• Music For Everyone
  • Call Us: 303.543.3777
  • Open Hours: Mon – Thurs. – 2:00 pm to 9:00 pm / Sunday – 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Taking time to practice

In today’s lesson, guitarist William Stull discusses the importance of taking time to practice, not just play.

Guitar Lessonswith William Stull, The Lesson Studio, Boulder

 Playing guitar is a lot of fun. It feels good to sit down and play something, whether it’s playing a lick or phrase we made or jamming out to Smoke on the Water. Playing guitar will no doubt make you a better guitarist if you play every day. But, taking the time to practiceguitar will help speed things along. Let’s take a look at what practice means. “To perform or work at repeatedly so as to become proficient” – Merriam-Webster. That is to say, we must work on the techniques and skills that make up the foundation of guitar playing to become fundamentally better.

Why Practice

A big wake-up call for myself as a guitarist was when I took a whole month working purely on my right-hand tone production. I tried my best to stay away from playing any songs I already knew, from even touching the fretboard at my guitar teacher’s instruction. I would spend hours a day focusing on improving my right hand, using a timer to split my practice sessions into twenty-minute segments. That included how my finger was moving, following through with the motion, listening to make sure the tone was smooth and round, finger independence, and making sure I was directly lined up with the metronome. I had improved more as a classical guitarist in that month than the year I had spent beforehand.

While this may be an extreme example of isolating a technique, it helped solidify the concept in my practice schedule. Creating fifteen-minute sections in my practice routine towards certain techniques really helped propel my progress. For example, I had a section for right hand arpeggiation patterns, one for left hand independence and control. I also had sections for certain moments in a piece where I needed to improve.

How can readers apply this to themselves? If you happen to be a guitar student, make sure to take the exercises your guitar instructorprovides seriously. Create a block of time where you can focus purely on a given technique. If your guitar teacher points out that you are not quite transitioning between the A and B section in time, take time to work on the transition point to a metronome. Of course, it needs to be said, one cannot forget to take time to play and have fun as well.