NO TIME For Guitar Practice? Watch This!

NO TIME For Guitar Practice? Watch This!

Tommaso Zillio

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guitar practice tricks

Don't think, just answer. What’s better:

— practicing less frequently for longer periods of time, or - practicing more frequently for shorter periods of time?

tick tock tick tock...

... do you have your answer?

Well, it does not matter because it's a trick question! The correct answer, of course, is to practice more frequently, for longer periods of time. DUH!

If you’re looking for ways to create more time to practice, consider:

  • Shaving off one or two hours of sleep every night,
  • leaving work early when no one is looking,
  • ‘forgetting’ your children at school, or
  • blending all of your meals into a nutrient-rich paste you can gobble down with a straw while playing scales and arpeggios .

“A lack of time is an excuse made by those who are unwilling to sacrifice anything to create it” (Sun Tzu, probably. You can't prove me wrong anyway...)

But let’s imagine for a moment that you are unable to make any of these perfectly reasonable sacrifices to make more time for practice (which is of course, not the case).

What should you do then, short practice more frequently, or long practice less frequently?

In this completely hypothetical, made-up situation, it would be best to practice more frequently, for shorter periods of time. (see, it was not a trick question after all)

But this leaves us with a very important question — when you do sit down to practice, how should you structure your time?

What order should you practice things and how long should you spend on different topics?

In the video below, due to popular request, I’ll explain exactly that, as well as a little more on effective practice habits:

Once you watch the video and know how to structure your time, you might be in search of something new to learn that fits perfectly into this practice regimen, right?

If so, you should try spending just 5 minutes a day learning all the notes on your fretboard and in no time at all you'll have your entire fretboard memorized with this system.

Video Transcription

Hello internet so nice to see you! Let's see these questions about practicing. Great idea. Could you do a video on the advantages of short, frequent practice versus less frequent longer practice, the take home message that I'm giving you immediately is short, frequent practices are much better than long practices. The why takes a little bit more time to explain, but it's interesting and you want to hear it, okay?

Because intuitively speaking, if you were asking this to me, like a few years ago, I would have told, you know, get a big chunk of time in your day, get an hour, nobody's disturbing, you just practice for an hour. That's what I would have told you. It feels intuitively right now. But then I tried, I read a lot, a lot of studies. I mean, after all, it's my job to know how people learn this, I've read a lot of studies on how this was working, and found out that if you keep practicing, for a long time, after a while your attention goes down, it probably goes down much sooner than you think.

Okay, so it's much better to either have a lot of short practices, and we short them in five to 10 minutes, okay? Scattered throughout the day, if it works for you, or maybe you have one long practice, if it works for you, but then you have to break it up internally, in a lot of short five to maximum 10 minutes practices where you change what you're doing all the time. Okay, so you should never grab a scaler. Play these for one hour.

I mean, I know it sounds weird, but I know some people who do that, because they're like, No, I want to get fast on this scale, I'm gonna push and push. Even if you're pushing for speed. After a few minutes, you push as far as you can, okay, there is no more improvement to be had, there is no in that moment, you cannot get any more result that you could not get in the first few minutes.

So the best thing is to just change what you're doing. And the idea is to change as much as you can I got questions that ask me, What if I change the tempo. And I'm like, Okay, that's a profound misunderstanding, which I'm happy to correct. You should change the tempo all the time, you should play your scale. For instance, if let's say you're practicing a scale, you should play your scales slow. Okay? Once and then the next time you need and then you should go slow.

Again, by these, you don't want to stay on the same tempo for more than 20 or 30 seconds, okay. As you saw, the tempo is something that you want to change all the time, try to play faster, try to play slower, try to play faster again. And there are various strategies about that. And we can go about all them.

But if you want to know more about the strategies, I recommend you guys, check out my friend Mike Filippov., because he has the best routine. Some days, it's like magic, what they can do about the specific thing. And even noticing those things that are not stainless steel for a long time, you're not doing the same thing for a long time you change change change.

But when we talk about changing stuff every five or 10 minutes and just say five minutes, because 10 minutes are already too long. And we talk about these we talking about changing completely what you're doing. So for instance, in five minutes, you practice your scale, it could be at you're playing the scale up and down, or you're playing a sequence on this scale or you're improvising on the scale.

The next five minutes you should work for instance, on your rhythm playing and maybe Okay, play and play, work with a metronome and get a rhythmic and get it down the next five minutes. You may work on your theory and next five minutes you can work on finding your chords on the fretboard and next five minutes, something different, okay? Sometimes some exercise may require more time if you are finding all the positions of the chords on the fretboard.

