It’s a funny thing but I can usually tell within a few weeks if someone is going to really progress with their playing. It hinges on what’s happening between lessons. Now to be fair to a lot of folks, the problem is not whether they want to play a guitar (rather than just own one) it’s how practice fits into everything else that’s going on around them. The ones that really want to progress schedule some practice time on most days. I’m not saying practice needs to be your main priority every day, but you do need to make a regular “appointment” with yourself and try to stick to that.
Some people have a tendency to have one big practice session, often on the day before their lesson is due. However, in my experience both as a teacher and student of the guitar, the principle of “little and often” works best.
So to practice well, look at it in the context of your life -what other commitments do you have? Then make a realistic assessment of what time you can devote to your playing (preferably each day and at a time you feel alert)-and above all make sure you don’t try to crush your practice all into one session. Five minutes alert practice everyday will probably yield better results than a long evening’s slog, after a hard day’s work once a week.
Make sure you concentrate on what you are doing when you practice. If your mind wanders it can cause problems because you continue to learn. Unfortunately, you may learn incorrectly because the “muscle memory” develops unhelpful playing habits which may need to be rectified at a later date. The result is slower progress and frustration.
So to conclude:
- Be realistic about the time you can give to practice.
- Schedule a little time on a frequent basis.
- When you practice be alert and aware of what you are doing.