Creating An Effective Guitar Practice Schedule: Part 3

I hope you had fun filling out your practice schedule from the last lesson. :-) In this lesson I'm going to quickly give you some insight into how I fill them out. But as I've said before, don't feel you HAVE to do it my way. Do what works best for you.

OK. Grab the practice schedule that you filled out from the last lesson. Once you've done that then keep on reading...

Setting Your Time Goal

I usually plan my practice for the week on Sunday. I like doing it on Sunday because I usually have lots of free time then. (And if I leave it until Monday, I often can't be bothered filling out a schedule!).

 Check out the image below...

This is an example of how I would fill out this section of the practice schedule. Notice how I set a goal to do 600 minutes of practice that week. It's not a particularly large amount. But it's amazing how quickly you can progress on small amounts of practice if you are very focused. :-)

Your time goal will change from week-to-week depending on your schedule. The important thing is to think about the week that lies ahead and to set a realistic but challenging time goal.

[SIDEPOINT:You also probably noticed that I achieved my goal that week. Because I reached my goal I wrote down some encouraging words. Don't be afraid to congratulate yourself...it's good for morale, and I find it helps me to stay motivated!].

 

Adding Your Practice Items

[Important: You should already have a list of 18 practice items written down. If you haven't, please go to the this lesson and do that now. Once you're done, please continue reading]...

The next thing I do is to write the specific practice items into my practice schedule. And although the example below doesn't show it, I usually fill out 10 items. (i.e. Fill out the entire sheet)...

 

Here are a few things you might notice from the image above...

  • I am using the abbreviations that are on the practice schedule sheet. (T=Technique and M=Musicianship).
  • I have written a star next to the M. I did this because Musicianship was the primary area of focus that week. So the star is my way of reminding myself that I should practice that item every single day.
  • In the "Time" column I have written down how many minutes I will practice each item for during each practice session. This is a rough guideline, as I often practice more or less than what I write down. (It all depends how I'm feeling that particular day).

Although there's no right or wrong in how you fill out your 10 items, here are a few guidelines that I use in my own practice organization...

  • I like to put all 3 practice items that I chose for my primary area of focus on the sheet first. For example: Let's say that your primary area of focus this week is Technique, then you would write down all 3 practice items that you selected for technique.
  • Once I have written in the practice items for my primary area of focus, I will then write in 5 practice items from the other areas of focus. (These will be the highest priority practice items from the remaining five areas of focus).
  • For the last two lines on my schedule I choose whatever remaining practice items I think I will enjoy practicing most that week.

 

Keeping Score

As the week progresses I write down how much practice I do for each practice item. Here's an example that relates to the two practice items shown in the image above...

In my own practice I have two types of practice items...

  1. Daily Practice Items: These are usually the practice items that I write down for my primary area of focus. They are also items that need to be practiced daily to progress. (Ear Training is a good example, because it works best if you do a little bit every day).
  2. Non-Daily Practice Items: I usually practice these a 2-4 times a week. (In the above example, I have practiced Legato Workout 1 three times).

If you're not sure of what needs to be practiced daily, then ask your guitar tutor.

In my own practice, I usually have a few practice items each week that I do daily. The rest of the items I practice every second or third day). This works well for me as it allows me to get a good balanced between repetition and variety.

Another way I like to keep score is by adding up my daily practice amounts in the following table...

 

Final Words

I hope you enjoyed the last few lessons. I really encourage you to try this approach to practice organization. I think you'll find it very versatile because you can easily adapt it to your own personality type.


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