They may require more but after 10 minutes of finding chords on the fret board. Let's be honest guys, you're tired, okay? I'm tired. It's you cannot go on with the same level of efficiency and, and verve. Okay, and, and energy as you will go on for the first few minutes, okay? It's just too long. Now, you can come in, tell me about tomorrow.

So I have an hour a day to practice. And so those are 12 periods of five minutes, but I don't have to think to practice. That's okay. Let's say you have three things to practice. In the first five minutes you do the first in a second five minutes to do the second. In the third five minutes you do the third and then you start the cycle again.

The important point is that if you have three things to practice, you don't Do a block of 20 minutes of the first thing, a block of 20 minutes of the second and a block of 20 minutes of the next given the choice. Let's say you have one hour. And you have three items. techniques on scale or arpeggios or hitting chord notes when you improvise, okay, most people, we just do this, like 20 minutes a night and 20 minutes a night and 20 minutes a night and three and call it a day.

Instead, what you should do is you split this hour in five minutes intervals, and we let, let's pretend those are all the same, okay, and then you do item one, and two, then three, then one, then two, then three, then one, then two, then three, then one, then two, then three. If you do these, you're going to notice two things. The first thing you're going to notice is that these doesn't feel as good as the other one, the 20 Minute feels good, because you can sit down, take your time, it's relaxing, okay?

That should naturally ring some alarm bells, you're trying to push yourself, okay, you're trying to go beyond what you can do. If it's relaxing, it could not be the right thing. But the 20 minutes feel better. And that's why most people do it. These five minute thinking feels thrash, you put on a timer, an interval timer, and then it rings every five minutes. And every time we rings to change, it feels rushed after these items, one for five minutes, it drinks and like I just started, I didn't learn anything. Don't worry, I know how you feel.

This is one of those cases where your feelings are tricking you. Just go ahead just go on item number two and and item number three. And it feels kinda rushed for the whole hour. But what you're doing, if you did this for a week, at the end of the week, you improved much more than you were doing blocks of 20 minutes, it still doesn't feel like it works, it still feels like there's something wrong, it still feels like it's not the right way to practice.

But when you measure yourself in front of users, how much speed you gain, or how much better you can hit chord notes, or all those things. There is no comparison breaking things down in chunks of five minutes. Works way, way, way better, much faster and better era faster improvement, they have a higher retention of what you learn. It's crazy, it just doesn't feel good. Okay. So it's up to you, if you want to optimize for maximum improvement with these, or for ease of practice, do the other things but then don't don't expect to go to learn things very fast.

Okay. Now, if you don't have an hour, or if you have an hour but scattered around the day, the same thing applies. Let's say you have 15 minutes in the morning, then you have maybe those 20 minutes, just after lunch and then maybe did the remaining 25 minutes after dinner. Do exactly the same in the 50 minutes in the morning, do one, two and three. In the 20 minutes in the afternoon you do 123 And one again, because there are other five meals and remaining 25 minutes to do 3123 Again, okay, no problem. These could be those could even be 12 separate five minutes practices that you can do throughout the day.

At this point, it depends on you, it depends on what you do for a living, what's your typical day is like if you have time to do all this kind of thing. I know of students of mine who brought the guitar with them in the office. Okay, whenever they didn't have a client, they put in five minutes of practice and they become good very fast.

I used to have a student that was a crane operator. And if you'd like to get a crane operator, you spend like two or three hours waiting for the people on the ground to settle these things. And then you have 15 minutes of very intensive work and you have to wait up to two hours for things to happen on the ground. And so it was the so you asked me could I bring a guitar up there? Well, it's not doesn't depend on me.

Yes, your ask your boss. If the boss says yes, though, do it. And it couldn't fit a full guitar in the cabin on the 50 meters in the air in the crane. So he bought a traveller guitar is smaller ones. And then he had all those hours to practice and then he did this thing of changing things really often. And you become very good very fast.

So the point is, depending on the job you're doing, depending on what your schedule look like this could be one single chunk could be 90 different chunks, okay, I actually prefer to have different chunks because I'm fresher. I practice with more energy if it's different shorter chunks, okay? So but definitely don't stay on the same thing for more than five minutes change radical radically.

What you do is switch your mental gears as often as you can five minutes seems to be a good interval. Now if you want things you can practice in five minutes, I have plenty. One thing I would recommend everybody to get is to learn the notes on your fretboard that's something you should practice five minutes and then let it go for the day.

Okay, just five minutes a day because it works better. This way. Your brain has more time to think about this. And they have a free ebook and explain exactly what to do to learn all the notes on your fretboard so that you can recall them instantly. Okay, like learning them and memorizing them permanently without any pain.

Check the link on the top right, you can get that it's free, no strings attached. Get it practice it enjoy it is going to make your playing much better. So here's how you practice and the benefit of short practices and this is Tommaso Zillio for, and until next time, enjoy.

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