Tag Archives | guitar practice journal

#1 Key to the most effective guitar practice session you’ve ever had

Human psychology is a fascinating thing.

We say we want something but when there is an opportunity to actually work toward that goal, we do nothing.

We want to become the best guitar players humanly possible but when the time comes to walk the talk and put in the work we start looking for excuses.

We says things like: “If only I had more time…:”, “It’s too difficult…”, “I don’t have talent…”, “I can never be so good…”.

We are searching for an easy way out when we should toughen up and keep our nose to the grindstone.

Even though we understand that the only way how to become good at playing guitar is by deliberately working on things that we can’t do, we pretend that we can get there by half-assing our practicing.

I see it constantly with my private students and there is abundance of this mentality online.

Here are few quotes that I’ve found online:

“I play guitar every day, but usually late night, unplugged in front of the TV. Every night I watch some old Law and Order episode, then pop in my Star Trek DVDs and watch those. While I am watching, especially the Star Treks, which I know almost forward and backwards, I play my guitar.”

“I also play unplugged in front of the TV watching baseball, Sports Center or Lost. Run up and down a few scales in different keys, practice songs I know so I don’t forget them. And work on new songs.”

“I play un-plugged while surfing & watching TV.”

Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing bad about “practicing” your guitar in front of the TV and watching Seinfeld reruns. I am not here to judge people. Do whatever you like.

You can watch all the TV in the world but don’t complain that you are not as good as you wish to be. And don’t tell me that if you just had more talent or more time then everything would be different.

That’s bullshit.

Things will be different only if you change your attitude towards practicing your guitar.

Let me put this straight:

You are not good because you don’t take your practicing seriously.

And the same is true for me:

I am not as good as I wish to be not because I lack talent but because for very long time I was not willing to give what it takes to become a good guitar player.

I believe that mastering the art of practicing is really the first and probably most important step for your success as a guitar player and musician.

Effective guitar practice is no accident. There is a key to massively improve the way you practice guitar.

Do you know what that is? Continue Reading →

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How and why to keep a guitar practice journal

large_4762384399I know you have already heard about the importance of a practice journal, yet you’ve decided not to do it.

I know you are already busy and don’t have time for some extra work.

I know you have a great memory and you can remember everything you’ve been practicing.

But …

Just for this moment, let’s pretend you’ve never heard of this idea. Let’s pretend it is completely new to you. And since you are an open-minded person, you’ll at least give it a try.

Keep reading and maybe I’ll persuade you that keeping a practice journal might not be the dumbest idea.

Are you in?

Ok, let’s go.

The evolution of my practice log

First, let me make a confession.

For a long long time I didn’t have any practice log. Surprised? (Common I am same as you)

For the majority of my life guitar wasn’t that important to me. I liked to listen to a good music but I never thought I would be able to play any of that stuff.

Guitar was just a hobby for me – I didn’t practice, I just played. Maybe three times a week max. That was it. I didn’t want to be a musician; I wanted to be a philosopher (more on that maybe sometimes in the future).

But then something has changed. I started to be more attracted to guitar playing. Suddenly I wanted to be a GUITAR PLAYER.   I wanted to make living by making music.

This change in attitude didn’t improve my playing skills, however. I still sucked badly.

In order to solve my sloppy playing, I did three things:

  1. I found a guitar teacher.
  2. I started to practice guitar (I started to understand the difference between playing and practicing).
  3. I begun journaling how much hours did I practice.

These three things made a drastic change to the results I was getting. Finally, I was able to play something that actually sounded like music.

I hope I don’t have to stress the importance of a good guitar teacher when you are just starting. But I was dumb enough to ignore this advice, please don’t do the same mistake. Also the understanding that there is a big difference between playing and practicing guitar helped me to improve a lot.

And the third thing that I found really valuable was my practice journal.

The first one was pretty simple. After every practice session I just jotted down how many minutes or hours I spent practicing. That was it. It wasn’t very fancy and yes, it wasn’t very helpful.

But it did help me to build a habit of tracking my progress.  At least I knew how much time I spent working on my playing. Better than nothing. And it also kept me accountable because finally I saw how much time I actually spent with guitar. And as you can imagine, there was a big gap between what I was thinking and what the reality was.

From then on, my journal took many alterations, from analog to digital and back to paper. As I was improving as a guitar player, my journaling skills also improved.  Nowadays my practice log looks completely different than how it used to, and it is also much more helpful. Continue Reading →

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