Welcome!
Just a few a ground rules first...

Promotion, advertising and link building is not permitted.

If you are keen to learn, get to grips with something with the willing help of one of the net's original musician forums
or possess a genuine willingness to contribute knowledge - you've come to the right place!

Register >

- Close -
Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Practice Routines

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    28

    Practice Routines

    This question will be a little more specific than most (how long should I practice what?). My question is, how should I keep track of my practicing? Should I be practicing the same exercises every day and just keep track of my maximum speeds, or is there another approach that you would recommend?

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,123
    the only thing I keep track of is songs I know, because I don't want to forget any. But then I don't really practice, I just play and improvise on tunes. But it would stand to reason, I suppose, that if one was to work on technique one should probably keep track in a similar method, if only to make sure you don't forget anything. To be perfectly honest I don't think you have to practice something every day in order to improve. Sometimes you need to step back and let things digest and often when you come back to it later is when you really notice improvement. There are songs I only play at most once a week, but over the long term they do improve.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    12
    As far as technique goes, pick a few excercises that really give you a workout in the techniques you want to improve on and then go at them everyday for 30 mins or so, starting REALLY slowly on the first day and then very gradually working up. Its a little tedious at first, especially when you know you can play it faster but stick with it as it will help you to develop in the correct way. If you have patience and don't go too fast too soon you'll have it nailed. I've tried this approach with a couple of my students and (when they stick to it) it works. Obviously with certain techniquesit may take a few weeks, or even months to get to the stage where you are happy with it but give it a try.

    Its also important to practice these techniques in context with what you do i.e. with a band, solo performance, teaching, whatever coz otherwise these's no point in learning it.

    Hope this makes sense!

    I read a good article by Tom Hess on this whole thing once. It might be on this site but if not I'll try and track it down for you.

  4. #4
    Mad Scientist forgottenking2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    1,542
    Spend some time jamming to a backing track, band in the box, one of those automatic acompaniments some keyboards have... (you get the point). Record it and see how long you can keep it interesting. If it bores you to death, chances are people are going to be even less excited about it. Listen to see if any of the new techniques you've been trying sound forced in (Eric mentions this a couple of times in his articles, the whole copy/paste thing) and work on making it all sound musical. Work on your dynamics and expression on the instrument. That's the best way to develop your own sound.

    These are things that a lot of students miss so keep an eye open for them in your own practicing.

    Good luck.

    -Jorge
    "If God had wanted us to play the piano he would've given us 88 fingers"

  5. #5
    IbreatheMusic Author ChrisJ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Tokyo
    Posts
    602
    You have to put more emphasis on the goal more so than the process. The question; "What should I practice?" is really the second question, the first is; "What do I want to be able to do?" If you concentrate too much on the process, your playing will not improve. What you practice must be dictated by the goal. Do you want to:

    1) to play Jazz, Rock, Blues, Funk, or all of the above.

    2) Be able to read music?

    3) Play great solos?

    4) play great rhythm?

    5) be able to play over any chord progression, diatonic or not?

    6) Make a living as a musician. If so, as a studio player or do you want a contract with a label for you band?

    7) simply play the tunes that you like?

    8) continue on to study at a school of higher education?

    When you know the answer to these questions, you are ready to develop a practice routine.

    The only reason you should keep track of your practice sessions is to make sure that you are working on the same things on a relatively steady basis. And once again, these things must point towards the goal. That is why I get annoyed at my students when they practice chromatic exercises constantly, there is no goal as the phrases can not be used in music. An exercise should not be done for the sake of practice, but something that can be used in a musical setting.

    -CJ

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    28
    My main goals right now are purely technical. Over the weekends I take the time to work on writing and improvisation, but I'm trying to resume regular technical practice to improve my ability in alternate and sweep picking, legato and tapping, so on. I'm already more or less a proficient lead guitarist, but I feel a need to really push myself to extremes.

  7. #7
    Registered User Wintersun's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    WA
    Posts
    6
    Well as far as technique goes, here is my experience. I know for sure that if I work with a metrenome for four hours everyday, my technique gets better; It's not just maintenaince. I started practicing 8 hours everday, covering songwriting, technique, and aural practice. I did this for 3 months straight. Now I'm not saying you have to do this, but I am just saying it worked for me. Just spending that kind of time with a guitar WILL force your questions of what to practice to be answered. Many other questions WILL answered as well automatically. spending 8 hours a day for three months just forces you.

