Flynn Amps and the value of enthusiasmK is for Knopfler, MarkM is for Modes

Making practice count
October 25, 2011

Many is the time I’ve sat in a lesson with a student in front of me, swearing they’ve been practising and asking why they haven’t improved. It’s a common misconception that sitting for an hour with a guitar (or whatever you play) in your hands equals one hour of actual practice. I don’t think that playing while watching TV is actually a bad thing, in fact in terms of training your ear it can be a really useful tool, providing that your mum/flatmate/spouse doesn’t thump you for ruining their favourite program!

Practice isn’t that easy. It’s work, not play. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it, but taking it a little seriously will yield massive rewards. I have found, over the years that an hour is a good time for me when learning anything. I split that up into fifteen minute segments, which vary depending on what I’m currently working towards. I suggest picking a goal, then working out four different routes there.

For example if your idea is to learn the modes by Christmas, I would suggest you spend fifteen minutes on the basic shapes, which would also act as a warm up. Then the next two segments on a couple of repeating patterns to fix the scales in your mind. Finally spend fifteen minutes working on the chord scales which would also help with tonal formula’s and serve as a warm down.

With a little thought, any goal can be laid out like this, incorporating warm up and down or any other themes and it really does make a massive difference to results. Best of luck to you all, and here is one final tip:

Use a metronome!