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How much do you practice?

#21 User is offline   ~flipper 

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 04:35 PM

I'm wood-shedding, big time, for the rest of the year. Started this little intense practice project in late October last year. I'm averaging, easily, over 8 hours a day. I had several weeks that were more like 10 hrs a day (I'm talking about seven days a week). I try to divide time between reading notes on the staff, playing with very clean sound sometimes, and very heavily-amplified sound part of the time (to check for peripheral string noise, inaccurate attack, etc), taking fast riffs and slowing them way down, working on simple exercises to teach all the fingers to be able to hit notes squarely no matter what, learning new chords and inversions (new chords always take a while), staying religious about the down/up-stroke thing, and doing everything in reverse (in other words: up/down) ... etc.

You have to be careful, doing something like this. I had nasty carpal tunnel symptoms for two months. I took a few days "off", which meant playing only a couple hours on those days. I try to take a 10 or 15 minute break per hour, but that seldom happens, it's more like every two hours.

What to focus on is a real matter of opinion, but there are certain situations, regarding practice, that can affect all of us. We all want to sound "good' of course, and as silly as this may sound, what that can lead to is a lot of playing, over and over, of things we already "know." That's no way to advance. Another thing, guys will play, say, a two-octave scale with maybe a leading tone and a couple notes over the second octave root, and they'll be sort of fluffing a note here or there, but most of the scale will sound just fine. If you keep doing that, you actually are training your finger muscles to fluff certain notes. Your fingers only do what you train them to do, they don't "think" for themselves.

If you have patterns that have two notes on some strings and three notes on others, it's easy to have some articulation issues when you're doing rapid ascending & descending lines. A lot of guys will just brush it off, and when they're in a "live" playing situation they'll use speedy playing to cover little issues like that. It doesn't work that way. You have to listen, real hard while you're running your so-called warm-ups or scales. If you hear some sloppiness, don't repeat the whole scale or whatever, focus on the notes right around where the sloppiness or string-change is happening, and repeat that until it's correct, effortless and smooth, at very slow speeds.

If we don't deal with "problem areas" (certain string changes, notes played by a 'weaker' finger, inability to play the riff slow and clean, instead of speedy and distorted, etc) playing "live' might result in our "avoiding" certain notes and things ... but the whole reason to learn the entire instrument, and to be a 'serious' player (if that's what you're after), is so that in a live situation our fingers and hands are so comfortable and familiar with possibilities, they can reach and properly hit any note, at any time, based solely on what we hear and feel at any given time, and not based on what we think we've memorized or a 'confined, limited" version of the fretboard. That's the ballgame, right there ...

Use a metronome and stay in tune. Believe me, if you're "in tune" and "on time" you will be way ahead of a ton of guys. If you're in tune and on time, simple can sound dramatic, and "fancy" is just gravy.

I've heard guys say, "It's easier to play certain riffs fast." That is total BS. What they're really saying is, "It's easier to ignore bs sloppiness when it goes by quickly." Meanwhile, their fingers are getting very very good at playing sloppy. That crap will come back to haunt you, trust me. The more you "practice" your mistakes, the harder it is to "undo" that muscle memory and then reprogram your fingers to do it right.

Guitar playing is fun, or at least it should be, whether you want to be the next Satriani or just a guy who can strum a few chords. It's all good, it's all valid ... music is a personal thing. it's your "voice", so you say what you want to say, the way you want to say it. All that is fun, for sure. But focusing on our weak spots, and being relentless about turning the impossible into the possible, then from "possible" to the difficult, from difficult into "okay when I'm 'on'" into ... effortless ... that is NOT always a lot of fun.

BUT, once you see some of the impossible stuff flying off the fretboard effortlessly, you just might see the hard "work" involved as a deeper kind of "fun." And if not, well, there's always the flute.
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#22 User is offline   Kelvinator 

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 09:53 AM

I've been playing bass for over 40 years. I practice a minimum of 30 min a day 5 days a week; however, that usually turns into an hour or three. Some days I don't feel like practicing, but I force myself and those days often turn into the most rewarding. I spend a lot of time playing patterns and scales to loosen up before I work on new tunes. Before a job I'll go over every song on the set list and it amazes me how much more I can pick up listening to things I thought I knew well. After the work is done I love to "noodle" and just have fun, but at the same time I pay attention to technique, meter, and dynamics. There are more important things than just playing a lot of notes at blazing speed, and most of the time (for bass at least) - less is more!
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#23 User is offline   sarai abrams 

