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Thread: Practice Routines

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  1. #1
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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.

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