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Practicing Routine

by JazzMaverick

10 Sep 2008
Views: 20800

Practicing Routine

Note: This was mainly one of my essays explaining my practicing routine, and I think it’s important for you guys to know.

As musicians, practicing is essential. If you are truly dedicated to music, you require talent, direction, education, and ambition. Ambition is the most important, as you need the will, desire and stamina to practice. If any musician does not have this, talent means nothing.

The main idea for us musicians is to create a practicing routine AND KEEP TO IT!! What I hope you will all do is create some sort of timetable, saying which hours you plan to start practicing, hopefully for an hour, THEN take a break for at most; half an hour. Then go back to it.

What you should be doing during this practicing routine:

First: Scales and Warm-ups

Second: Transcribing songs ---> I feel this is extremely important as you need to transcribe songs to know and understand how to play the guitar. Transcribing will help you to know chords, progressions, licks, technique, and KNOWLEDGE.

I think the important thing to do, is gradually learn how to read notation. TAB sucks in my opinion, and most of the stuff you find online is almost always wrong. It would help all of you if you plan to take this as a future, to learn notation (read music). It's not necessary in some genres, but it'll help you so much.

What you should be doing to actually understand the guitar is while you’re transcribing songs, learning new scales, etc. you should be asking yourself things like: “Why does this work?”, “How can I use this for my improvisation?”. In time this will help you to be able to “see” where you’re improvising (soloing) bars before.

When I say “see” I mean mentally, most will already understand this, but if you don’t, it’s how you can “see” a power chord, or the pentatonic scale. It’s how you can mentally see your way around.


I think self discovery is really important and I feel you should, if you’re truly dedicated to music, start learning on your own. Of course I am not saying that you have to leave a teacher, because they’re always helpful and good to have. But what I am saying is to split away from other opinions, and find your own. Learn music your way. If you have questions which you can’t answer, go right ahead and ask your teacher, that’s what they’re there for. But try to answer them yourself.

Third: Accuracy

Once you feel you're finished with transcribing songs for the day, move onto speed. A Metronome is helpful here. What you should be doing is playing at a comfortable tempo (solos, scales, licks, chords, whatever) then when you make no mistakes, increase your tempo, play that until you have no mistakes, and increase it again. The point in this is to improve your accuracy, this could be during improvising or just general playing, doesn’t matter which, it’s important you play accurately at any point in a song.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge" - Albert Einstein.


Also, check out my music listed on Sound Cloud (link below) if you like it follow me on facebook! :)

JazzMaverick on Sound Cloud
JazzMaverick Music




When you say transcribing, do you mean taking a song in sheet music and tabbing it, or listening to a song and tabbing it out, or, something else?


Transcribing can mean a few things;

- Another instrument is played, and you learn to play that melody on your instrument. So learning a song/ melody/ lick on an instrument which is different from the original instrument in the song.

- Learning from notation (or tab, I guess) onto your instrument.

Tabbing a song out doesn't mean transcribing. It's just an easier way to remember what you learnt. But you need to be able to actually play it in order to call it transcribing.


Very well said. Your routine is exactly how I am pursuing the guitar. I also add in some basic music reading/fret note-position familiarization once in a while in the knowledge department. keep tips coming!!!


i would like to inform all of you, that if you have any intention of being a professional musician, or even a worthy musician, learn to sight read sheet music... now. forget tablature. use your ears to replace it, and actually read music for everything else.


It's important to learn notation when trying to transcribe songs.

Like "The Real Book" for example, all of the songs are in notation, yet tell you how to play each of the listed songs by the greats (In Jazz). It'll be really important if you're into session work, too.


I really wished I studied that way by learning the notes it was really hard for me to get the notes so I just went by ear and kinda learned backwards...it would have saved me so much grief...so my hat s off to the sheet readers!!!


cant transcribing also mean moving it to a different key? or is that something else?


Yep, it can mean that, but that's down to the musician if he or she wants to change the key. I recommend learning it in the original key first, and then moving it around after. This can also help you to see more around the fret board.


I wish I could practice everyday like that. I can't because I'm always at school doing something. so during school I usually practice theory. i use to play for about 5 hours a day which is ok.. but now it's only like an hour a day, three hours if i'm lucky.


You guys practice a hell of a lot compared to me

I at the moment am using the Chris Elmore site http://www.guitartips.com.au/ as well as the lessons I find here to make up my practice routine.

He says that even if you can only practice 15 min a day to do 3 things Arpeggios, Scales and Chords.

Doing all 3, sweeping in the case of my very basic Arpeggios and fast picking in the case of the one scale i know helped a lot. He says to learn a new chord every day and then move them around the fret board.

I’ve all but mastered the one scale and my accuracy has improved noticeably. Also the 3 different type’s o exercises do different things for hand strength, speed and accuracy. It is worthwhile looking into.


i should get a practice routine. currently i just mess around tryin to find riffs and playin songs


yea same here exept all i do is sweep pick and fiddle around on the guitar


I recommend writing down a practicing timetable, or a brainstorm for the times you do practice if it's an hour or more, make sure you practice everything that's on the brainstorm. It'll help you in the long run and you'll feel more confident in each area of music.

NOTE: It is so important to work on more than one aspect of music! PLEASE look into more than just soloing - understand what makes the solo! Or chords - understand how that relates to the scale!

If you only focus on one thing through the whole practicing routine every time you practice, you'll fall behind and find it very difficult to comprehend the rest of music later on.


To add to this I would suggest that you note there is a difference between practice and playing. Practicing is the not so fun part, playing is what you live for.

It's no difference than an athlete such as a basket ball player who runs up and down the court and works works on guarding jump shots. Practice is not why he signed up. it playing the game. But understanding that to play the game will you must practice and important is the most important thing he can now. Same goes for us guitar plyers.

As your practice also take the time to play for the love of it. All practice and no play make for one un-happy picker.


good points tele


I kind of felt it was obvious about the difference and the point in aiming for that great goal. But then again, it depends on how you see it. Sometimes practicing can truly be exhausting for the mind. Other times it can be so much fun.

Jamming can be a sort of practice, too. Like using Band in a Box, that's a good way to practice while Jamming. You can practice with friends, too. They can give you pointers, and vise versa. Naturally there will be more exhausting times (If you're truly serious about your goals) but it's exciting to think what it's worth in the long run!

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