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 10:36 PM

kindly differentiate Practicing from Playing :)

when you practice you are actually playing. i do piano practice daily for 2-3 hours.
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#24 User is offline   L5Larry 

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 11:07 PM

View Postsarai abrams, on 25 August 2011 - 10:36 PM, said:

kindly differentiate Practicing from Playing :)


Playing is something you do in front of an audience, practicing is something you do at home!
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#25 User is offline   blindboyjimi 

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 12:30 PM

I try to differentiate playing and practicing by working through different books at least 5 hours per week, but playing as much as I can. I also leave my guitars out so every time I pass them I'll pick one up and try 2-5 reps of something I'm having trouble with. Good Luck.
Jim
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#26 User is offline   erikksonb 

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 11:02 AM

View PostAaron, on 23 August 2010 - 07:46 AM, said:

Hey guys. Since I'm a fairly new player, I'm wondering how much you more experienced players practiced when you were starting out, and what you focused on. My immediate goals are to become a competent enough rhthym guitarist such that I could find a band or other work as a guitar player. Beyond that I'd like to become a competent lead player as well. I don't want to just noodle in my music room forever, I actually want to acquire skills that I can put to work.

I have teacher who is very good. Right now I am working on basics; rhythm playing, reading music, getting a decent sound. My lessons usually focus on something pretty specific, which I then go practice for a week until my next lesson. I try to practice for at least 1/2 hour everyday, but usually I practice more than once per day for a total of up to 2hrs. Sometime I feel like I am not progressing very well, and it gets frustrating. I play the same songs over and over again, and they start to come together, but very slowly. I've only really been focused on guitar for about four months, so I guess I can't expect too much.

Anyway, what this long winded post is asking is How long did it take you to get "good"? And by good I mean having the skill and confidence to say "Yeah, I'm a guitar player, lets jam" and then be able to put your skills to good use in a band environment.

Hour a day at least. Time is an issue but I never regret practicing when I did. Fuel to the fire, you will be unstoppable
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#27 User is offline   MrFidget 

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 12:35 AM

Hi,

If you are yet to work as a "professional", you'll get more out of 1 hour of playing with other people than you will practicing for 4 hours at home.

You'll get more out of being on stage with the band for 45 minutes than if you spend 4 hours with them in the rehearsal room.

Dont get me wrong, you need to practice on a regular basis, both on your own and with a group. You also need to "practice with a purpose". Its when you are suddenly there in front of other people, you soon find out where your playing suddenly falls apart.

My suggestion, for what its worth....

Practice on a regular basis at home. Also play in your head, when you haven't got anything else to think about. Try it. It helps.

Get along to some jam nights and open mic nights. Try to play with musicians that are better than you, they will push you.

You can spend hours perfecting every little neuance in your playing, but if no one ever hears it, then whats the point. Get out there and make mistakes....oh yeah, and learn from them......and most importantly, have fun

Good Luck
Chris
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#28 User is offline   amplifiercity 

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 01:12 AM

View PostAaron, on 23 August 2010 - 07:46 AM, said:



Anyway, what this long winded post is asking is How long did it take you to get "good"? And by good I mean having the skill and confidence to say "Yeah, I'm a guitar player, lets jam" and then be able to put your skills to good use in a band environment.


the question really is 'what and how do I practice?' rather than 'how long?'

'Being able to put skills to good use in a band environment'....depends on the band, on the genre, how much experience you and the band has, ecc ecc

If you jam with a jazz or fusion band it requires more knowledge than in a blues or rock band.

If you practice really well and effectively ,in a couple of years you can be a good rock guitarist who plays covers that aren't too difficult
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#29 User is offline   j-dub 

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Posted 25 September 2011 - 06:29 AM

i've been back at it for a few weeks now, starting from scratch.
as of now i am doing 1 1/2 hours every other day, this is 1 1/2 straight i will ad, not broken into smaller time lots. as my fingers toughen i figure with in the next few days i will be able to go an hour every day, that is the goal anyways.
i am spending my time learning chords and doing pentatonic scales work, it is going well, and am learning to go from chord to chord with a little more speed and precision each time, imo the movement is the hard part, i'm getting good finger/fret placement, but the move from one to another is a large curve for me, but it is coming. i find the pentatonic scale to be very good at helping me find the strings with the pick.

it is the small improvements in sound and comfort that keep me moving forward, i'm having a blast.
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#30 User is offline   RS1976 

