These days, free time seems hard to come by.

A day is one long stream of never-ending interruptions. This is why when you do find the time to sit down and practice your instrument, you need to get the most out of it.

In this article, I’ll cover some tips to help you get the most out of your practice time.

Following the principles of “deliberate practice,” you can improve at a faster rate.


This article is by John Holloway, the owner of GuitarLessons.org. His site helps people learn guitar and make the right choice when shopping for guitar gear.

Slow It Down

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Most people want immediate results when it comes to learning an instrument. They play the song at the same tempo they hear on the recording.

This can create frustrations and bad habits.

Matching the speed on the recording is something that should come later. When learning a new piece, start by playing it slow.

While this may seem like common sense, students often forget this basic practice tip.

Slowing it down and focusing on the details can give you better results than trying to nail the tempo immediately.

Use A Metronome

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The ticking of a metronome can become a maddening clock, but it’s a necessary evil if you want to build speed in your playing.

There are hundreds of metronome apps for phones today. This means there’s no excuse to not use a metronome.

The benefit of using a metronome is that it will improve your timing. It will also allow you to systematically increase your speed of a piece until you are up to tempo.

Pro Metronome has some great features like automatic intervals to get you up to speed.

Focus On Your Weaknesses

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I am guilty of sitting down to practice and ending up playing through the songs I know. While this is fun, it’s not practice.

The key to a good practice session is to work on what you are not good at. Focus on your weaknesses.

These sessions are not fun. They leave you feeling drained. But they are key to improving your playing.

Each practice session should have a purpose. Pick something you struggle with and attack it head-on.

Record Yourself

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Lastly, you’re going to want to record yourself. This can be painful for some players — no one wants to hear themselves struggle through a new passage.

It’s important to force this habit.

Record yourself and play it back. Analyze your errors and listen for areas that you can improve. Compare it to a professional recording and see if you can change your playing to match.

Recording yourself is great for measuring progress. In six months, you can listen to your old recordings and laugh at how much you’ve improved.

Conclusion

If you’re like me, you love to get better at something. Practice is the way!

I recommend reading the book Talent Is Overrated by Geoff Colvin. It talks about deliberate practice, and it was a real eye-opener for me.

Getting serious about your practice is step one. Use the above tips to get the most out of your practice sessions.

Resist the urge to play through what you already know. Do that for 15 minutes as a warm-up, then begin the difficult task of practicing what you need to improve.


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