The other day while having a chat with a good drummer friend of mine, he asked me “What are you practicing at the moment on the drum kit?
And I said, “Well, first of all, I am not practicing on my drum kit; just using my practice pad, sticks and a metronome working on stick speed and control”
“Oh yeah, that sounds boring, what are you doing for that?” he countered.
I told him about the exercises and routines I am doing and truth be told, he wasn’t that impressed. But then I realized that there are exercises and routines for different needs and times of your learning, playing and musical journey.
Are you enjoying your practice routine?
As the time passes you by you earn more and more years of experience playing music and you do not only get to find out what type of routines you need but you also get to enjoy it and have fun while practicing.
Now – after more than 15 years playing drums I can say that I really enjoy learning technical stuff and more complex beats, I know that they help me with some other stuff and I actually enjoy the challenge and the “boring” routine. I am at a point where I could play the same lick for hours or read same slow and boring exercise for 40 minutes and still enjoy it, but only because that is what I want to learn at the moment, while 10 years ago I only wanted to learn to play songs I liked.
But are all these type of exercises fun for a beginner? For someone who is only starting to play or learning guitar as a hobby? Man, if you think about it, approaching learning the guitar this way is quite insane for a beginner. I can really see why some people can’t pass the beginners phase; perhaps they have the wrong tutor who is only teaching the boring stuff at the beginning and making them repeat the same boring exercises over and over again. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that is bad, what I am saying is that there can be a better way to practice, even when learning technical stuff, which can be fun.
Look at it this way, if you practice something that is boring, your playing will sound boring too and of course, repetitive. What can you do to have fun? I guess freedom is an important take home term.
Play whatever you want to play! Learn whatever you want to learn!
If you play what you really want to play, you will play more often and for a longer time. Playing longer hours and more often will make you a better guitarist… it is a cycle, but a nice and enjoyable cycle which will actually bring good results for your guitar playing.
By playing what you want to play, you will end up learning a lot of technical exercises and you will learn them when you feel like. Perhaps you heard a song on the radio this morning, and liked what you heard. Look up the TAB and learn it… or perhaps you like a complex guitar riff or solo, spend hours playing your guitar trying to play that riff.
What I am trying to say is that in order to learn to play the guitar, or any other instrument, there is a path to follow, there are topics that help you for certain things, but I don’t think there is necessarily a particular order in which to learn them. I think you can go with whatever you feel like learning or finding about first – of course, YOU DO NEED a guide of topics to work with.
What we are trying to achieve is to learn to play the guitar and it doesn’t matter how we do it, what matters is that we actually do learn to play it!
So, if technique and complex exercises are what you are into, practice that, burn your brain and fingers with those exercises. If you are into songs, get the TAB and play them over and over again. If you’re into scales, the same goes for you!
What I do recommend keeping as part of any routine you adopt, is warming up. No half decent athlete would just walk out onto the track without first warming up. The same applies for us guitarists.
I hope you get the idea!
Learn more about Luis Tovar on his Google profile.