Great Guitar Lessons | Practical Practice Habits

This content was created for Curtis Music Academy

Hello and welcome back to another episode of the Curtis Music Academy Podcast. I hope you’re all doing well on this warm and sunny day. Today I wanted to talk about some practical studying habits. The primary purpose of this podcast is to hopefully help some of our students establish a better and more fruitful practicing routine, but many of the ideas in this podcast would be helpful for improving at anything, whether it’s the great guitar lessons or a sport or a school subject. Our goal at Curtis Music Academy is for our students to see good, consistent progress while also ensuring that playing their instrument is still something they enjoy and look forward to.

I think one thing that is important to note is that not all students are most productive when studying with the same methods, and that is completely fine. Some students do best with studying for one long block of time without taking any breaks, so they don’t have a chance to get distracted, and some students are more productive if they take frequent breaks in their studying to give themselves a chance to refresh and reset.

There is no one right way to study, but there are some tips and habits that are helpful for a large number of people, so feel free to try out the ideas that I am about to present and keep the ones that you feel are best applied to your practice life. One thing that sounds small but can actually have a big impact on practice time, is setting aside specific time to practice your great guitar lessons. Everyone is so busy these days that if practicing your instrument is just another box on a list to be checked off whenever you find time to do it, it is much easier for it to accidentally slip your mind or for you to justify yourself taking many days off of practicing because you have other things to do.

However, if you set aside a specific chunk of time every day or every other day, and don’t allow other tasks to bleed over into that time, you will amaze yourself with how much you progress and how quickly you improve. And, if you keep your practice time the same every day, it will become an unconscious habit, and you will find yourself much less likely to forget to do it, and better yet, it will be easier to find the motivation to practice, because you are so used to the habit of doing so.

One idea to make practicing more fun is a reward for practicing for great guitar lessons for a certain amount of time. If you practice in larger blocks, give yourself a reward when you finish your allotted time block. If you prefer to practice in shorter chunks with more frequent breaks, you can elect to give yourself a small reward at each break or give yourself a larger reward at the end of your total practice time (or go ahead and do both!). Common rewards can include a piece of candy, a sticker on a sticker chart for younger students, or giving yourself a break on your social media or other favorite app or website.

This method helps especially if you are learning material or concepts you don’t find particularly enjoyable or if you have been lacking in motivation, the knowledge of the coming reward can help give you the extra kick you need to accomplish your practicing. Another important aspect of enjoying your great guitar lessons time and making it as productive as possible is to ensure you’re practicing in a good location. If you are in a comfortable, pretty room that you like being in and doesn’t make you feel cramped, you will enjoy studying more. But you should also make sure it isn’t too comfortable of a location!

For example, your mind associates your bed with sleeping, so studying anything while sitting or laying in your bed is less productive because your brain is slowing down for sleep, and you may become tired faster than usual. Additionally, strive to choose a location that has as few distractions as possible. If you’re constantly stopping your practicing due to other people, it will seem to take far longer than it actually does to get in a set amount of actual good, solid practice.

One way to keep your practicing from becoming arduous and boring, which will motivate you to find a way to avoid it, is to make sure you keep switching up what you practice. This also has been shown in some studies to improve your ability to learn the material you are studying faster. Don’t jump from one great guitar lessons to another after just one playthrough, but also do not spend an hour on the same two or three measures. Spend a good amount of time in an area, really familiarizing yourself with it and getting good muscle memory and familiarity, and then move on to another area to practice. When you have covered other areas for similar lengths of time, and then return to each one.

This helps you stay fresh because you aren’t spending forever on one area, but you are still getting in good practice time and learning productively. The right length of time for repeating an area varies on the age and experience of the great guitar lessons, and how complicated the material being learned is. Whether or not these ideas make practicing your instrument more productive for you, it’s important to do whatever helps you as an individual practice the best. And the only real way to find that is to experiment for yourself with different strategies, ideas, and types of practicing. It’s also important to make sure you keep practicing enjoyable for yourself, otherwise you risk suffering burnout and seeing your desire to pursue learning your instrument plummet.

And of course, your instructor will probably have some personalized recommendations for you based on your musical experience and how well they know you and your playing to help you advance your great guitar lessons even faster. Feel free to ask them during any of your lessons what they think would be most beneficial to you. Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of the Curtis Music Academy podcast!