Can you help me design a practice routine?

jrm

Member
Messages
2,787
Hello friends:

I need sever help with organizing and structuring a practice routine. I know many of you are teachers, so I am hoping that your past successes can help me here. My practice routine is inconsistent at best.

Now for the vague part... I'm trying to become a better all around rock guitarist. No offense to jazzers, it is just not something I need to use as much in my current band setting. We tend to be a little jazzy, but lean on the side of rock/funk. I'm trying to become a better rhythm/2nd guitarist. So creativity along with solid chops...

Can you help me start building a foundation through practice? I don't mind practicing at all, I just have trouble keeping in a direction without a plan.

Thanks!
 

drfrankencopter

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,254
Start by writing/posting some specific goals. Here are some areas to think about:
1) Knowledge of theory -> How good is your current understanding of music theory? Is you understanding fast enough to be applicable to your typical playing (I know for the improvised music that I play that my theory knowledge comes to me too slowly to be useful)
2) Fretboard knowledge...how well do you know the notes...I mean COLD. Can you play a 5 note sequence, and then repeat it on a new group of strings without making mistakes, and without too big of a pause?
3) Chords...do you know 5 different grips for each major, minor, m7, M7, dom7, m6, M6. How about extensions? Inversions? Do you know the intervals of each chord?
4) Composition....do you want to write your own stuff? Do you dedicate time to it, or just wait for inspiration to strike? The more you write, the better you'll get...try writing songs that include some new-found information (like a new scale, or chord)...its a great way to internalize that information. Use it...or lose it!
5) Technique....metronome work....chords/diads, and single note stuff.
6) Repertoire.
7) Tones...fx, etc. Knowing your rig inside and out is a very usefull skill. I really should try to spend some time practicing my 'tap tempo' work with my foot so I can go from say quarter note delays to dotted eighths by just tapping it out properly.

Think about what exactly you want to learn....write it down, and the path to get there will seem much clearer. There is no generic formula....

Cheers

Kris
 

jrm

Member
Messages
2,787
Thanks Kris. Those are great questions to help me process my goals.

1. My theory is more locked in my mind and is not that applicable to my playing. My knowledge is quite rusty but I am slowly bringing it back around.
2.I don't know the fretboard cold. I can figure out where I am and what note I'm playing, but its not an automatic knowledge of where I am and what is around me.
3.I'm learning the intervals, and know a few different versions of chords, but don't know 5 different grips for each major, minor, m&, M7, dom7, m6, M6.
4.I write some on my own, but our lead does all the writing for the band, so most of the time I am trying to apply what I know to what he has written.
5.I always have a metronome going. Always.
6.Repertoir - I'm not much into covers since I am rarely called upon to play them.
7. Tones - I am forced to practice through a POD at home, so getting to know my live rig in-and-out can really only happen twice a week at rehearsal....
 

countandduke

Member
Messages
1,268
One of the things I always try to do is constantly re-evaluate my weaknesses and try to work on them. I also always try and incorporate what I am learning and working on into my playing otherwise I'll just forget it...

Good luck...

Chris
 

countandduke

Member
Messages
1,268
One of the best things I ever did in my practicing was to run my practice routine in 'key center groups'. Basically it is an idea I stole from Coltrane and also heard several other great players do the same thing in their practicing/composing. I divide the octave into 4 parts w/ 3 key centers per 'part'... for example...

C, E, Ab
Db, F, A
D, F#, Bb
Eb, G, B

Each day I would (and still do) practice in only those keys..that includes major and melodic minor scales in various intervals, various chords and inversions, arpeggios, improvising over the various chord qualities using certain intervals, improvising in 4-fret spans in those keys, then moving the spans, etc, etc, etc. Normal stuff.

Having certain key centers on certain days keeps me from wandering and wasting time, playing the same sh** every day, fearing certain chords in certain keys, etc. As you can tell, this is only 4 days. On the other days I usually work on music for the various singers I play with and also compose. I sometimes get a spare hour or two to transcribe, but that isn't my thing at this point. Wish I had unlimited time and I would add that back in along w/ sight reading.

Of course, playing in all 12 keys equally throughout the entire fretboard might not be your thing. Some people are completely opposed to it and think it is a waste of time. Whatever flicks your Bic. Just throwing it out there.:cool:
Yeah....I like that. I can play the CRAP out of Em!!! Bb....? Ehhhh.

Anything to at least move forward and practice something new and NOT just practice for the ego is good.

Chris
 




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