Trick Yourself into Better Guitar Playing (Time Frames)...

Stop Wasting Away Your Valuable Guitar Practice Time! After all, there are only so many hours in each day. Make the most of them..!

We've all sat down to practice the guitar and then this happens...

We start out highly focused, but the next thing you know 20 minutes have gone by and we’re just mindlessly noodling away our time. Our focus is gone and we're not doing anything that we either hoped to do, or that we'd expected we would be doing.

How did this happen to us? We had our best ideas ready to go. Is it attention deficit?

Is is a matter of scattered focus..? Or maybe, it is simply today's modern world of endless distractions?

For what ever reason, the bottom line is we lost our train of thought. And, after that goes away, it can be very difficult for any of us to both keep "on task" or even get it back without using some type of a study system.

The application of a training system not only keeps us on track with our practice, but it can also help us with the building of our long term goals and our best musical development direction.

Okay, we probably already realize that we need a practice system if we want to get good as quickly as possible. But, if there was a "study system" what would it be like? How would it work? What would it do?

The human mind is a tricky thing. It likes to move away from pain and move toward fun and good times. And, lets face it, working on scales and arpeggios, (while incredibly beneficial), can feel a lot more like "pain" compared to playing through a fun Hendrix lick that we have mastered (because we learned it seven years ago, so it's easy).

You can change your state of mind, (and also what you focus on when it comes to guitar practice), by “tricking” your brain to do practicing in a different way. From my experience, through all of my years of teaching, I know that a lot of guitarists have the same practice time problems when it comes to the study of material - you probably wouldn’t be reading this if you didn't want to improve on yours.

Practice time is extremely valuable, so you don't want to waste any of it by jumping into your practice periods without a study plan.

To really get your practicing up to a whole new level, get yourself a timer. This can be any type of timer, but I'd probably recommend it be a separate device away from your phone. I personally prefer "egg timers." I personally use the "Lux CU100 Digital Count Up/Down Timer." The LUX is really loud and it has easy to program buttons.

Keep in mind you're going to use this timer a lot, so you don't want to cheap out on a budget model, or kill the battery on your phone or tablet, (timer apps tend to really draw on phone and tablet battery power for some odd reason).

Start by designating a period of time that you are going to focus upon a topic. For guitar  practice you'll want to think in respect of two time frames.

The first is the "Overall" Time of how long you'll be sitting stationary. This should never exceed 15 minutes. It is not a good thing for the body to sit stationary for long periods. You'll want to be getting up and walking around at least every 15 min. This not only keeps your mind fresh and alert, but it also gets the blood flowing through your body better.

This is the length of time that you will assign to work on one given subject within your 15 min. topic time frame. I suggest no more than 3 minutes per subject. There have been many studies showing that the human mind gets easily distracted, (wanders) after 3 min. By staying within this time frame you'll maximize your ability to remain alert.

Now, start to work on a section of a song, a scale or an arpeggio for a set time frame of 3 minutes. Then when the timer goes off, stop working on that idea, reset the timer for another 3 minutes and move on to begin working  on something else.

It could be a new key of the same scale or arpeggio. It could be a new song section. Just change your focus once the timer goes off.

It is perfectly fine to come back to the song, or scale that you were first working on earlier in the same practice session. But, the idea with this time frame approach is all about getting away from one topic and moving through other material. By moving away, and coming back the material in another frame of mind, you will train yourself to keep much better focus.

The timer device has an incredible ability to keep you on task, and help you remain far more focused. As long as you just set it and forget it, you'll build off of your time limit.Your focus will be higher and your ability to plow through more material will help you with your accomplishments.

Even if you think this sounds rather odd…you have to try it. The benefits you'll discover are absolutely incredible.



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