Part 2 of Developing a Daily Practice for Guitar
To become a killer guitar player, you should memorize a few chords ( four, for example) and then simply practice playing them in the order they come in the song. Do this at least ten times slowly from memory before moving on to the next set of changes ( chords). Once the complete passage or song is memorized, play it slowly twice a day for a week or so. Then you can practice “ locking “ in with your metronome or drum machine and then cranking up the tempo! Go to Metronome Online and learn the following:
- How to use a metronome
- Tempo markings
- How to practice music
- It’s all about timing
Learning new chords on the guitar or banjo and memorizing progressions can be tiring work, so don’t spend too long on this assignment- ten or fifth teen minutes a day will soon yield a considerable amount of new chords and repertoire. Chord books I recommend are
Playing the Guitar Techniques – should again be combined with the new musical vocabulary wherever possible. String bending, for example, can be nurtured by practicing licks involving this technique. Do this chromatically up and down the neck so your fingers become used to bending in tune all over the fret board. More info on string bending.
Vocabulary – is the most important area of all your practice program. If you don’t know any music on your guitar or banjo, then you have nothing to play! Who wants to hear scales or exercises, no matter how well they are played! Sure, scales etc.… are important, but only a means to an end. Guitar technique, in my opinion, should subordinate to music.
There are a number of ways for guitar and banjo students to learn musical vocabulary. Friends, books and videos can be one source. However, the best way to learn a new solo, lick, intro or tune, is from working things out by ear. Perhaps a friend or teacher can help you over any bits, but at least try working on your own as well. A great device to purchase is the Tascam Portable CD trainer which helps by slowing down speeds of songs but keeping guitar in same pitch, excellent for all levels of students.
Under the vocabulary heading, you should write down each item you’re attempting to learn. There’s no need to rush, just spend your assigned time limit on each item every day and do your best. Eventually you will have it and can start practicing up to speed. Once you’ve worked out the particular example (from the recording) you should play it over and over for the entire time allowed. If you do this every day, you will soon build up a vocabulary of musical phrases that will become second nature and easy to recall when needed.
This whole approach to practicing guitar & banjo may seem a little clinical to some of you, and if you’re happy with the way you practice now, that’s fine. If you feel your practice time could be more effective, however, it is worth trying these methods for a month or two, Remember, above all, keep your guitar practice as musical as possible and have fun!
Guitar Practice Homework:
- Decide on a musical goal that you feel would be realistic to achieve in one month.
- Following the procedure outlined above, write your own game plan with steps and times mapped out for each days practice.
- Have fun and listen to all styles of music from 1940’s up to current.