There’s guitar practice, and then there is guitar practice.
And there is a lot we can learn about effective guitar practice from looking at sports.
Sports researchers have put a lot of time into finding out why some football academies consistently create great players, while others don’t.
One variable they looked at was the time spent at the academy. They compared a top academy with a lower ranking academy. Interestingly, the lower achieving academy had their students playing more than the high ranking academy.
The worst footballers were practising more often than the good footballers!
Now – this is not an excuse to practice less. Bear with me here.
So, the researchers were perplexed. This appeared to defy common sense. They started looking into how the footballers at the top academy practised, compared to the footballers at the lower academy.
They found that the top academy footballers had a very intense and focussed practice time, compared to the lower ranking academy.
We’ve already looked at how to find more time to practice guitar in a previous article, so how can we become more focussed with our guitar practice?
4 Ways to Become More Focussed When Practising Guitar
1. Use the Pareto Method
This is a great method. It is much easier to stay focussed when you know your practice time is coming to an end.
Set a timer for 10 / 15 / 20 minutes, and practice until the timer goes off. When you hear the timer, stop practising and move onto the next practice element you want to work on.
2. Practice at the Same Time Every Day
Our bodies and minds love routine. To a very large extent, we are a product of our routines and our body and mind respond favourably to them.
Try and keep your practice time as regular as you can, as your lifestyle allows. Turn your practice time into a routine that you work through, every day.
This will help you keep your practising consistent and before long, you will find yourself working through practice routines like a knife through butter.
3. Plan Your Practice Items on Sunday
Sunday is a day for rest… and planning the week ahead.
If all your practice items are planned for the week, working through them becomes a lot easer. You no longer have to decide what to work on each day. You no longer waste time figuring out what it is you are going to be practicing.
You just sit down, and get to work.
I don’t know about you, but I love being able to just sit down and get on with something.
So on Sunday, choose the practice items you will be working on for the following week.
If you join our members area, this becomes even easier. We have lessons sorted by technique, key, and ability level; so you can very quickly choose a few items to work on over the following week.
4. Practice Early in the Morning
Early morning is the best time for anything that takes brain power or creativity. I find that when I do guitar practice, music theory, songwriting and writing in the first half of the day, I can consistently work through all these things, one after the other.
If you can, re-arrange your lifestyle so you can practice guitar early in the morning. The earlier the better – you want it to be the first thing you do, every day.
If you are practising in the evening, you are tired, easily distracted, it’s hard to focus and let’s face it… after a hard day at work we just want to put our feet up and watch The Punisher do some punishing.
Goto bed earlier, get up earlier, and get your guitar practice done in the morning. You will find you progress a lot, lot faster doing this.