This list of five mistakes to avoid when practicing can help you in your journey to becoming a better musician.
Yes, practice is the most effective way to get better at your instrument and there are no shortcuts. However, how you practice is just as important as how much you practice. Many young musicians tend to work in ways that are quite ineffective and can lead to frustration due to a lack of progress. Here we’re going to point you in the right direction so you can make time spent with your instrument as effective and fun as possible. Here are the five mistakes to avoid when practicing.
Practicing while doing something else
For practice to be truly effective it must be focused and intentional. You must concentrate exclusively on it for it to work overtime. Watching TV, scrolling through social media, and talking to a friend while you play guitar is not gonna cut it.
In other words, you must focus exclusively on your practice session. Do that for 45 minutes to one hour at a time. You don’t have that much time? Well, even 15 minutes of deliberate focus can help if you do it daily. Otherwise, it’s just not very effective.
Practicing without regularity
Practicing for 20 minutes on Tuesday and 5 on Thursday on a weekly basis will not help you much. You need to do it regularly, in other words, every day. There is no way around this one, as a daily practice regimen is the best way to get better at what you do. And please know that it is much better to practice 30 minutes every day for six days than three hours once a week.
If you can’t do it daily, can you commit to three or four times a week? If you can do that, you will still improve at a good rate as long as you are consistent with your practice. If you do it regularly, you will improve. And nothing is more regular than every single day.
Practicing material you already know
If you only play songs you already know over and over, you won’t be making much progress. You need to get out of your comfort zone and learn new pieces, techniques, and other material constantly.
To move forward as a musician you need to go through the uncomfortable process of not being able to play something and develop the stamina to overcome obstacles consistently.
Practicing without a metronome
One of the best tools for practicing is a metronome. Even though some despise being bound by a “click”, there is no better tool for tracking your progress. Check out our Roadie 3 tuner, with its cool vibrating metronome.
By using one, you can gradually increase the speed of what you are working on until you reach your goal.
Some experienced players state that you should use a metronome all the time while practicing. Others say that it should be used for certain exercises and drills. Just make sure you are incorporating the use of this powerful tool at some point in your practice session.
Not allocating time to practice
Even if you can only practice for 15 minutes a day, it is vital to set aside a specific time and place to do it. It could be after lunch, before work, during your nights, etc. The point is that you have your practice sessions scheduled.
Scheduling your practice sessions can be of great help especially if it eventually becomes a habit. You will truly feel the progress on your instrument once practicing becomes a habit.
Keep a close eye on these five mistakes to avoid when practicing. Sure, this is not so easy, but it will pay dividends. Please keep in mind that all guitar heroes went through intense practice years and some still practice today.
Even if you just want to play some tunes at the bar on Friday night with some friends, practice is the best and most effective way to get there. You can practice according to what you want to accomplish. Now, if you do want to be the next Steve Vai… better schedule in seven hours daily, for the next ten years.