Many guitarists don’t have enough time to practice for long periods of time. But if you want to progress fast, you need the guitar in your hands as regularly as possible.
It’s better to practice for 10-20 minutes every day, than 4 hours on just one day of the week. Getting into a rhythm of regularly picking up your guitar for a quick practice session is a great habit to get into.
So if you don’t have enough time for a full practice session, and you have 10-15 minutes to spare, here’s some ideas for what you should practice:
Practice a chord change.
Perhaps switching from an F barre chord to a D open is causing you difficulty? If you spend just ten minutes going over and over the change, you will increase your ability to do it at the level you require.
The key is to focus, and hone in on one skill that you can improve in a short period of time.
Work on a song you want to memorize.
This will give you a chance to actually play some music! You need to have fun in your practice to keep you fresh and focused.
Listen to a song on a CD and jam along. This is a great way to improve your playing, and it’s particularly suitable for short practice sessions.
An important part of learning guitar is to train your ear, and jamming along to a CD is the perfect way to do it.
Work on a lick you want to learn. You’d be surprised how many times you can work through a lick in just a few short minutes. You can also combine this practice technique with practicing chord changes.
This will improve your skills in a short period of time.
Work on picking skills – do drills up and down the neck. You can use your metronome to work on speed picking skills, or you can slow everything right down and work on keeping your body in a relaxed so that you develop an ease to your playing.
Work up and down a scale. In ten minutes you can play through a scale around 50-100 times. This will improve your stamina and also help you build speed.
Remember to use a metronome when you’re trying to build speed though. Because you want a smooth rhythmic sound to your speed picking, not a struggling, hurried sound.
So build up gradually.
Be Creative! Play some chords in combinations that sound good to you, or play some single note melodies. Again, this improves your ear and you could maybe work out some parts to a song of your own.
Okay, that’s all the ideas I’m going to give you for now. Use your imagination to come up with more things you could try, and mix it up so it doesn’t get boring.
Also, keep your guitar ready and set-up. Sure, it’s protected all hidden away in your case, but if it’s ready for you to have a short practice session, then you’re more likely to pick it up and practice, even if it is just for a short time.
So keep that guitar out and ready to practice!
You may not think these short practice sessions help much, but doing this builds up your skills fast and you’ll surprise yourself by how much you improve just be having the guitar in your hands regularly.
However, you don’t want to solely rely on these quick practice sessions. Like most things, you need to strike a balance. A good way of finding that balance is to set a routine.
When you have a routine, you will find it gets easier to find the time for practice. Once you’re in a habit of practicing regularly, you’ll find it harder to break out of, and that’s a good habit to have!