar effectively
0:20 - Three common guitar practice challenges
1:14 - Design, practice, test, repeat
3:06 - Applying the process to music practice
6:27 - Why this guitar practice strategy works
8:20 - Creative design with "stress variables"
9:06 - Personal anecdotes
9:37 - Arpeggio Shapes Pack (FREE PDF)
10:03 - Outro
🔗 Links Mentioned in this Guitar Practice Strategy Video
💬 Description for This Lesson on How to Practice Guitar Effectively
I want to give you the best lessons I can while also respecting your time.
That's why last week I started a "Quick Tips" lesson series.
Brevity has never been my strong suit, so this second episode of the series is about ten minutes long, but that definitely counts as quick for me!
What can I say, I get excited!
In this video I break down how to practice guitar effectively when it matters most, when the pressure is on, when I need to really get something down.
Anyone can use this guitar practice strategy, and it's amazing how effective it is.
I hope you'll give it a shot! :)
Thanks for watching!
I hope you have a great rest of your week and that you get some fun guitar time in :)
Introducing the 4-Step Guitar Practice Strategy
This is episode two of my "Quick Tips" lesson series, a series of eight short and simple videos, each designed to give you a profound concept that I hope you will find yourself thinking about and still using many years down the road.
In this lesson we are going to take care of some of the biggest challenges that people have when practicing.
Common Practice Challenges
Challenge #1: not knowing what to practice.
What should I practice next?
Challenge #2: not knowing if we're making progress.
Can I even tell if I'm improving? I'm practicing so much, how do I know if I'm getting better?
Challenge #3: not knowing how to practice.
Is this even possible for me? How is this ever going to happen? How am I going to get this down?
With this guitar practice strategy that I'm going to show you, you're going to:
- have absolute clarity on what you should be practicing
- have a clear track record of your improvement
- see how you're getting better
- see how you can take small chunks of things and create bigger chunks over time to actually get anything down
- reliably be able to play accurately and nearly perfectly
How to Practice Guitar Effectively to Get Anything Down
It's really simple - it's a four-step process.
1) design, 2) practice, 3) test, 4) repeat.
We know about practicing and we know about repeating - that's usually what we do.
"Okay, practice, repeat, practice, repeat." That's how we're practicing all the time.
What about designing and testing?
Designing is simply defining as clearly as possible all of the parameters that are in place for executing a piece of music or an exercise.
You need to decide how you have to play a piece of music or an exercise to consider it played correctly.
This allows you to "pass the level," so you know if you're getting better and if it's time to move on to the next thing.
Once you've designed how you want to play your material, then you can actually put it to the test.
Putting it to the test means: did you play through exactly the rules that you set for yourself? Did you play that correctly?
Not just correctly once, you should play it at least three times in a row correctly. At least three times, more is better.
I often do three, five, seven, ten, or 20.
You shouldn't just play it a certain number of times in a row.
You should play it right, stop, and count it - tangibly count it.
This is usually what I'll do: I'll have a pile of picks sitting in front of me on a table or a chair - wherever I am.
If I get it right (it could be tiny, big, or it could be a whole piece of music), I scoot a pick over.
If I make a mistake at any time, I scoot them all back and you start over at zero again until I get the amount in a row that I designed for myself that I'm going to play correctly.
Using the Guitar Practice Strategy
This is very powerful.
I'll run you through an example of following each step of the process when practicing. Let's say you want to work on your arpeggio chord tones.
I have a free download of all the arpeggio shapes in five positions of 12 different chords that you can download here or at the top of the description.
This is a great thing to work on for so many reasons.
You should design what constitutes having played it exactly how you want to play it.
Let's say we want to play the C major triad arpeggios with eighth notes at a certain tempo - let's say 120 BPM.
At 120 BPM, we're going alternate pick strictly with the right hand.
We're going to play from the lowest note to the highest note and back down.
We're going to do that three times in a row perfectly or without a mistake.
If I did it three times in a row I have a sense of accomplishment - I have passed that level.
Now can I do the next shape? Can I do the next position three times in a row in that same way?
Maybe try a different chord type or try the arpeggio off of a different root.
Let's say you've got all five positions and you did them individually like that.
You say "but I really want to have this down. I want to have it be fluid all over the fretboard. I want to be able to
connect between them."
Then you might say "how about I play all five shapes with the same rules with a quarter note between them so I only have a moment to transition?"
This gives you a way of concretely moving on.
Why this Guitar Practice Strategy Works
This is extremely powerful when you're two times in and you're trying to get that third time, or you're trying to do ten times and you're at the ninth.
As you get more correct you're gonna feel actually nervous.
It's gonna be nerve-wracking.
That's why it works.
This heightens your sense of focus, your sense of awareness, your motor skills.
It opens up neuroplasticity because you're freaking out a little bit.
This keeps you honest.
If there's something you think you have down, design exactly the rules for it and give it a shot.
That way, test yourself on it.
It can give you clarity as to where some of the gaps are in your actual playing and give you clear focus on where to practice next.
Can you do the first two measures without a mistake? Three times at a certain tempo?
What about the first four measures, the first eight?
If you go about this way of practicing, it's the surest way to almost guarantee that you play something as perfectly as possible the first time when it matters.
When you're under pressure, when it's stressful, when you're on stage, when you're auditioning, when you're playing for your family, when you're recording something to send to your friend - in whatever kind of situation you think to yourself "I hope I get this right."
When practicing, you need to simulate the feeling that "I hope I get this right."
Part of this is that you get structure and a sense of accomplishment for the good playing and you get a little punishment for the mistakes.
By the time you've gotten three times in a row correct already, you've played it correctly many more times than that because of all the times you got a few and then slid it back because you made a mistake.
By sliding back when we make a mistake, we don't just keep playing with no harm done, we actually feel something from it - we have to do something about it.
There's a result from playing wrong and there's a reward from playing correctly.
This is what it means to practice guitar effectively.
Creative Design with "Stress Variables"
You can get very creative with how you design your practice sessions.
You can add something called stress variables.
This is where in your design and in your parameters you can make up things that add stress, which is what it's going to be like when you're actually in real life situations.
One of my favorite things to do is to leave the room, close the door, open the door, come in, close it, sit down, pick up the guitar, and have to play it right the first time.
If I do, I slide the pick over, put the guitar back down, go
outside, come back, and sit down and do it again.
No one will be around but I will be nervous. And that is why it works.
My Personal Experience
I used to play a lot of gigs and this guitar practice strategy saved me a million times over, whether it was having to learn a ton of music in a short amount of time, something was way harder than I thought it was going to be, or whatever tight knit situation might have been.
For example, I have to leave for dress rehearsal in three hours, this is way harder than I thought it was gonna be, and I have to get this down.
I would go full focus on this guitar practice strategy. And it works.
This method is the superfood dense version of how to practice guitar effectively.
Chord Tone Arpeggio Pack
If you're interested in working on what I mentioned in the example, you can download my chord tone arpeggio pack totally free.
It's 12 different chords, five positions each, laid out for you all in the root of C.
It shows the theory numbers of the chords too.
It's a very cool resource to practice if that's something that you're looking to work on.
In the next episode of this series I'm going to talk about how working on, learning, and playing every song we know in one key can help us hear and identify what's happening in music better and deepen our knowledge of music in a way that I think we're often looking for.
Hope to see you there!
Take care and happy practicing!
Like my video lessons?
I’ll send you an email when they come out each Tuesday
Just sign up here
I never spam or share your info