Learn To Practice Away From Your Guitar Like The Pros Do
Everyone wants to get better faster at guitar, right? Imagine how motivated, inspired, and fulfilled you would feel if you could quadruple your results without putting in any more time into practicing...
First, I want you to think of all the spare time you have in a day. Not the (theoretical) half hour or hour at the beginning or end of your day, I mean the small chunks in between that make up a lot of your day.
- The 5 minutes (or more) to drive to and from work
- Your lunch break at school or work
- When you cook lunch or dinner
- Cleaning up after dinner
- Putting your kids to sleep
- Waiting for your kids to get out of school
- Driving to the grocery store or coffee shop
Literally any down time you can find or make use of. All of that adds up to a considerable amount of time that you can use to practice your guitar and/or your musicianship. Unless you play the harmonica I already know the thought that just popped into your head. "But I can't bring my guitar with me everywhere I go! I can't use this to practice!"
Yes, you can!
You may have never thought of the HOW you can use this time to effectively practice. So before I share with you pro level strategies to get more out of your practice time, ask yourself this question:
"HOW CAN I use this empty time to practice more and reach my goal of becoming the musician I want to be faster?"
That question alone should get you started and you should your own ideas coming in on how you can actually do this. The best part? 90% of those ideas ARE going to help you become better at the guitar and help you become a better guitarist if you follow through and actually do the ideas you thought of!
It goes without saying but, you DO NOT need your guitar with you to actually practice your instrument all the time. In fact, most of the topics you need to work on to become a better musician happens in your mind (away from the guitar).
I used to play bass in a metal band in Calgary right after I turned 20. I eventually moved back to my home town a couple hours away but still stayed in the band for several months after the move. To Play shows I had to commute back and forth between cities, 3 hours one way...
It was a solid 3 hours of practice every time I went.
My band mates were always stunned, and would ask, "How are you so prepared every single time? How is your rhythm so tight? How are you so warmed up and ready to play even without weeks of rehearsals with us?
While my truck was truck was hauling at 120km hr, my mind was racing a million miles a minute practicing... So what was I practicing?
Most of the time it was visualization
Visualizing what I was going to play and how I was going to play it on stage.
I would know which parts were the challenging parts of the songs we were going to play, and I would play them reeeeeeeaaaally slowly in my mind... Visualizing all of the little movements my hands would make between notes. A 2 second phrase would take me 20 seconds or more to process and play through.
I would really take my time and refine my muscle movements in my head, just like Olympic athletes and other high level professionals do.
I would also think of how I would interact with my band mates and my audience members while in stage. I was still pretty shy when getting up on stage, but it helped me mentally prepare to actually engage them instead of standing like a statue the whole time.
Now take that same visualizing technique and apply it to whatever you are working on and practicing - chords, scales, challenging solo runs, your strumming technique, your slap/pop technique, your embouchure, etc. literally anything technique related you can practice in your head.
Before you dismiss this idea, note that professional level athletes, business owners, CEO's, coaches, public speakers, etc., all take advantage of this technique to put them ahead when they don't have the time to actually sit and focus on their craft at the office or in the practice space.
As a side note, you can also take the time you now have to go through music theory concepts in your head, write short riffs/phrases in your head, practice rhythm (counting and tapping your foot is the easiest way), and on and on.
Now ask yourself these questions:
- How bad do I want to become a better / great musician
- What CAN I practice away from my guitar during the down time of my day?
- Where is the down time during my day?
- Where can I fit it 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there?
Practice, implement, and enjoy the quadrupling of your progress 🙂
About the Author:
Bryce Gorman is opening the first profession guitar school in Lethbridge Alberta with a passion for helping his students become the best players they can be! If your are interested in taking guitar lessons in Lethbridge Alberta be sure to contact Bryce!