    Anyways, the main thing I learned from this that helped my technique was HONESTY; Ever since I compressed my practice routine into 6 hours, I not only saved a lot of time in the day, and rest, but I started getting way better at shredding. I forced eight hours of playing into six, and quit the mindless noodeling I would do, which isn't efficient. And the most helpful thing for my chops was not to work on complicated etudes and long solos etc., but to HONESTLY sit down and work on scale fragments, or a bar of a solo for 45 minutes at a time. And make sure you DON'T START TOO SLOW, but START AT A COMFORTABLE TEMPO. It is too hard to play really solo, and it is sometimes even harder than to play really fast. Gradually work an exercise 2 to 8 beats at a time. I would reccomend 2 or 4 to be the best, because the more you work on the technique, the more your fingers are memorized, making it easier for when you get up to higher tempos.

    To be specific with my experience, what I did was I honestly pushed myself 45 minutes a day for 2 weeks with the famous Paul Gilbert lick(If you don't know this exercise, then I will explain it for you.) After 2 weeks, I could play it at 136bpm(sextuplet notes) which is plenty fast for me, and the exercise enabled me to alternate pick really fast. Just that one lick will pretty much nail your alternate picking technique. All you need is 2 weeks, a metrenome, and most importantly- honesty.

    The same can be applied with fragments of string skipping, legato and sweeping as well.

    For technique, you need to practice everday with a metronome- fragments are the best exercises. For me, I know that 4 hours is enough, but less might be ideal. Anways this practice should make you extreme If that is what you truly desire......

    However, the way I practice is I incorporate technigue, songwriting and improv into one practice. I listen for vibes in songs that I really like(like how someone might inflect a power chord, for example. The intro to "Downfall" by Children of Bodom is a great example), then I proceed to record a cassette tape front and back with riffs in that vibe. Then I solo over the whole thing. Then I might pick up on a cool solo, and I would use that for my metronome practice. I always work on stuff that I WILL USE, or incororates the same type of finger pattern. I never try to get Mike Batio licks, or Yngwie licks up to speed, instead I learn their ideas, and work on my own licks.(Actually I'm not into either of their vibes because they sound a little emotionless to me. Instead for solos I listen to Sinergy and Children of Bodom for that.) That's what makes me improve the best and become proficient.

    Also I wouldn't use Band in a Box, instead I would make up my own progressions with a guitar and record them.

    Remember-technique is not the only maintence thing, because Interval/aural training needs to be maintained everyday, and improving over chords, and copying vibes is the best way to do it.

    I can elaborate on any of this if you want me to.

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    28
    Hey Wintersun, thanks for that post, I appreciate it and I'll take it to heart. I'm familiar with what you talked about, and sextuplets at 136 for the PG lick is damn fast. I think the fastest I've ever gotten it is 120, usually about 100-110 after I warm up.

  9. #9
    Did I say that out loud ? joeyd929's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    CT
    Posts
    1,099

    Steve Vai

    To elaborate on the 6 hour practice schedule. Steve Vai had a column in Guitar player for a while and he had this one article about working your way up to playing (practicing) a specific detali for one full hour without interruption.

    He suggested doing 5 minutes the first day, 10 minutes the second day, and so on. It can be a scale, riff, run, lick, picking technique, horizontal movement, or whatever. He stated that you don't necessarily have to play it in the same location, but move around in falling 5ths or change strings, change the tempo, but play the same thing for one solid hour.

    You get to know things more intimately that way. I personally am striving for that "natural" feel that comes with enough practice. Alan Holdsworth is one of the fastest guitarists to use pull/hammer technique and he says that he makes no mental or physical transition between playing slow or fast.

    I know what he means because if you watch some guitarists, they really look like they are working hard to play fast but Holdsworth looks like nothing has changed, no effort at all, this is how well he has come to know his technique.

    It's like a black belt marshal artist or street fighter, they can wail on you without any effort at all, their arms and legs just move with natural reflex. It takes discipline and drive but most of all you gotta do it.

