But let’s face it. You’ve already got so much going on that it’s virtually impossible to get enough time to play as much guitar as you want.
This means for you become the best guitar player you can, you must make really good use of your limited practice time.
One of the keys to getting the most out of your practice sessions is to make sure you don’t waste any of valuable practice time.
Get Ready to Play Guitar
Before you begin your practice session, you must make sure that you are prepared to practice. Anything that wastes practice time will diminish your results on the guitar.
So the first thing that you should do before you actually start to practice is make sure you have all of your practice materials at hand.
There’s nothing worse than starting to play guitar, and then discovering that you forgot to get some practice materials. You now have to stop and go on a search and rescue mission for some sheet music, or something else that you wanted to work on.
Whether you’ve got 30-minutes for practice, or longer, little time wasters can add up fast.
On top of that, if it takes a while to locate what you are looking for, you may return to the guitar cold and have to do a bit of a warm-up before you can really get back into your practice session.
The Top 10 Things Every Guitar Player Should Have Ready for a Practice Session
1. Guitar, amp, patch cords, effects pedals, power cables, adapters, CD/mp3 player. To start your practice session, you will want to have your guitar out of the case ready to play. Also, if you need to bring out an amp and effects pedals, you will need to do so. If this is the case you will also need the appropriate power cables and/or adapters. If you will be playing along with some songs, then you will need your CD/mp3 player handy.
2. Guitar picks. I always recommend having a couple of extra picks with you for your practice session. It is quite common to put your pick down to grab something and then have a hard time finding it again. Also, you may drop your pick and who knows where it will land. Always have spare picks around.
3. Electronic tuner, or tuning fork. The very first thing you need to do before you start to play guitar is tune your guitar. So make sure you have your electronic tuner, pitch pipe, or tuning fork handy.
4. Music stand. When you work on chords, scales, or songs from a book, you’ll find it best to prop it up on a music stand. A music stand will allow you to look at music or a book that you are using for your practice session. What’s most important is that music stands are adjustable so you can adjust it to the right height for you. This will help reduce neck-strain and eye-strain. It will also help you to sit properly so you can maximize your technique.
5. Metronome. This essential little tool will help you develop rock-solid rhythm.
6. A cloth for wiping down the neck of your guitar. You will want to do this before and after your practice session. This will help prolong string life.
7. Suitable clothing. A lot of guitarists practice in rooms that are not heated properly. This can be a big problem. A cold room will reduce blood flow to the fingers and arms and inhibit lubrication of tendons and joints. A cold environment will also slow down nerve conduction. Nerve conduction slows by 5% for each 1°C drop in temperature. Obviously this will negatively affect your playing.
If you don’t have the option of practicing in a well-heated room, get a small space heater or whatever is appropriate for your practice space. If this isn’t an option, then you need to make sure that you dress warm while you practice and you may want to consider fingerless gloves to help warm your hands.
8. Sheet music, songbooks or any guitar books you are working on. Have all of the music learning tools you will need for your current practice session ready.
9. Guitar practice binder. A good idea is to create a guitar practice binder. Get a big 3-ring binder. Place dividers in it and add some blank paper. Also add some blank manuscript paper and/or blank tab. A good practice binder is a very useful tool.
In your practice binder you can jot down any ideas you get for practice. Take notes about new things you want to work on, your current practice routine, etc. In your practice binder you might want to include the scales that you want to practice, the chords you are learning or want to review, arpeggio fingerings, technique exercises, etc.
10. A glass of water. You will probably get thirsty while you practice, but you won’t want to have to stop to go and get a glass of water, so have one handy.
Customize this list to suit your guitar practice needs. Grab a sheet of paper and write out the items from the checklist that apply to you.
Now it’s time to customize.
Write in the stuff that you are working on beside the applicable point. Write in the current song(s) you are working. Write down the books you are working on, etc. If you need to set up and tear down your amp every time you play, you might want to create a detailed checklist of all of the gear you need.
When you have finished your practice session, update your checklist to include what you want to work on in your next practice session. This way when you grab your practice checklist the next time, it will be current.
All you have to do is grab everything on the list. This is great time-saver!
Place your practice checklist as the first page of your practice binder. This way it’s always easy to find your checklist.
Always return your practice stuff to the same place. When all of your guitar practice materials are in stored in the same place, it makes it easy for you to grab everything you need for your practice sessions. This means there’s no running around trying to find stuff.
You might want to get a container or box for all of your practice stuff. This way, all you have to do is put everything you need into the box. Then it’s really simple to get ready for your practice sessions: all you have to do is grab the box.
Also, teardown is easy too. All you do is put everything back into the box and put it back in its place.
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