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 12:04 AM

at least 2.5 to 3 hours a day. spaced out with talking to friends, going for walks, prayer, silence, and meals. but always keeping the passion alive.
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#31 User is offline   EpiphoneFan1989 

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 11:45 AM

I have practice every day for two hours with my acoustic guitar and 3 days a week two hours too with my Epi Les Paul. Itīs ok for me. I think that playing with the acoustic guitar is more demanding. So I can better improve my skills.
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#32 User is offline   epi8668 

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 09:06 AM

15 - 20 minutes just about every morning w/ my coffee during the week. Then on the weekend I get to noodle around all I want.
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#33 User is offline   GySgtFTL 

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 08:10 AM

I play just about everyday. I don't know if I would call that practice or not. I need to practice everyday though. Usually try to get minimum one hour each day. It's a great way to unwind.
"Admit nothing. Deny everything. Make counter accusations."
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#34 User is offline   twalker 

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 10:16 PM

When I'm not touring I practice about 4 hours each day.
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#35 User is offline   MatthiasYoung 

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 10:42 AM

I wish that when I first started playing guitar I was as disciplined as I am now. Here's some things that I've learned throughout the years...

—The clock doesn't know anything. Don't necessarily give yourself time as a goal. Music is the goal.

—Have very specific goals when you are practicing. Otherwise, you'll spend too much time not making progress.

—Make sure that your instructor is teaching you how to effectively practice, not just how to play something. I stress this point constantly with my students. The reason why this is so important is that if you are only learning to play songs, you are not necessarily learning to play the guitar.

—If possible, try to spread out your practice during the day. Try working on your technique in the morning, and then repertoire in the afternoon/evening. Trying to do everything at one can be a little overwhelming sometimes.

—Learn a piece of music before you play it. ??? Yep. Study the music. If you're working on a specific song, how much can you learn about the song without playing your guitar? There might be written music or TAB. YouTube videos. You can listen to find the meter and form of the piece. Can you hum/sing/vocalize with the chord progressions and melody? Knowing the music before you even start to play it will greatly increase your progress.

I hope you find some of these points helpful!
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#36 User is offline   GASaholic 

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 02:30 PM

If you're working or busy studying you really have to make time and don't let opportunities to pick up the guitar pass by. Try keeping the guitarout of the case and easily accessable is one way avoid 'the out of sight uot of mind' syndrome and pick it up even for 5 minutes whenever you would otherwise watch tv/internet ect.
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#37 User is offline   GASaholic 

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 02:31 PM

Oh yeah - and play with a metronome if you can! It's invaluable to playing rythm and honing your timing
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#38 User is offline   david.sg 

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 12:18 PM

I think it's very important to think about what your goals are. If you're trying to become a virtuoso guitarist then yes, you need to practice 3-4 + hours a day. However, there are so many other things to focus on in music as well - rehearsing with a band, writing songs, composing, learning how to market your music, learning how to record and produce your own music. For me practicing guitar is just the tip of the iceberg. When I was younger and in music school I spent 4-5 hrs a day with the guitar, now I'm a little burnt out on practicing. (I still do it) But these days I'm more interested in writing good songs, getting good gigs, and saying more by playing less.

One last thing I will add is that I think you get a lot more out of playing with musicians who are better than you than you do from practicing.
David Irelan, Community Leader, sharemyguitar.com
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#39 User is offline   DJ in FL 

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 09:31 PM

View PostThawk Dean, on 22 November 2010 - 10:49 AM, said:

I'm 61 and retired. I've been at this about 1 1/2 years. Being retired, I plunk any time I have time. I keep my git on a stand in my music room. this amounts to at least an hour per day. The problem I have is practicing the RIGHT things. I get "squirled" and wind up reverting to playing things I know and enjoy. I need to reel myself in to practicing things I Don't know and enjoy. But, I'm having a riot with this git thing. I have NO aspirations to play outside my own home for myself. Just KEEP IT FUN, Dean



10-4 on this...am also retired and have the time, and keep git right by desk/computer.
Pick it up and pluck away all too often, but keep doing the same stuff, not venturing out into much new...of course I'm still trying to get the other stuff "right".
Old dogs and new tricks or something like that...

[thumbup]
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#40 Guest_gloria_*

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 03:19 AM

View PostRock642, on 18 September 2010 - 09:49 AM, said:

Posted Image
I've been working to get a min 30min a day, but some days I get none or some I get an hr. A lot has to do with my 9 to 5 job. :(

WOw amazing.
You did great.
I am a lazy bone.
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