    You can read all the technique books, learn all the scales and modes, and runs but to actually improve playing you gotta play play play play play play play and play some more.
    Joey D




  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Canada eh?
    Posts
    30
    Quote Originally Posted by Wintersun
    Well as far as technique goes, here is my experience. I know for sure that if I work with a metrenome for four hours everyday, my technique gets better; It's not just maintenaince. I started practicing 8 hours everday, covering songwriting, technique, and aural practice. I did this for 3 months straight. Now I'm not saying you have to do this, but I am just saying it worked for me. Just spending that kind of time with a guitar WILL force your questions of what to practice to be answered. Many other questions WILL answered as well automatically. spending 8 hours a day for three months just forces you.

    Anyways, the main thing I learned from this that helped my technique was HONESTY; Ever since I compressed my practice routine into 6 hours, I not only saved a lot of time in the day, and rest, but I started getting way better at shredding. I forced eight hours of playing into six, and quit the mindless noodeling I would do, which isn't efficient. And the most helpful thing for my chops was not to work on complicated etudes and long solos etc., but to HONESTLY sit down and work on scale fragments, or a bar of a solo for 45 minutes at a time. And make sure you DON'T START TOO SLOW, but START AT A COMFORTABLE TEMPO. It is too hard to play really solo, and it is sometimes even harder than to play really fast. Gradually work an exercise 2 to 8 beats at a time. I would reccomend 2 or 4 to be the best, because the more you work on the technique, the more your fingers are memorized, making it easier for when you get up to higher tempos.

    To be specific with my experience, what I did was I honestly pushed myself 45 minutes a day for 2 weeks with the famous Paul Gilbert lick(If you don't know this exercise, then I will explain it for you.) After 2 weeks, I could play it at 136bpm(sextuplet notes) which is plenty fast for me, and the exercise enabled me to alternate pick really fast. Just that one lick will pretty much nail your alternate picking technique. All you need is 2 weeks, a metrenome, and most importantly- honesty.

    The same can be applied with fragments of string skipping, legato and sweeping as well.

    For technique, you need to practice everday with a metronome- fragments are the best exercises. For me, I know that 4 hours is enough, but less might be ideal. Anways this practice should make you extreme If that is what you truly desire......

    However, the way I practice is I incorporate technigue, songwriting and improv into one practice. I listen for vibes in songs that I really like(like how someone might inflect a power chord, for example. The intro to "Downfall" by Children of Bodom is a great example), then I proceed to record a cassette tape front and back with riffs in that vibe. Then I solo over the whole thing. Then I might pick up on a cool solo, and I would use that for my metronome practice. I always work on stuff that I WILL USE, or incororates the same type of finger pattern. I never try to get Mike Batio licks, or Yngwie licks up to speed, instead I learn their ideas, and work on my own licks.(Actually I'm not into either of their vibes because they sound a little emotionless to me. Instead for solos I listen to Sinergy and Children of Bodom for that.) That's what makes me improve the best and become proficient.

    Also I wouldn't use Band in a Box, instead I would make up my own progressions with a guitar and record them.

    Remember-technique is not the only maintence thing, because Interval/aural training needs to be maintained everyday, and improving over chords, and copying vibes is the best way to do it.

    I can elaborate on any of this if you want me to.
    Well Wintersun, help me if you can:

    Now, you say to work honestly on a certain technique for 45 mins. I do a fragment for 5 mins with the metronome, if I do it good - I up it 4bpm and do it for 5 mins and that's my alternate picking work which is my only practice these days. I honestly want to learn more songs, although the ones which I want to are technically overwhelming. And about that vibe thing, you'd build something over it like a solo, or a rhythm? The thing that annoys me the most is being a student, so loads of my time is devoted to school/studying so when I can grab the guitar I'm dead tired and unmotivated. I can honestly use some good advice here since I want to build up my technique, learn some kick-*** songs and beef up my writing.

