Managing expectations when practising


I’ve posted this in the technique section as this relates to technique, or more specifically, the practising of technique.

Over the years I have accrued a great deal of strategies for practising all sorts of things; some have been useful to me, others haven’t, but my quest for finding different ways of practising technique has been underpinned by a simple point: managing expectation.

I know that everyone is different and we all learn at different rates, but I wondered if I could get a rough average from everyone in terms of how long you’d expect to practice a particular technique for before you see any measurable results?

I find, more often than not, that when I sit down to really focus on a technique or lick, I have a subconscious expectation of making progress within a short period of time, almost becoming impatient. This leads me to trying to run before I can walk so to speak and this seriously slows down my progress at whatever it is that I’m trying to master.

I wonder if anyone else has this sort of issue and how you overcame it? I’ve learnt that I can’t really use a metronome as the measure of how much progress I’m making, say with speed, at a particular lick because getting fast obviously isn’t a gradual increase on the metronome.


In words of Jordan Peterson*: aim low enough. Specifically, I’d suggest considering investing less time to get the same reward.

For instance, I’ve been learning that practicing a lick for 5 minutes every day usually gives me the same results as practicing the same lick for an hour/day but the 5 minute method feels like an absolute win whereas spending hours on a single lick usually felt like running in circles. This is just my experience and I am no expert in the topic but I just wanted to share my two cents.

*I know, I know. Controversial person :sweat_smile:

That’s a fair point, I definitely fall into the category of running round in circles, trying to get progress with a lick measurably in that practise session. When what I really need to do is just practise it a bit and then move on. It’s my own stubbornness working against me I think!