Note to self: Autosave. (I hate crashes!)
I will start with pointing everyone to a website by Ms. Jamey Andreas that covers the art of practicing guitar to a degree that you might not have dreamed possible: www.guitarprinciples.com.
Here are some thoughts I have about practice that I will label as rules. I only do this because we usually consider statements labeled as rules to be more important than those labeled as opinion. I think everything is an opinion, of course, that is just my opinion.
For the web-hip: IMHO.
Practice Rule #1: Practice everyday. Even if only for a little while, you should pick up your instrument and do something. Imagine applying the answer I get concerning your practice for the week if I had asked you: ‘Did you brush your teeth this week?’
Practice Rule #2: Know the difference between practicing and playing. Both are important, but should be separate. Practicing is getting better at a particular skill, as defined in the Practice vs. Rehearsal I installment, and playing is enjoying what you are able to do. We should all be sure to do both. I need to play more; some of us need to practice more. We all struggle with balance.
Practice Rule #3: The notes we play mean nothing if they are played at the wrong time. Use your metronome when you are supposed to use it. I could name names, but you know who you are: the metronomeless. I know some of you have a metronome but simply can’t find it; look under your bed.
Practice Rule #4: Every practice session should end with you being better than when you started. If not, then something is wrong. It could be that you are trying to learn something too far beyond your current skill. You could be trying to play the material too fast.
(Again with the metronome you say!)
Practice Rule #5: Don’t bore yourself. Yes, some of what we have to do is boring, but don’t let things get to the point that you don’t want to play music. For the beginner, almost everything is boring compared to what you want to be able to do right now. It is important to make what you are doing as interesting as possible. Sometimes, I have practiced playing just one note. I often show this to advanced students who play too many notes and do not make a distinct musical statement. If you want to know more about one note practicing ideas, let me know and I will be happy to show you.
Keep in mind that these ‘Rules’ are simply what I think are: “Some of the Most Important Things about Practice That Students and Players Get Wrong.” That’s just too long of a title though.