What are your practice habits; from novice to expert? Keeping it interesting while progressing.

Discussion in 'Music, Theory, Tab and Such' started by optofonik, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. optofonik

    optofonik Squier-holic

    I'm still developing practice habits (some good some bad, I'm sure) and am curious about others here; both experienced players and novices.

    I tend toward a way of practicing that mirrors how I studied in college; roughly, thirty minutes on, thirty minutes off. Back then when my mind started to fatigue on a given subject I would switch to another. In the case of guitar practice, I switch to another guitar. Sometimes I'll switch to bass or piano for a bit but I'm trying to keep my focus on guitar and it's too easy for me to get lost in another instrument.

    I use writing as an entry point to practice in that I'll try out new chords by using them in a "song". There's usually at least one chord in any progression that's a PITA so I simply practice finding a comfortable fingering that works for transitioning to and from the chords then work at transitioning accurately and cleanly.

    I have to admit that I am remiss in what is always the most important thing with any instrument. Scales. I've tried with every instrument I've picked up to figure out a musical way to work on them in the past but the bottom line is always the same; scales are the tedious chore that needs to get done in order to progress beyond novice. Practicing scales on bass is the least tedious, though.

    Today I'm switching between extremes to keep it interesting, from a 7.5" radius Strat to a 12" radius LP.
  2. so1om

    so1om Squier-Axpert

    Feb 10, 2010
    Chicago now Sarasota
    I've been playing since 1977 or so. I learned how to tune, where the notes are, most basic chord forms. The names and the diminished +7 or all that, not so much. Scales per se? No. Pentatonic? Is that the blues one?

    Up until about 1992 or so, if I was learning a cover song, I would practice the song -bass, easy to get the notes. Guitar, get the basic chords and a few key licks and riffs. Rarely, if ever, would I spend time learning something note-for-note.

    Since then, (which also started a few years previous) I play my own music, listen to as much new and different music as possible and play with as many different people as possible.

    As time and people have become more scarce in recent years, band practice once a week, gigs on the weekend. Around the house at any given time, a bass or guitar in my hands as I watch TV (but that time is not all that much).

    About 6 years ago, my workplace had put together a band for a couple sales and holiday parties. A list was compiled of 25, 30 songs -many I had never heard or had only heard on the radio. To be able to play them was only a quick once through. I listened to the songs once or twice for key parts, notes, but that was it. If I hear a basic song, I could likely tell you what key it's in and likely most of the progression.

    I don't spend very much time playing things that already exist outside of my own. The only exception is for my daughter as she sings and plays guitar, so sometimes I'll accompany her.

    The key to practice? Just always be playing.
    yayoyay and optofonik like this.
  3. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Squier-holic

    Jan 19, 2018
    GA USA
    I usually find something I want to play. It might be a song I want to learn or trying to put together some of my own ideas.

    I try to play at lunch at work in the parking lot when I can (darn meetings!). I have my Vox Mini and I park in a shady area where the sun won't be beating down on me and jam away for about 30 minutes. At night, I'll usually play about 30 minutes to an hour, maybe longer.
    so1om and optofonik like this.

    LOSTVENTURE Squier-Nut

    As far as learning a new piece, I'm sort of with so1om, as far as learning the chords first and then working on the various riffs and fills. I only listen to the bass if I'm having trouble finding a chord.
    Since my most recent learning tools have been CDs, once I have a piece down, I'll play it over a few times until I'm happy with it. For the longest time, back in the 50's and 60's, it was with a turntable.
    I don't set any particular time table for myself, I just play as long as I'm comfortable. Sometimes that's hours, but usually just 30-40 minutes or so. Or untill my carpal tunnel gets too painful.
    All I play is guitar, but I have a variety of them, so when I go from rock to country or gospel, I select the guitar that best suit my purpose.
    so1om and optofonik like this.