I stumbled across an interesting post at Metalguitarist.org about practice (originally from jamplay.com). The really short summary is that it’s about how to achieve quality when you don’t have the time to get it through quantity. A longer summary:
- Balance between different parts of the practice. This goes well with my own rule of thumb where I try to mix one third technique, on third theory and one third songs.
- Continuity. One hour a day is better than three hours every other day.
- A plan – a long-term plan for where you want to go with your practice and your playing. The best follow-up is keeping a practice journal.
- Goals – set measurable goals for what you want to achieve, such as playing a lick at a certain speed. A journal is a good tool for this as well.
- Practice correctly – practicing correctly is enforcing muscle memory by performing correct movements, by never playing to fast, using a metronome and always going back to correct errors.
To some this view on practice is a total buzzkill and something that can take out all the joy of playing. But to others this is a good way to invest your time wisely. Having started to play a bit later than most you want to take the shortest path and keep track of your progress, so I’m in the second category.
I’m driven by goals and when I feel really bad about say playing a solo clean it’s a comfort looking back a year or so to when I thought I’d never be able to play it at all.