We’re two weeks into 2016. Right around the time that your willpower begins to wear out on those New Year’s Resolutions. The gyms will slowly be emptying out over the next few weeks. The fast food restaurants will be slowly filling back up.
What about you? Did you make any resolutions for guitar? To record more? Practice more?
I didn’t make a resolution, per se, but I did try to start practicing more. And, sure enough, this week got crazy and blew me out of the water. Last week I practiced every day. This week was…2 days. Geez.
Why the bad track record? Part of it has been a result of a crazy workweek. But it’s also a lack of structure. Structuring your practice helps for lots of reasons.
- It takes away the head game of “what should I practice today?”, which
- makes you more productive
- and more likely to get started.
- It’s also is the right way to build complex skills – step-by-steady-step, with incremental progress.
So I’m going to go back and try a book I was using last year to structure part of my practice time:
Admittedly, the title is very 80’s (do people even do aerobics anymore?). And long. But it’s descriptive, right?
The book is similarly straightfoward. It provides daily exercises, with audio track accompaniments, to build your vocabulary of licks, keys, styles, and tempos. From the book description:
From the former editor of Guitar One magazine, here is a daily dose of vitamins to keep your chops fine tuned for a full 52 weeks. The guitar exercises cover several musical styles including rock, blues, jazz, metal, country, and funk. Techniques taught include alternate picking, arpeggios, sweep picking, string skipping, legato, string bending, and rhythm guitar. These exercises will increase your speed and improve your dexterity and pick- and fret-hand accuracy the more you practice them. The accompanying CD includes all 365 workout licks plus play-along grooves in every style at eight different metronome settings.
I enjoyed using this last year, so I’m going to give it a try to structure my practice a bit more next week.