A new website, a new blog!
Hi everybody! I figured that with my new site, a great way of connecting with you guys would be to start a blog. I will be posting things that are going on in my world, tutorials and gear reviews, articles about the music and education scenes, and any other random things that I find remotely interesting!
As a starter, I thought I’d write about a few good practise techniques. I’ll be referencing this mainly to the guitar, but the core principles are applicable to any instrument. To begin, we need to look at what it means to practise…
Perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to acquire, improve or maintain proficiency in it
Taken from the [Oxford Online Dictionary](http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/practise)
So to paraphrase this, practising is doing something with the sole intention of getting better at it. One of the things I always try and work on with my students is a practise schedule. Nine times out of ten they are making the same mistakes that I used to! A typical hour of playing without a practise routine might be 5 minutes of playing scales, 10 minutes of trying to learn a new song by ear or reading a tab, and then the rest of the time jamming or noodling.
Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing to do, I mean the whole reason we all wanted to learn guitar in the first place was because it was fun, right?! But what this hour isn’t, is a one hour practise session. If you can learn to spend the time learning more effectively, then it will help you see a marked improvement in the fun bit, actually playing!
The first tip I can give you is to always warm up at the start of your practising. Gently shake your hands out and start with some finger dexterity exercises. Some of these are commonly known as spider exercises, and if you need any tips on what these are then why not send me a message. Warming up will relax your muscles and help prevent doing any damage during a heavy session.
Eyes on the target
Another important thing to do is to make sure you have a firm goal and actively work towards it, for example if you feel you need to improve your speed then a way to achieve this would be to spend your practice time playing scales and repeating patterns to a metronome, gradually increasing the tempo when you feel comfortable that you are playing each part as accurately as possible.
Keep in mind, not all goals are equal. It always helps to make sure whatever target you have set for yourself fits the SMART Criteria.
Keeping in time
The other important thing to remember I’ve actually mentioned already… Playing with a metronome! It sounds boring, but it’s really important to be able to play accurately and in time when you’re performing.
Top tip! Count out loud while you’re playing. Counting the beats of the bar will help you lock in with the click. It will also give you a deeper understanding of how the part you’re playing lays in the groove of the music.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post. This is not an exhaustive list, but should give you a few things to think about. Let me know what you think in the comments section, and keep checking back for more in the very near future!!
N.B. I’m based in the UK, where We have two different spellings of practice. The verb form is spelt with an s over here, whereas our friends in the USA spell both the noun and verb forms of the word as practice. There is stuff written about this all over the internet, but for the lazy out there, let me google it for you.