The Secret to Effective Guitar Practice

Don’t even think about practicing your guitar without having a pad and pencil handy (or pen, if you prefer). The pad/pen complement the digital timer I suggested in Guitar Practice Tip: Use a Countdown Timer.

Guitar Practice Pencils
Guitar Practice Pencils

See my post, 
How to Practice Guitar With a Metronome.First, I like to use a mechanical pencil, with a decent eraser. One of the first things I tend to markup is my music book. If I’m working a piece up to tempo I post the date and current metronome tempo that I can currently play fluently. As the tempo goes up, I’ll erase and mark up a new date and tempo.

Likewise, I’ll jot down any notes in the music page as they occur to me. Maybe I’ll bracket and note a troublesome passage that needs more work.

These pencil notes lets me clean up the book with a gum eraser, when I’m done with the book. Then, I can pass it on to a friend.

Effective Guitar Practice Means Distraction-Free Guitar Practice

Another great reason for having a pad and pencil is this — it lets me capture stray thoughts pulled me away from the music stand. Before establishing the pad and pencil, I’d be practicing away. Then, my monkey mind would remind me, “The rent check is due.” I’d likely, put down the guitar, pick up the checkbook and write out the check, lest I forget.

With the pad and pencil, no problem. Just write it down — “After practice, drop off the rent check.” No need to interrupt a good practice session.

I also use the pad to jot down my weekly practice goals, and the time schedule for each goal. For example:

Effective Guitar Practice Means Charting Your Progress

If I put in 20 minutes of practice on my private lesson, I log it on the schedule page.

The type of pad and pencil (or pen) that you use is irrelevant. It does not need to be anything fancy. I make my pads from one-sided computer printouts that are destined for recycling. I grab 15-20 sheets, fold them in half width-wise and staple them in the upper left corner. Voila! I’ve got a guitar practice pad. It works great.


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