When your practice time (and self discipline!) are this limited,
you need to remember 3 things:
-increase time gradually
-remember to have some fun!
The last point is often overlooked, but you probably didn’t start
playing guitar just to practice scales. Through out this practice
routine I am scheduling about 50% of your time for just playing.
If all you do is work every time you pick up the guitar, it starts
to look like a ball and chain!
BASIC TIME FRAME: Total length; 1 year
First quarter; 10 minutes daily x5 days
Second quarter; 15 minutes daily x 5 days
Third quarter; 20-30 minutes daily x 5 days
Fourth quarter; 20-30 minutes daily x 5 days
The extra 10 minutes a day in the 3rd and 4th quarters is for
jamming/songs to equal 15 minutes, or about half of your
total practice session. You don’t have to do it, but I’d try to
as much as possible, after all playing music is why you’re
doing this! You will notice that progress seems slow,
especially at first. This is because learning in 5 minute
bits is not the most efficient way to learn, it takes longer
to sink in, but this is what we’ve got and something is
better than nothing! And it will all add up, by the end of
a year, you will know 48 chords, play major and minor
scales over half the neck in any key and be able to figure
out the chords and scales for any key, plus you will be
a faster and more accurate guitar player. Pretty good for
such a small investment in time and effort.
FIRST QUARTER (10 MINUTES/5 DAYS A WEEK): I’m
starting with the basics. You need to learn the 2 main types
of bar chords and their root notes on the 5th and 6th strings,
all the way to the 12th fret. Everything else I will teach is
based off of these chords and their root notes. You will spend
5 minutes learning the chords/roots and 5 minutes just
playing. Play anything; old songs, new songs, riffs, whatever
you feel like, it’s your 5 minutes!
SECOND QUARTER(15 MINUTES/5 DAYS A WEEK): For
this quarter we add technique exercises. Most players have
3 main problems; they can’t play fast enough, stretch far
enough, or keep picking the wrong strings. I have an exercise
for each of these problems and you can pick 1 or 2 to work
on for 5 minutes a day. The other 10 minutes are the same as
the 1st quarter; 5 minutes on chord review and 5 minutes
just playing. I’m spending extra time on bar chords mainly
because of the roots. You not only need to know the chord
forms, you have to be able to locate the notes! Quickly!
THIRD QUARTER: (20-30 MINUTES/5 DAYS A WEEK)
This is when we learn pentatonic scales. You really don’t
have to know a lot of scales to get big results; in fact, with
only 2 scale positions you can play both major and minor
scales over half the guitar neck in any key! This adds about
10 minutes to our schedule, the rest is review and jamming.
FOURTH QUARTER: (20-30 MINUTES/5 DAYS A WEEK)
Finally we learn key shapes. Learning to locate the chords
and scales of any key visually on the neck cuts out about 90%
of the memory work (and is how a lot of pro’s do it). With
2 easy pictures of the fret board and the knowledge learned
above you will be able to easily locate the chords for any key,
play the scales for that key over half the neck, be a faster and
more accurate guitar player and even have a whole 5-15 minutes
a day to jam and learn a new song or two. Not bad for such a
small investment of time and energy!
The next post will explain the first quarter in more detail.