Another practice schedule thread?

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by angelophile, Jun 10, 2012.

  1. angelophile

    angelophile SS.org Regular

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    Didn't see any current threads on practice routines/materials.

    Maybe a boring topic but important.

    I manage 20 hrs per week these days, want to get some more breadth/variety.

    most of my practice is alternate picking work.

    (I max at 16ths 170bpm, most stuff I can play at 16ths 155bpm)

    Maybe we could get a contest going of who can practice the most hours in a week ??!!

    :shred:
     
  2. phrygian12

    phrygian12 SS.org Regular

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  3. Winspear

    Winspear EtherealEntity Vendor

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    I used to manage 8-12 hrs every day but now it's about 4 on average I expect :(

    I have little imagination. Tending to just run chromatic exercises while reading all the time. I used to learn a lot of songs nice and slow but my guitar is an an open tuning for writing so I can't do that anymore until my custom arrives haha.

    I have a huge list of techniques, some normal some very unique, that I'd like to master. But putting them into a workable schedule that I can stick to and creating exercises just hasn't happened yet. I need an entire day to myself to be able to focus on practice like that. When I'm just getting a couple of hours here and there I can't bring myself to do much more than write some riffs or run chromatics haha
     
  4. Maniacal

    Maniacal SS.org Regular

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    What's the prize for doing the most hours?
     
  5. celticelk

    celticelk Enflamed with prayer

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    Repetitive motion injury.
     
  6. Guitarchitect

    Guitarchitect SS.org Regular

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    One thing to consider, is that it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that more time always = getting better.

    Here's a practice story.

    When I was at Berklee there was a sax guy who would talk about how he would practice 8-12 hours a day. Some people at the front desk hipped me to his schedule.

    8am - he'd sign out a practice room and lock his sax in it. Then he'd go across the street to Dunkin' and get breakfast.

    8:30 - breakfast digested -warm ups and technical drills.

    10am - renew the room (to use it as a locker). Go to 2 hour class.

    noon - renew the room. Get lunch with friends.

    1pm - Shed new tunes, licks, etc

    1:45 renew room for 2 hour block

    2pm go to class

    4pm renew room - shed licks, tunes

    5/6pm renew room - get dinner

    8pm - play in ensembles until 10 or 12. Go check out a show.

    I'm sure he was absolutely convinced that he was putting 12 hours in - but he wasn't - he was putting 4-5 in. Still not shabby - but not 12 hours.

    There are multiple questions to ask when thinking about getting things done. For example, How long can you focus on something? How long can you give something your complete and total focus without interruption in a single sitting? It's not 12 hours. or even 8 hours. Or (generally) even 4. It's probably 1-2.

    Which isn't bad. Most people can focus intently on something for about a 1/2 hour.

    It isn't a question of how much time you put in (unless you want to give yourself focal dystonia like Terry Syrek got) - it's about how much focused, quality time you can put in on something.

    (This is why you will get SO MUCH MORE out of six focused 1 hour sessions than one unfocused 6 hour session).

    Another question to ask is, what are you going to work on for that time?

    Focusing that hard on scales may get you technical facility (only if you're practicing properly), but it won't necessarily make you a better musician.

    Here's three suggestions:

    1. An article worth reading on this topic: Annie Murphy Paul: The Myth of 'Practice Makes Perfect' | TIME Ideas | TIME.com

    2. This is the practice book, I wish I had written.

    Amazon.com: The Musician's Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness (9780195343137): Gerald Klickstein: Books

    3. I have a number of free practice related links that might help starting with this one.


    Definitions and Documents Or Practicing Part IV « Guitarchitecture.org

    (These start with basic but important ideas and increase in depth. For technical considerations - you may want to start with part 1 or 2). There are links to all of the practice related posts at the bottom of the page.

    I hope that helps!
     
    Solodini likes this.
  7. groovemasta

    groovemasta SS.org Regular

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    ^ Do you have this guys name? I'd like to check him out if possible.
     
  8. Trespass

    Trespass AEADGBEA

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    Sure, you're technically profound, but if I threw you in any real life musical situation (reading lead sheets, reading score, improvising off of a groove, learning albums worth of material by ear to join a touring band etc.) could you do any of that?

