A goal all guitar students have is making the most of our guitar lessons. The critical “next action” for this goal is simple: practice efficiently. As busy as we all are with our everyday lives, making the most of our guitar practice time is crucial if we’re going to improve or even stay with it at all. To that end, here are some general guidelines I keep in mind as I’m practicing.
1. Tempo- Slow down!
When learning new material, the most common mistake guitarists make is playing the music at an unmanageable tempo. Instead, opt for a deliberately slow tempo that allows you to make as few errors as possible, no mistakes being the goal. As you become more familiar with the music you will naturally want to increase the tempo gradually.
2. Amount of material- Do less!
Another error in guitar practice is trying to absorb too much material at one time resulting in very little progress. How much is too much? While the amount will vary with each individual, this question is best answered by how much of the music you can play correctly, with solid rhythm, at your next practice session, slowly (see paragraph above). Reduce your practice material until what you can play right now matches what you practiced yesterday.
3. Slow down and do less.
Steps 1 and 2 will be even more effective when done together. Once this is a habit, you will be amazed how quickly your playing will improve. The skills you develop pave the way for learning even more difficult music with more ease and, yes, speed.