How much practice?

The one question I get asked by far the most, regardless of skill level and experience, is ‘how much practice should I be doing?’

This question is very open ended and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution but if you find yourself having asked that question recently, you probably need to ask yourself this question first, ‘What do I want to achieve by playing the guitar?’

If your main objective is to be able to play some basic open chords, learn some easy songs and just have fun, then there is really no need to spend 8 hours a day in the practice room crying and hating life. Meanwhile, if you want to one day be a professional musician (for some reason), you may want to consider playing a little more than 15 minutes every second day.

It’s always important to try and enjoy yourself whilst you practice but it basically boils down to this. THE BETTER YOU WANT TO BE, THE MORE YOU NEED TO PRACTICE.

For ABSOLUTE beginners (and very young children), I would usually say that no more than around 20 minutes everyday. For slightly older students such as teenagers and young adults, I usually suggest around 45 minutes each day if possible. For anyone interested in pursuing music as a career, I usually suggest playing as much as you possibly can every day! (For example, at university I was practicing between 2 to 6 hours everyday…not all of it was enjoyed I might add)

In terms of WHAT to practice, that is another question entirely!

It may seem like a bit of a stupid statement, but you should be practicing what you want to be good at! For example, if you want to be a better songwriter, a lot of your time should be spent writing songs!  There isn’t much point in blasting through all 12 keys of the Jazz minor scale and 200bpm if you only want to write pop songs. Alternatively, if you wanted to play great jazz solos, maybe learning all 12 keys of the Jazz minor scale isn’t such a bad idea! It’s all about perspective!

At the end of the day, it’s all about enjoying music and getting the most out of the instrument. So as long as you see improvement and you are happy with your own progress, that’s the most important thing!

Happy Playing!

Owen

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