    Better yet, could you do it without embarrassing yourself?


    Seriously. I know tons of metal guys whose time feel is incredibly weak, whether it's blues/jazz/R&B/funk whatever.

    The worst part is, they delude themselves into thinking that they can do it, and that they know all these genres. You don't. I don't play Nickelback songs and claim to know metal.
     
  9. Chromis

    Chromis SS.org Regular

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    When I first started playing I was averaging eight hours a day, more like 12 on weekends. So I guess around 50-60 unstructured hours per week for about five years; I've since scaled it back to around fifteen hours a week split into various sessions as follows:

    • Two improvisational jams per week of 1-2 hours, with a focus on musicality and coming up with original themes/licks;
    • Two speedwork jams per week of 2-3 hours, predominantly alternate picking as this technique requires the most effort in my opinion. I usually start 16ths at around 170bpm, building up by 5bpm at a time to around 220bpm or as high as I can get on that day;
    • One really long weekend jam, which involves a bit of composition, playing through my songs, and learning new techniques or ideas.

    If I'm composing, recording, or producing, some of these sessions might be sacrificed to allow time for this.

    I really think that quality of sessions over quantity of sessions is important, especially if you have a busy lifestyle! To be honest though, I'd love to go back to the carefree days of 50-60 hours per week *happy memories*

    Whatever your practice schedule, try to push the envelope of your ability once a week, and try to play something completely new once a week, as in my experience 'consistency plus playing at the edge of your abilities' is where the most ground is to be gained.

    Hope that is useful. Very interested to hear if other people structure their guitar practice sessions :)

    C.
     
  10. Maniacal

    Maniacal SS.org Regular

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    Day 1

    Alternate picking endurance and speed and metal riffs - 2.5 hours
    The first hour or so is spent alternate picking for long periods of time. I will usually get to 200bpm 16ths relaxed and try to sustain this for 5 or 10 minutes.
    For the speed part I do burst exercises and metal riffs. I will try to pick faster every day, last time I did 187bpm 16th note triplets for 4 beats. Today I will try to top that by 1 or 2 bpm.
    I do lots of riffs with string skipping and odd groupings to get used to playing on an 8 again.
    The metal songs I play at the moment are - Babylons Pride by decapitated, Observant by psycroptic, reduced to ashes by deeds of flesh and bleed by meshuggah

    Sweep Picking & tapping - 1 Hour
    I usually pick keys at random then play the triad, 7th and 9th arpeggios with both sweeping and tapping. Then I will do the same with 7th inversions up the neck. This helps me learn new arpeggio shapes at the same time as working on technique.

    Scales - 30 minutes
    I will descend all the major, melodic and harmonic modes using 3 and 4 note per string with various sequences. For this I use legato and picking. I am focusing on descending at the moment as I am still in the habit of viewing scales and arpeggios going up.

    Improv - 3 15 minute backing tracks
    For this improv I just try to tie everything together on the neck. Lets say I am playing over a D Dorian backing track, I will work through all the pentatonics, modes and arpeggios over the entire neck and try not to get stuck. Then I will play the track again and try to switch between techniques like tapping, sweeping, alternate picking etc. The third time I will focus more on playing musically and rhythmically, so I will make a line and then phrase it with different subdivisions and nuances.

    Day 2 is jazz, funk, covers and improv. I will go into detail if requested.

    Of course I will get slated as a metal shredder or whatever but that just isn't true. But please, feel free to insult my practice.
     
  11. Winspear

    Winspear EtherealEntity Vendor

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    I'm trying to put together a routine like that now.
    I'm currently writing a few pages of exercises hybrid picking various intervals in different positions and octaves. Planning to write exercises to cover everything on both my tunings (standard ERG and open tuning). I don't have a normal tuned guitar at the moment, so all I can do aside from writing songs in my open tuning is play exercises rather than learn songs
     
  12. Maniacal

    Maniacal SS.org Regular

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    Give me a PM if you want any help
     
  13. MartinMTL

    MartinMTL SS.org Regular

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    I have honestly never understood how people get 50-60 hours per week. If I can get 2 hours of actual metronome-based technique exercises in my day, I am doing very well. That type of practice is just so bland for me. I wish that it wasn't, but I don't want to force myself at the same time. So because of this, my technical abilities on the guitar do kind of suck (relatively). I simply get much more enjoyment out of learning songs/writing my own.
     