  11. #11
    Registered User Wintersun's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    WA
    Posts
    6
    It sounds like you are only working on a lick with only a couple of tempos. For me, working on a lick or fragment for 5 minutes straight will get me stuck in a mind block. You need to confuse your fingers at all different speeds. Sometimes it takes me 45 minutes, 1 hour, or only 20 minutes, but whenever I work on a fragment for building chops, I always improve the speed and accuracy, or at least maintain my previous maximum tempo. This is what I did for a technique session:

    I played the PG lick at several random tempos that are below my comfortable tempo, never spending more than a few minutes at any tempo. This for working on accuracy. Therefore I do not play at any tempo that I can not play the lick perfectly on. Now for speed. I broke the lick up into these 4 exercises and looped them in this exact order:

    1.At 136bpm 8th notes:
    --12----12
    -----15----15
    repeat several times

    2.At 136bpm 16th notes:
    -----------------
    15-13-12-15-13-12
    repeat several times

    3.136bpm 1 note per beat:
    -12-12-12-12-
    keep doing this, and when you are ready, add the rest of the notes like this:

    4.136bpm sextuplets:
    -12----------12
    ----12-13-15---12-13-15

    Keep reapeating these exercises in the same order until you can play it at 136bpm or whatever tempo you want. After that, make sure you can play the lick at any speed lower than that. That is how I did a technique session and was very effective for me. However, ebryone has their own exercises that work for them. Just find what works for you but always make sure that by the end of your technique session, you either you maintain your max tempo or exceed it.

    For writing this is what helped me:
    I take 20 minutes or so to analyze a song and write down each section (chorus, solo tc.), and identify the song's overall vibe, and identify the various techniques that are used. For example, the song "Living Dead Beat" by Children of Bodom alternates the main riff and the verse that leads up to the chorus section- it's a very common effective songwriting technique.(sorry if you aren't into metal). Or sometimes what is cool is when the band is quite while the guitar plays the verse riff, then the rest of the band kicks in. That sounds cool. Just analyze various songs if you want to write songs.

    The vibe thing: I write riffs that copy the same texture and vibe as other riffs. Then for warming up I just improvise over them. I just try to "find the right notes"-that is what improve is all about. Then if I discover something cool while improvising, I will work on that technique with a metronome. One time, for example, I came up with the idea of taking a five string sweep and play one like this:

    --------------------10
    ----------12-----------12
    -11----------11-----------11
    ---12-----------12
    ------14-----
    -------------
    or I've tried sweeping a pentatoic scale. Ideas like these just pop up randomly when improvising.

    For learning songs- just learn one bar or two a day. I did this for "No Boundaries" by Michael Angelo Batio. It took me only about 2 months to learn it. I've also done this with "Crazy Train" and "Perpetual Motion". Each bar gives you great chops exercises.

    For Motivation:

    when I get home from college at about 8 or 9pm, I am so sick of everything that all I want to do is play guitar. I play for a few hours, then I'm up at 5 or 6 am the next day. It's like you have to work extremely hard at school in order to make guitar playing a "privelage" or "time that you worked your *** off to get." I do not take my practice time for granted. I use it as best as I can by revising a practice schedule, and making sure that whenever I even think about practicing, I am pumped up like I'm ready for the Super Bowl. You need to find out what initially made you want to play. For me, it was when I first bought the album "Follow The Reaper" that I became obssessed with guitar. I have every Children of Bodom CD, including E.Ps, some imports, and vinyls. I have every Sinergy cd and have recorded every solo that Alexi Laino has ever played onto a tape including when he was in Inearthed. Remembering how I felt when I first heard Children of Bodom is what I use to motivate me. It was my initial motive to play guitar. You just need to remember the feeling.

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Canada eh?
    Posts
    30
    I know, holy bump Batman - Wintersun, what would your practice schedule consist of?

Similar Threads

  1. What's your practice routine?
    By Danster in forum Guitar Technique
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 12-13-2007, 06:40 PM
  2. Practice Time division/upstrokes
    By Mateo150 in forum Guitar Technique
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 01-25-2005, 11:40 PM
  3. Excessive practice - how is it done?
    By redmunk in forum Mental Stuff
    Replies: 26
    Last Post: 11-17-2004, 07:09 PM
  4. Practice Schedules
    By dave111 in forum Guitar Technique
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 09-10-2004, 04:32 AM
  5. Practice Routine
    By forgottenking2 in forum Guitar Technique
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 09-12-2003, 03:08 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •