How to set up a practice routine ?

Hey everyone,

ever since I decided to learn music without a teacher I had to come up with various practice routines to support my development as a musician. In the beginning I wasn’t sure what to do since I lacked the knowledge of what to focus on.

After a few months I learnt some basics out of a beginner’s book on music theory and a guitar method that I bought along with my first, very cheap guitar.

The main four aspects of practice that I think everyone should be focusing and that proved the most effective for me (considering the fact that I am quite happy what I’ve achieved so far):

  • Repertoire
  • Theory
  • Technique
  • Improvisation

Those four key components should be tried to be implemented into your daily schedule. This is, of course, dependent on the time you can afford and the direction you want to go as well as the level you are currently at.

At the moment, I would consider myself to be at an “Intermediate level”, meaning that I’ve got a pretty solid foundation of music theory, I am able to navigate myself through the mysteries of the guitar as well as write, arrange and play songs of various difficulties. When I first started out I focused on the very basics, those that I am going to sum up somewhere around 2017. But for now, I’ll focus on how I practice at the moment and how my schedule looks like.

Since I’m learning three instruments, excluding singing, at the same time I’ve had to come up with an equal amount of time that I can spend per instrument on a regular base. I’ve chosen to give myself about 120 minutes, i.e. 2h, of practice per instrument. As for now, I am going to share with you my practice schedule for the Guitar. Later on, I might add the other instruments as well, depending on your requests and interests in this topic.

Considering that I’ve got 120 minutes on the guitar, I divide my time into four blocks, 30 minutes each. Within those four blocks I try to cover as many important concepts as possible, giving each basic element 5 minutes of intense focus (calculating a 1 minute break within it) while the more troublesome points, those I am working on harder, receive 10 minutes.

Let me show you how this may look like.

Practice Routine A

Practice Routine B

Practice Routine C

Practice Routine D

 

So this is technically what my practice schedule looks like right now. Since I entertain about one or two weeks per piece that I study I’m usually able to learn and play, say, some new chords relatively quickly. This does mean that once I’ve learnt them, I focus on improving my changes as well as the sound of it. Once this is achieved and the speed is acquired I replace this part of the plan with other important points that I need to still improve for this cycle.

I always set myself a list of four pieces per month so that I would, in theory, have something for each week but quite often, depending on how intensively I study a piece, such as Beethoven’s “Für Elise” or Bach’s “Bourrée in Em” I need more time to really learn and understand the piece better.

[to be continued…]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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