  14. Winspear

    Winspear EtherealEntity Vendor

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    Try making exercises from songs that you can't play. For example I learnt the solo for On Impulse when it was way beyond my ability. Took months starting at about 30% speed but it's more fun than chromatic exercises and you have something to play at the end :)
    Done the same with lots of riffs etc.
     
  15. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd Dread-I Master Contributor

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    When I practice, I start off by playing stuff that I absolutely KNOW I can play--basically all my go-to licks/runs--for the first 10-15 min. This usually gets me good and warmed up.

    After I'm warmed up I sometimes try to just push my speed on the licks/runs I was just playing to see if I can get any more speed/accuracy out of these blunt tools I call hands.

    When that gets old I do one of four things:

    1. I start looking for patterns between the patterns I see readily just looking down at the board and when I find something that I think sounds cool I try to construct a run out of it by pushing it through the different modes (usually in 5ths). I usually stay fixated on this for a good half hour easily. All the while I try different things like:

    a. Playing ONLY that lick all the way through the run.
    b. Splicing in other licks partway through the run to keep it from sounding boring.
    c. Playing ONLY that lick all the way through, but changing the accents as I go along.​

    2. Look for new ways to phrase the licks I already know and love.

    3. Search Youtube for backing tracks to find context for licks that I really like to use.

    4. Grab another guitar in a different tuning and see what I can figure out about it and how it relates to what I would play on any of my other guitars. I do this because I sometimes end up playing with another guitarist that uses another tuning and I find retuning cumbersome, so I try to remember what a lick sounds like with respect to the backing chord instead. I figure as long as we can agree on what a D, E, F, etc is then it doesn't *really* matter if we're tuned differently. :shrug:
     
  16. angelophile

    angelophile SS.org Regular

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    I'm in awe of people who do 12 hrs a day !

    I once managed 9 hours.

    when I was at the guitar institute in london they recommended using a digital timer for practice sessions.

    I clock up my hours actually spent playing, not just time in the practice room.

    Unfortunately I'm becoming nocturnal ! only starting work at 6pm

    I'm enjoying working through a jazz real book, and sight reading Kreutzer's 42 violin studies.

    I get frustrated trying to get all the alternate picked sequence ideas up to speed.

    My target is to reach 200 bpm 16ths by the end of the year, doesn't seem likely though. I can trem pick about 220bpm.

    I play my exercises both starting with a down pick and with an up pick.
    If I stuck to one approach I would be much quicker.

    for an idea of where I'm at, please check "jazzimprovs" @
    http://soundcloud.com/danieljpeters

    the technical stuff is near the end of the track
     
  17. novacekn

    novacekn SS.org Regular

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    When I was younger I'd practice everyday for 8+ hours with a metronome every single day. Now I don't have a set practice schedule, just jam, improv over some backing tracks, play my favorite licks to keep them sharp, and try to learn songs that are technically over my head, like anything by Jeff Loomis or John Petrucci solos. I'd really like to get a set schedule, don't really know where to start though.
     
  18. MartinMTL

    MartinMTL SS.org Regular

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    Yeah, thanks for the advice. My other problem is that I get ADD when I practice songs and i always want to try a new one rather than perfect one that I am learning. Really though, I will have to start doing this. Maybe in a few years I will finally be able to get the solo for Cylindrical Sea down :lol:

    And OP: That improv sounded very good. I really like some of the ideas you had in there.
     
  19. Chromis

    Chromis SS.org Regular

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    I reckon that depends on what areas you wish to improve on. Choose the technique or style you've always wanted to master, and start hacking away :)
     
  20. brutalwizard

    brutalwizard Pretty Your Petunia

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    I was once averaging about 3 hours a day of GOOD consistent routine's

    I play about 2 hours a day with maybe thirty minutes of practicing a lick off this video



    i am on example 4 and 5 (9:40) doing it at about 260BPM 8th notes
     

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