There is so much information on the internet about what to practice and how to practice. It can become information overload and you may end up scratching your head more than you practice your guitar. We have a few tips to keep you from getting too frustrated with your practice routine. This is a condensed list. Obviously this could be expanded to a great degree.
- Technical exercises – This includes scales, arpeggios, and general finger exercises. Always be sure to practice these types of things with a metronome. Start at a comfortable speed and slowly work the tempo up. You can also practice these things with different rhythms. 1/4 notes, 8th notes, 16th notes, and don’t forget triplets.
- New chords and riffs- Use this time to expand you knowledge of chords. Do not forget to learn what notes each chord is made of. You need to know what it is you are playing. This is the difference between someone who can play guitar and a musician who plays guitar. When practicing riffs use a metronome, start slow, and slowly increase your speed. When learning riffs try to figure out what scale or mode the riff is derived from. This will help you gain a better understanding of how scales, modes, and arpeggios are used. Once you feel confident you can play the riffs you are learning try to play the riffs with the song the riff came from. For example if I am learning a Led Zeppelin riff my goal will be to get the riff down so well that I can play it with the recording. Playing the riffs with the recording will also help develop a good feel and it will help you play more musically.
- Songs- You should always be working on growing a repertoire of songs you can play from memory. The more songs you know the more proficient you will become on your guitar. Once again learning songs requires patience and a metronome. Start slow and gradually work on getting the song you are working on up to the temp of the recorded version. Practice them like this until you can play it correctly with the recording. Try to get all of the strumming patterns and riffs down as good as you possibly can. If you are a beginner remember to start with easier songs and work up to the more advanced pieces of music.
This is just a starter list of things to practice. There is a lot of material to practice so organizing your practice time can make the most of the time you have to practice. If you only have 30 minutes set a time and spend 10 minutes warming up, 10 minutes on chords and riffs, and 10 minutes on your current song. Once again this is a very condensed list. It is always good to have a private instructor to help guide you on your path. Music is a journey… You have to start somewhere so get going!