Just like you need to stretch your muscles before you work out at the gym, you need to warm up your fingers and hands before you can effectively practice. Start with a technique exercise that you can play confidently but is also challenging. Run through the exercise until you feel sufficiently warmed-up. Be sure not to rush through the exercise, take your time and make sure you are playing each note clearly and at a set tempo.
2 – Take a Break.
Depending on how long you are practicing, make sure to give yourself a break in the middle of your practice schedule. It doesn’t need to be a long break, just long enough to clear your head in order to ensure focused practice when you return. (This can also help a lot if you are stuck on a particular song or exercise and need to forget your frustrations for a moment).
3 – Focus.
Focus is absolutely crucial to progressive learning. There is a big difference between focusing on a piece of music and working through difficulties, vs just “going through the motions” simply to get through practice. Make sure you are also free of distractions such as cell phones or television.
4 – Create a “Thinking Tempo”.
Practicing at a “thinking tempo” will help ensure you are not only playing the correct notes in a piece of music, but also playing in correct time. There is no point to playing or practicing music without Rhythm. A metronome is also a very helpful practice tool. If you do not have a metronome however, try your best to play at a set tempo that stays as steady as possible. Tapping your foot along to a beat can also be helpful.
5 – Stay Consistent.
Effective practice for any musician requires the forming a good practice habits. Consistency in how often and how long you practice will help develop those good habits. Choose a certain time of day, every day that you plan to practice. Ideally it should be a time you are generally free in your schedule. If needed, set a timer and force yourself to practice for whatever time you choose. The more you do these things, the easier it will become to get motivated and disciplined about your guitar practice.
-Morgan Thomas (Bravo Employee)