When do you practice?


Hello fellow sufferers,

as a working dad of 2 children I always struggle to find time for guitar practice. I also seem to need a long time to fully warm-up at the moment. This seems not to be a muscular but also a mind thing. It’s something like what Troy calls the “click”-moment. It’s a point, where my right hand executes a smooth, easy and fast movement on it’s own. I consider this point “enough practice”.

As you see, having little time overall and feel that I’m in need of longer continuous practice sessions (> 1,5h).

How and especially at what time (days, time of day) do you practice? Especially experience of people in the same/similar situations is welcome.


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Depending on your living situation, I think the stock answer to this type of question is “early in the morning before the kids are up.” Of course, if you’re already getting up early, that’s kind of out the window.

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In similar situation - 1 and 5 year olds. The little sods get up before me everytime and I’m the worst morning person. So my practice hours tend to be10pm til about 1am. Not the best way to do it. I agree with @Frylock, early morning is best if you can do it, you are more refreshed energy wise and your mind hasn’t been battered by the day at that point!

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That’s something I tried over the last two weeks and it is a good idea. Last week the nights weren’t that quiet, also due to the kids, so I reset the alarm clock to 7 o’clock to at least nap a little more :wink:
But I’m definitely gonna keep on trying :wink:




Yes, late at night is also my favortie practice time at the moment.

I recognized an interesting effect recently. No matter how tired I was before starting to rpactice, I end up beeing outstandingly awake after I finish, so sometimes I can’t sleep instantly in spite of it being very late, because my mind is still blazing 16ths at 180 bpm :wink:



I make a point of picking up a guitar for five minutes before leaving for work, but do more structured practicing in the evening, after work and anything else I have going on (dinner, a workout, errands, etc).



If I attempted that, I’d be late every day! Lol

Yeah I know that feeling!!!



FWIW I also practice after I punch out of the daddy clock. About 8:30 or 9:00 and stop around midnight. I tried to push the mornings and wake up at 4:30, but just couldn’t do it. Not only would that give me about an hour less practice but I just can’t force myself to sleep early enough to get a full night’s sleep by 4:30.



Definitely the hardest part. It is possible to change your body clock, but the act of going to sleep shortly after clocking off the daddy (and wife) clock is so difficult. Guitar playing is also my way of decompressing after a day at work.



if time is limited (or even if its not), the key point is to be super efficient.

do yourself a favor and check these 2 chapters of this great piano book

“post practice improvement” (VERY KEY!)

“velocity, choice of practice speed”

the parts on slow play vs fast play etc are killer also

if time is limited, FOCUS is key. So maybe focus in on a few select goals (outside picking to higher string, inside descending, whatevs) and try to maximize post practice improvement. Its almost like magic lol. Its quite motivating to pretty much know that when u pick up your guitar you will be better than when u set it down

the opposite is to sloppily practice in a million different directions…which is a formula to waste years and years.

I have personally done a 30 yr experiment to prove that sloppy, unfocused practice doesnt work!

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I am lucky enough to usually have about an hour a day to devote to practice, but I help myself out by only having five one-hour sessions planned per week. that way I can catch up on anything I’ve missed during the other two days, or just have two free unscheduled sessions.

one thing I think works well is to only practice the serious dedicated stuff when you are alone, for whatever period of time you manage to get for this. leave some of the lighter material for the few minutes you might get here and there throughout the day.

for example, anything technique based, imo, needs concentrated practice, but anything learning-based can be much more relaxed.

I use my random bits of time throughout the day to explore new chord voicings, finger-board learning exercises, learning parts of songs, or just practice jamming away with a steady rhythm.

all added up it frequently totals more than two hours per day. :slight_smile:

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How long can new phrases be using this post practice technique? Does it apply on more than one excercise per session?



“post practice improvement” is just basically how the body works. You wont get THAT much better during the actual practicing…the improvement takes place later. The key is to try to optimize the improvement by doing most of your reps in a relaxed and mistake free manner. Fast and sloppy, and tense reps wont do that much for you IMO.

The few chapters I linked to in that book are pure gold.

Obviously you will probably do (at least) several different exercises per session. IMO what u dont want to do is just sort of free form play (goof off) for the whole session. Id say at least have a few key things u are working on in a focused way, and then if u want u can add some fun jamming or whatever. But always try to end on some good clean reps of your key exercises

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So chopping up a solo into several parts, and practice them seperatley would be perfectly fine then?

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absolutely. best way to go IMO. some parts will be easy so they need less practice while other parts may need a lot of focus and attention. Spend more time where u need it etc



Thanks, this way makes most sense to me, but i tend to drive the speed up without ending with a perfect playtrough. Bad habit i presume.



I think most of us tend to do that but according to the above book (and common sense) its the main way to ruin your post practice improvement.

Looking back I can see it being 100% the same way in golf. At the driving range the avg player warms up with lower clubs. Maybe 7iron, then 5 iron, maybe down to pitching wedge…then THE DRIVER!! We swing within ourselves on the irons but then when we get to the driver we start to swing harder and harder. and of course we finish off with the last 10-15 shots swinging full out.

Then next time we have to start from scratch trying to find our swing again. Nothing builds…we dont get better. Obviously thats not how pros get to be pros.

I think its pretty clear that its the same on guitar. Once u see it, its clear. Wish i learned it 30 yrs ago.