Organizing Practice As You Learn To Play Guitar

One of the main problems I have found with students over the years is the organizational aspect when they learn to play guitar. At the beginning it isn’t too difficult because there isn’t that much to work on. However, as you grow in proficiency and increase your repertoire, it becomes more important to have a game plan for growth and progress in practice organization.

Keeping Your Technical Progress Moving Forward

I personally like to keep a journal of all my technical work. This allows me to quickly put down where I am from day to day without much effort at all. Typically I don’t need to write all of my exercises because practicing them every day keeps them in the forefront of my mind. But it is important for me to keep track of my progress when necessary. This usually includes metronome markings of each technical practice area.

You can see in the image from last week how my technical work went. From these snapshots I can go back a year and see how I have improved over time to give me a clear picture of my progress. For this specific record keeping I use a Moleskin notebook. I like it because it is lined and not dotted like others I use for Bullet Journaling.

Making You Repertoire Grow

When it comes to repertoire, I print out a simple spreadsheet to list every piece I am currently working on. I split them up into groups depending on where the pieces are in their progress. Currently you can see that I am putting a 3 day gap in between my old repertoire groupings of pieces.

At the top of the sheet are pieces that I am working on every day. This keeps everything in rotation so I can build long term memory. You can also see that I take two days off every week. I am not at the studio on those days and I can never get any practice in on those days.

Sight Reading Is Sorely Neglected

Finally, I work on sight reading. I don’t want to put a shameless advertisement for my book here but I will anyway. I wrote these exercises for my students and myself so I obviously find it useful in my own development. I will also go back through the Bridges series from the Royal Conservatory to just pick a piece to sight read. This allows me to play chordal groupings and work on rhythms in the context of an actual piece.

There you have it. Those are the three areas I focus on and have my students focus on in their practice routine. If you have any changes you would make, then feel free to include them in the comments. I know our readers would like to know what you do differently.