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How many hours a day should I practice guitar?

Do you know that feeling when you practice for long hours and you feel like you are not progressing at all?

You have practiced all your scales, arpeggios and songs, but you still feel that you are not done yet.

You feel like you need to practice some more. So you put one more hour in, but you are not satisfied anyway.

You can’t get to the point where you know that you are done for today.

You still have this question on your mind: “How much should I practice to become really good?”

10 hours? Or more?

Why it doesn’t matter how much you practice?

I will be honest here with you. I don’t believe that you can practice for 10 or 15 hours a day. Yes, it is possible to play for such a long time but there is no way to be highly focused for 10 hours. If your practice session is efficient, it should be mentally more challenging than reading a book for fun. And I don’t think anyone can read for straight ten hours without falling asleep 🙂

Now you are maybe asking: “So if it is not 10 hours, how much is the optimal time?”

And the answer is that there is no optimal time. There is nothing like magic formula for this. I want to examine it a little bit deeper.

Let’s take a closer look why you can be frustrated after hours of practicing.

Being frustrated means that you didn’t meet your expectations. It means that you are not getting the results that you were looking for. You feel overwhelmed because you see the gap between where you are and where you want to be  but you don’t know how to close this gap.

Problem with counting hours is that no matter how many hours you practice, there is no guarantee that you will get the results you want. I have seen people who say they play for five hours a day, but their playing was not good at all. How is that possible? It is possible because time is saying nothing about how good you are. Time is not important, the results are.

No vision, no results

So how do you get the results you want? Here is a simple formula:

Step 1: You define the results you want to accomplish today

Step 2: You practice

Step 3: You evaluate what have you accomplished

Most guitarist usually skip the first and the last step. They just practice. But if you have no vision of what results you are after, how can you get them? How can you get from point A to point B if you don’t know how point B look like?

All those 3 steps are equally important. You have to define what do you want and how do you want to get it. Then you practice – this is the part when you do your best to accomplish what you want. And then you evaluate how successful you were. If you did meet your expectations, that is awesome, if you didn’t, think about what went wrong and how you can change it tomorrow. This is a constant process of learning where everything is just an experiment. It doesn’t matter  if you don’t reach your goals for today, what matters is if you can learn from it and change your strategy tomorrow.

Define your expectations

Before your next practice session (or right after today’s one) define what you want to accomplish tomorrow. Focus on 1 – 3 things that will take you closer to where you want to be. Don’t be to harsh on yourself, don’t set unreachable goals that will make you sad and frustrated. Be playful with this. Test it. Experiment.

It doesn’t matter how much time you have available today. Set a reasonable goal and go for it. If you only have 15 minutes, try to improve some small part of your guitar playing or learn one lick. If you have 2-3 hours set some more challenging goals.

So how many hours a day should you practice guitar?

The answer is simple. You practice as much as you can to get the results that you are after.

Have a great practice session.


Photo by practicalowl



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4 Responses to How many hours a day should I practice guitar?

  1. Phil Johnson November 2, 2012 at 2:48 am #

    This is a great article Lukas. I’ve found the same thing with a lot of students that come to me after having played for years and not made any progress. I have to teach them how to practice before I can teach them anything new about the guitar.

    • Lukas November 2, 2012 at 5:58 am #

      I have the same experience. Knowing how to practice is the key to getting better but many guitarist do not realize that.

      Thank you for your comment Phil.

  2. Guitar November 8, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    thank you Lukas!
    you asome!!!!!!!!!!

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