Today I would like to talk about rest time instead of practice time. The reason why I want to explore this topic is because I often need to remind myself of how important rest time is. We usually focus on how to organize our practice time but we not so often think of when and how to rest.
A few years ago I found out that my practice routine wasn’t good for me by talking with a couple of doctors specialized in tendinitis and OOS (occupational overused syndrome). In fact, at that time I wasn’t taking the time to rest during study sessions. Have you ever paid attention to how much time you usually study without resting? According to the specialists the right time would be something between 40 and 50 minutes. After that we should rest for at least 20 minutes.
Something else that I learned is to always compare studying sessions to weight training or to a sport. You shouldn’t go too many days in a row at the gym without taking a day off. You should give your body (and your mind) the time to recover, to rest. I can guarantee you that after resting you will feel refreshed, ready to start and excited to learn and practice.
Lastly, something that usually helps me is to change the focus of my studies. I’ll make an example to make it clearer. Let’s say you want to play a solo at the original speed but after a couple of weeks you are still struggling. Try to rest your mind and muscles for a week, play something else and go back to the solo after that.
My advice is to not focus only on your speed for too long, but also on chords, transcribing, learning songs and composing. Everything will be part of your playing style, everything will improve your technique. You should always remember, (and I got this quote from a great guitarist) “What we need is technique, not speed, that’s for cars”.