Longer practice doesn't always mean effective practice. Here are 3 ways to maximize your practice time:
1. Listen Before You Play
I’m always really intentional about not picking up my guitar until I’ve listened through a song a number of times. Knowing the song before learning the song is key. If you’ve got the list or even if you know some new songs are coming up, start listening in the car and around the house. That way when it is time to pick up the guitar you’ve got a good idea of where you’re going.
2. Stack Your Parts
My approach to every song is to start at the beginning and build. If there’s an intro riff, I’ll play that over and over until I’ve got it and then hit verse 1. Once I’ve got verse 1 I play the two parts together and make sure the transitions work. After that I move onto the chorus then play all 3. It keeps the earlier parts fresh and continually has me practicing in context.
3. Woodshed the Trouble Spots
It’s great to take the song as a whole but you’ve got to know when to hyper focus on a tough section. If you’re stumbling over a part, don’t rush past it. Stop there and do the work. There’s a reason we have loops in all the lessons.
Confidence is what makes playing enjoyable and confidence comes from knowing your parts inside and out. Getting in an efficient practice routine will help you spend less time practicing and more time playing.