5 Elements Of Effective Guitar Practice Schedules That Improve Your Guitar Playing

By Tom Hess

You become a better guitarist fast when you follow the right guitar practice schedules. The right practice schedules are different for everyone, but they consist of the same 5 elements that improve your guitar playing.

When these elements are present, you improve faster and guitar practice becomes fun. When these elements are absent, your progress becomes slower and more frustrating.

Perfect guitar practice schedules focus on:

Infographic about elements of effective guitar practice schedules

Guitar Practice Element #1: Skill Development  

Your guitar practice schedules must help you develop specific musical skills. These skills include: 

  • Mastering guitar techniques needed for the musical styles you play. 
  • Studying music theory (and learning to apply it). Music theory helps you play guitar with emotion. 
  • Training your ear. This skill helps you hear music in your head and immediately play it on guitar.
  • Developing tight rhythm guitar playing. This skill is about playing cleanly, articulately, consistently and in time. You must work on this skill just like you practice any other guitar technique. 
  • Improving your fretboard visualization with scales and arpeggios. This skill helps you fluently play scales and arpeggios all over the guitar. 
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  • Improving your phrasing. This refers to how you play the notes in your guitar licks and solos. 
  • Learning to record your guitar playing accurately and consistently. 
  • Learning to play guitar for others confidently and without mistakes. 
  • Improvising guitar solos.
  • Writing songs.

(Each of these general skills can be broken down further into many smaller elements.)

Guitar Practice Element #2: Problem Solving

  You will face many challenges in the process of reaching your musical goals. These challenges are unique to you and your guitar playing. Your guitar practice schedules need to help you overcome challenges, such as: 

  • 2-hand synchronization issues - when your hands aren’t in sync, it’s impossible to play guitar fast and clean. 
  • Lack of creativity - musical creativity is a skill you must practice (and improve). There are specific guitar practice strategies that make your guitar playing more creative. 
  • Poor timing - playing in time improves your rhythm and lead guitar playing. 
  • Lack of consistency in your guitar playing - “consistency” is about playing guitar reliably without mistakes. 
  • Sloppy guitar playing due to excess string noise or strings ringing together when they shouldn’t be.
  • Lack of endurance in your hands. This makes it hard to play guitar for a long period of time without becoming tired.
  • Getting your guitar skills back after a break from playing. You must practice differently to restore your skills after a break vs. how you normally practice. This guitar practice routine helps you restore your technique after a break from playing. 

(Optional) Guitar Practice Element #3: Repertoire (Learning And Practicing Songs)

You don't need to learn songs to become a great guitar player. However, you may choose to practice songs, if: 

  • You are rehearsing specific songs for a live performance.
  • You are analyzing songs to improve your songwriting and creativity.
  • You want to learn a specific song for fun.

You must be clear on the reason why you learn songs. This helps you determine how much time to spend on this area of your guitar practice. 

Guitar Practice Element #4: Application And Integration Of Your Musical Skills 

Musical skills developed in isolation mean very little. You need to apply your knowledge and skills to musical contexts. You also need to integrate (combine) your skills together. This 3-tier approach leads to musical mastery.

 This video explains how application and integration are practiced:  

 Guitar Practice Element #5: Review

Set aside some guitar practice time to review materials and skills you have learned in the past. This helps you keep your guitar playing skills in balance.

Why You Need Many Guitar Practice Schedules To Reach Your Musical Goals

There is no a single practice schedule that makes you a great guitar player. A single guitar practice schedule is only a stepping stone for reaching specific short-term goals. As your short-term goals are reached, you must adjust your practice schedules to continue improving. Your guitar practice schedules must evolve as your guitar playing skills and challenges evolve.

Focusing on the right things in your guitar practice schedules makes your practicing effective and fun. Every time you practice, you feel yourself becoming a better guitar player. This keeps you motivated and helps you reach your goals faster. 

This guitar practice routine test helps you create effective guitar practice schedules. 

Use the best guitar practice method to get big results in your guitar playing. 

© 2002-2018 Tom Hess Music Corporation