I often get this question from students and parents, either in the very beginning when the first lesson is over or when for some reasons the student realizes that their progress is not good enough or not as good as they expect.
The answer can never be right. Well yes, the one need to practice but there are no such things as rules and regulations on how much practice the one should do. Usually the teachers say some number of minutes or even hours but that is just to get away from the question. The student or the parent shakes their head showing that all is clear and that they understood.
Usually this conversation ends with a great promise that they will make sure this happens. However, the time goes and… no result in most of the cases. The student is told to practice those so and so minutes but they don’t do it, somehow it doesn’t work, regardless the student is an adult or a child. There is something very important that is missed here, something I’ve talk briefly about in other articles, something that students or even teachers often fell to understand.
Assuming the student was attracted by the beauty of the guitar music and art and decided to sign up for guitar lessons. That’s the common scenario. They found the right teacher, the right time slot, the right guitar…all seem to be cool… What is that thing that makes some people been successful and other not?
Certainly it’s not only one thing but at least one of the most important things in my experience is the practice ROUTINE that is the hardest thing to achieve. Regardless how smart and talented is the student no routine-no progress, no progress-no satisfaction, no satisfaction-eventually the student quits.
With risk to be understood wrong I will say here,
Signing up for guitar lessons is just something that everyone can do, been called “guitar student” is just a title, becoming a real guitar student is far more complicated process than just signing up for guitar lessons.
A teacher can have 100 students in their list, but how many of them are real? The answer is: Only those with whom he has achieved continuous practice routine. Is it that difficult to practice for some minutes every day?
Believe me it is! It’s easier said than done! That goes for everything that is related with acquiring skills or knowledge. There are few points I suggest to take some time to think about.
Accept the guitar in your life
It was never there apart from your desire to play it. It has to find its place in your house, in your room. Try to think about some corner where you can accommodate “her”, your music stand, foot stool and music books…
Ensure easy access to the guitar
Make an effort to keep your guitar and music sheets out of the case, ready to be used. It turns that this is one of the main obstacles pointed by the students. Imagine you have just 10 minutes today, you decided to do some practice and you spend 5 of those minutes looking for your guitar, bringing a chair, cleaning the piles from the desk etc… by the time you start practicing your time is over…The music stand, the foot stool, the guitar and the books should be set up and ready to be used or at least easy accessible.
Allocate daily time to be with the guitar
This is the easiest thing to do just go through your time table and you will find many available slots start with a goal to have 3 or 4 practice sessions each week. Dedicate some minutes, but be real. Let’s say 10 or 15 min, try to stick to this schedule. This is the beginning of establishing your practice routine; at this point you’re aiming to follow the schedule, to develop a habit of constantly getting to spend time with the guitar. You may find that you get tired or bored…your body is adjusting itself to the new position and to all the new things that it has to do. Apart from trying to play your guitar lesson assignment, those sessions can include your theory exercises, watching one small youtube videos of classical guitar as well. In fact anything related to the guitar.
Learning to utilize the allocated time
Once the practice routine is up and running constantly for some period (weeks or months) that is the time when the one gets initiated as a real guitar student starts learning guitar and definitely starts getting some results, until then the guitar lessons are just an activity for half an hour weekly. Your teacher can help you with how to organize your practice routine in particular, but remember he can help you only if you have a routine. Teaching and learning are two sides of the same coin; they can’t exist separate.